The Minneola tangelos, which is the largest piece of fruit in the mandarin family, is currently entering its prime marketing season.
Typically available from mid-December through April, the Minneola has a beautiful, bright deep orange color and can usually be identified by the knob-like formation at its stem. It is an exceptionally juicy piece of fruit with a bold, tangy flavor.
“Bold flavors are on trend right now among consumers, and the unique tangy flavor of tangelos is ripe for discovery this citrus season,” said Joan Wickham, manager of advertising and public relations for Sunkist Growers, Valencia, CA. “A cross between a grapefruit and tangerine, Minneolas offer a distinct tart-sweet flavor and have extremely high juice content – making them fantastic for juicing and cocktails.”
She added that easy-to-peel, Minneolas are also a fantastic healthy snack during the winter months. The Minneola tangelo is a variety that has been around for some time, but Wickham said many consumers are just now discovering this unique piece of fruit and how it differs from other small, easy-peel fruit. The easy-peel category is quickly becoming one of the most popular citrus destinations in the supermarket as the consumer demand for convenience increases.
Available from Sunkist from October through April, pummelos are currently in the peak of their season. Sometime referred to as a Chinese grapefruit, they are botanically known as Citrus Grandis, the largest of all citrus.
Big on flavor and nutrition, one-fourth of a pummelo has just 60 calories and provides 120 percent of the Vitamin C recommended for the day. Pummelos are also sodium-, fat- and cholesterol-free and a great source of potassium and fiber.
“Pummelos are now in peak season and tasting delicious, making it the perfect time to promote this unique variety ahead of the winter holidays,” said Joan Wickham, director of communications for Sunkist Growers in Valencia, CA. “The largest of citrus fruit, pummelos are a traditional gift during the Lunar New Year, which falls on January 28 this upcoming year.”
They are considered to bring prosperity and good fortune, and have been a treasured food in Asia and other regions for many years. Wickham said they are generally round-to-pear in shape. “The delectable citrus fruit is said to be the ancestor of the grapefruit but with a sweeter and less acidic taste and a delicate flesh that ranges from white to deep pink in color,” she added.
Their thick, dark green peel fades to yellow as the season progresses. “With a thick peel, sometimes this fruit can intimidate consumers because of its size,” Wickham said, noting that Sunkist offers educational point-of-sale materials to “demystify” the pummelo and demonstrate how easy it is “to enjoy this delicious seasonal citrus variety.”
With the Christmas marketing pull in sight, California’s citrus harvest is well underway with good quality and good volume the order of the day. The preseason estimate for the 2016-17 navel crop was pegged at 84 million cartons by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. If realized, that would put the volume slightly below last year but ahead of the five year average of about 81.6 million cartons.
Joan Wickham, director of communications for Sunkist Growers, in Valencia, CA, said the state’s largest citrus supplier is right on Target with its production goals. “This year’s Sunkist navel crop is off to a fantastic start, with a delicious balance of tart/sweet flavors that bodes well for a strong season ahead,” she said. “Navel oranges are a classic holiday staple, and with tried-and-true heritage traditions relating to food trending among consumers now — this is a fantastic variety for retailers to promote during the holiday season.”
To assist retailers in promoting the crop, Sunkist offers festive holiday themed packaging to help build excitement in store with eye-catching displays to drive sales.
Wickam also noted, on Nov. 29, that the Sunkist Cara Cara season was just getting underway. “We are looking forward to another strong crop this year. Nutrient rich, beautiful in color and deliciously sweet — this variety holds tremendous promise for growth as consumers become more familiar with its distinct characteristics.”
She noted that the Cara Cara looks like a navel on the outside, but it has its own character. “It’s important that retailers educate consumers about the differences that make this variety unique,” she said. “Sunkist offers point-of-sale materials, including customizable display bins to tell the story of this variety — and why they shouldn’t be missed!”
Amazon's first brick-and-mortar grocery store, Amazon Go, has launched in Seattle. The company said the 1,800-square-foot location offers the world’s most advanced shopping technology, allowing customers to walk into the store, grab whatever they want and walk out without waiting in line or paying at a register.
The store offers ready-to-eat meal and snack options, grocery staples, locally sourced food and the company's chef-designed Amazon Meal Kits, with all the ingredients needed to make a meal for two in about 30 minutes. The company said the store’s footprint is compact so busy customers can get in and out fast.
"Four years ago we asked ourselves: what if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout?” Amazon said. "Could we push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go? Our answer to those questions is Amazon Go and Just Walk Out Shopping."
All a customer needs is an Amazon account, a supported smartphone and the free Amazon Go app.
Amazon said its checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning. Just Walk Out technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When customers are done shopping, they can just leave the store. Shortly after, Amazon will charge the customer's Amazon account and send a receipt.
At the moment the store is only open to Amazon employees, but it is expected to open to the public in early 2017.
Farm Star Living, a national lifestyle online brand promoting the farm-to-everything movement, went behind the scenes at Fowler Farms to see what apple growing and processing entails. Fowler Farms, which has been growing apples for more than 150 years, grows and processes more than 20 varieties of apples — and 100 percent pure ciders.
“With it being the traditional apple season, I thought it would be exciting for our customers and consumers alike to see what it takes to grow great quality fruit behind-the-scenes at one of the largest apple growers in the U.S.,” Mary Blackmon, founder of Farm Star Living, said in a press release.
“We are growing over 20 varieties of apples now, which enthusiastic apple-lovers from coast to coast are enjoying," Fowler's Dave Williams said in the release. "Our SweeTango and Empire varieties are in-store now, and the crop couldn’t have been better. We’ll have many more varieties on the shelves in the next few weeks — perfect for the holiday pies, casseroles, mulled ciders and more.”