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Some manufacturers sell only the commodity items they stock. Others are completely customized. Antigo, WI-based Volm Cos. Inc. delivers the best of both.

In addition to offering a complete catalog of standard bags and packaging, mesh fabric products and more, the company retains the ability to tailor its offerings to meet whatever specifications its customers demand, such as custom color combinations for brand-compliant mesh bags.You-are-Here.--Well-get-you-there

Volm handles some of the most recognized consumer brands in the nation and has provided the produce industry with the latest packaging equipment and materials for over 60 years.

“Our efforts include staying in touch with the trends and needs of the grower and fresh produce packer such as traceability, automation, productivity and sustainability,” said Communications Manager Marsha Verwiebe. “As a single-source supplier, we offer complete expert packaging, equipment and facility design consulting services, from package design and graphic development to full-line equipment integration.”

The company will have strong staff representation at the PMA Fresh Summit (booth No.  3501) on Oct. 14-16 in Orlando, FL. Verwiebe said the company is excited about the opportunity to share information on its new facility in Ancaster, Canada, with visitors to the event. Ancaster is a community within the city of Hamilton, ON, located on the Niagara Escarpment.

“Ground breaking was held at the site on September 7,” said Verwiebe. “It’s our first on international soil. “It was attended by Volm’s executive staff, including Michