CPMA applauds movement to restore PACA-type system in Canada

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Canadian Horticultural Council applaud the commitment from the Liberal Party of Canada and Liberal Agriculture Critic Mark Eyking to establishing a Canadian mechanism comparable to the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act in the United States and to restoring Canada’s preferential access to PACA programs.

“CPMA raised this issue when we met with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau last September, where he committed to resolving this critical problem for the produce industry,” CPMA President Ron Lemaire said in a press release. “We are thrilled that he is following through on this commitment and that the Liberal Party recognizes the importance of a strong produce industry that can continue to provide fresh, healthy food for Canadians.”

“Growing and selling fresh fruit and vegetables is risky, which makes this commitment to ensuring strong, equitable payment protection tools, both in Canada and when exporting to our largest market, all the more important,” Anne Fowlie, executive vice president of the CHC, added in the press release. “We are grateful of the Liberal Party’s support of those who bring fresh fruits and vegetables to our tables every day.”

The lack of payment protection in Canada is the number one issue for fresh fruit and vegetable growers and sellers across Canada. The industry has long advocated for a PACA-like trust in Canada. The highly perishable nature of fresh produce makes the industry uniquely vulnerable during bankruptcies, risking financial ruin for those affected.

Produce sellers in the United States have PACA, which provides a deemed trust mechanism that ensures that growers and sellers are paid should a buyer go bankrupt or simply refuse to pay for the product they receive. Canada had been the only country whose exporters were granted the same protections as U.S. companies under PACA.

The U.S. revoked Canada’s special access due to the lack of similar trust protection and the lack of progress in fulfilling the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council commitment to establishing a comparable approach in Canada.

Long vulnerable in Canada, the situation became more urgent after the decision last fall made exporting to the U.S. a much riskier enterprise for Canadian companies, who currently send 40 percent of all produce grown in Canada to U.S. customers.

Since Oct. 1, Canadian companies trying to recover unpaid bills have had to post a bond of double the value of their claim to move forward with a formal claim under PACA. Many cannot afford to do so and must simply walk away from what they are owed, a decision several have already had to make.

CHC and CPMA have been asking all parties to commit to resolving this issue in their platforms this election. A limited statutory deemed trust, like the PACA model, is a no-cost solution and the most effective means to resolve the issue. Other options would result in high cost to both sellers and government, while still providing ineffective protection.

Fresh Thyme expansion continues with three Chicagoland stores

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market will open three new Chicagoland stores Oct. 14, increasing its presence in the area to seven locations. The company is scheduled to open 60 stores by 2019.freshti

“We love our fellow Chicagoland residents, and we’re excited to continue to share value-priced, fresh, healthy and organic offerings to more of our neighbors,” Chris Sherrell, Fresh Thyme chief executive officer, said in a press release. “We have recently opened our company’s central support hub in Downers Grove, and we are fully committed to supporting residents throughout the region in their goals to eat healthier and smarter.”

All of the stores are committed to investing in and partnering with their local communities. During the month of October, all Chicago area stores are selling limited-edition pink reusable shopping bags with 65 cents from each bag sale benefiting The Pink Agenda to support breast cancer research and television host Giuliana Rancic’s FAB-U-WISH initiative.

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies with members of the Fresh Thyme leadership team, local dignitaries and chambers of commerce will be held at each store at 6:45 a.m. preceding the official store openings at 7 a.m.

Each of the three store grand openings will have a grocery giveaway to the first 250 shoppers in line. Festivities will continue with free samples, vendor demos, live music, face paintings and other entertainment throughout the weekend.



$300 million in crop losses from South Carolina flood

Following intense rain and flooding, South Carolina Department of Agriculture Commissioner Hugh E. Weathers toured the state by air Oct. 5 and 6, and said conservative early estimates are that direct crop losses from the flood may exceed $300 million.

The storm has had a significant statewide effect, and it appears that low lying farmland adjacent to rivers systems and creeks was most severely impacted. Weathers said that "long-term, this disaster will cause an income loss for local farmers and the rural counties of South Carolina."scfarmA flooded farm in Darlington County, SC.

He noted that 2015 has been an exceptionally challenging year for farmers in South Carolina due to severe drought during the growing season and excessive rainfall at harvest. "Efforts will continue to gauge losses through the completion of harvest season," he said.

"We’re going to work on behalf of our farmers with the federal and state resources and assistance our farmers have access to," Weathers said. "A request has been sent to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for an agricultural disaster declaration to be made, which begins the process for federal assistance to our farmers. Right now, the most important thing for farmers to do is learn the details of their crop insurance policies and immediately contact their crop insurance agent prior to making any additional investments in their crop."

Weathers added that he shocked by the effects the rainfall on farms and described "thousands of farm acres under water, farm buildings standing as islands in the water, and farm roads washed away."

Avocados From Mexico to unveil 'Fresh' approach

Avocados From Mexico, the No. 1 selling avocado in the United States accounting for more than 75 percent of the market share, will be unveiling a lineup of new and exciting innovative branding and category building programs at the upcoming Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Expo in Atlanta. Echoing the brand’s unique year-round availability, a “Fresh 365/24/7” theme will be the focus of Avocados From Mexico’s presence at the show.afm

“We are very excited to be participating in the PMA Fresh Summit this year," Alvaro Luque, president of Avocados From Mexico, said in a press release. "As leaders in the category we feel this event is the perfect opportunity to showcase all of our bold marketing and trade programs that will keep the volume growth for avocados and bring value to our customers and network. We want Avocados From Mexico to be a benchmark for the fresh industry in the U.S. and you will definitely see that in terms of our marketing, trade, market intelligence and digital activation at the Summit.”

AFM’s new 50-foot by 40-foot exhibit is designed to be an ideal setting for the team to educate attendees on all the fresh initiatives to support retail, wholesale and foodservice customers 365 days of the year. From demand-driving promotions to first-class partnerships, robust advertising and innovative displays, AFM is arming its customers with everything they need to sustain avocado activity all year long.

“We have really raised the bar this year in not only our presence at PMA, but also in our fresh programming to increase avocado consumption and demand throughout the year,” Maggie Bezart Hall, vice president of retail and promotion, said in a press release.

Summit attendees will learn about Avo Lifestyle, a new initiative that is a first for the category. Avo Lifestyle was created to inspire consumers through a newly launched platform that goes beyond nutritious eating. In partnership with a major fitness brand, Avocados From Mexico will have the opportunity to reach health savvy enthusiasts through one of its highly recognized health and wellness digital apps where consumers can access “My Avo Plan,” which incorporates and promotes the daily consumption of avocados. The Avo Lifestyle concept targets a new society of health-conscious consumers who are looking for well-rounded, fulfilling lifestyles.

Avocados From Mexico will also be showcasing its alliance with Partnership for a Healthier America’s FNV campaign, focused on increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables among teens and moms.

Known as one of the more flavorful stops at shows, AFM’s booth will once again be the place for culinary sampling at the Fresh Summit. Along with innovative demos by Chef Mark Garcia, the booth will feature a Guac Bar with an ingredient wall, as well as a new Raw Bar featuring poke and ceviche.

In addition, attendees can look forward to a fully decked out football tailgate experience with a GuacDog Cart along with a nutrition area featuring an avocado FroYo Bar.

As the category leader, AFM developed potential targeted partnerships with leading brands such as Coca Cola, Ro*tel, Old El Paso, Bimbo and Tabasco to help drive demand and consumption at point of sale. The programs will feature thematic displays, coupons, consumer sweepstakes and social and digital support.

AFM will also feature innovation in the way of in-store merchandising with new portable displays and an avocado education toolkit, which will feature a variety of unique in-store POS and displays designed to help educate the consumer on how to pick, ripen and store avocados.

This year Avocados From Mexico will be hosting an invite-only Sunday Morning Tailgate at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta on Oct. 25 from 7:30-10 a.m. The event will showcase Avocados From Mexico’s seasonal programs and feature all of the new and exciting 2015-16 innovations in merchandising.

“This event will be the perfect opportunity for the retail trade industry to see our bold shopper marketing programs," Stephanie Bazan, market development director, said in the release. "From our multiple thematic programs that support key avocado consumption occasions, such as our association with the Big Game, to several of our unique merchandising solutions, we hope this showcase will generate excitement for the brand and category."

Attendees can learn more about these new initiatives at Avocados From Mexico’s booth No. 2225 during PMA’s Fresh Summit Exhibition and online at AvocadosFromMexico.com.

Pears primed to get boost from snacking trend

Harvest is nearing completion for the Northwest pear growers of Washington and Oregon. Over the next months, 10 pear varieties will be at their peak, putting a fresh crop of Northwest-grown pears within easy reach now through next spring.Pear-and-toast

As part of a multi-year campaign, Pear Bureau Northwest will position pears as a perfect choice for wholesome, simple snacking with consumer programs, including sampling demos and events featuring fresh pairings with other real-food ingredients, new website content, social media campaigns, and media and blogger outreach.

Half of all eating occasions are now snack driven. According to a recent Mintel report on snacking, 94 percent of Americans snack at least once a day, compared to just 64 percent last year. Thirty-three percent say they are choosing healthier foods this year compared to last year, with an emphasis on simple ingredients. Millennials are leading the way and are more likely than any other demographic to snack multiple times throughout the day.

“Busy lifestyles are here to stay, and adults are reaching for healthy snacks to fuel themselves and their families or even replace meals,” Kathy Stephenson, marketing communications director for Pear Bureau Northwest, said in a press release. “We want to tell time-starved consumers that pears are portable, packable and pair-able. A pear’s juicy, subtle flavor pairs well with protein-filled nut butters, almonds, and walnuts. And a pear’s gentle acidity is a brilliant match for richer pairings, like cheese and cured meats.”

A recent usage study commissioned by USA Pears showed that on average, pear consumers purchase six or more pears in bulk when shopping, with 46 percent eating them as mid-morning and afternoon snacks.

“The quality of USA Pears for the new season is excellent, and we anticipate an abundance of 'snackable' size fruit resulting from high summer temperatures in the Northwest growing regions. Our snacking initiative is perfectly timed to help our growers and shippers sell their plentiful, high-quality, small-sized fruit,” said Stephenson. “Smaller fruit is perfect for the lunchbox, or to toss into a purse or string bag on the way out the door.

“Pears are a nutrient-dense, fat free food, an excellent source of fiber, and a good source of vitamin C for only 100 calories per serving,” Stephenson added. “They’re a healthy snack that can help fill you up and keep you satisfied.”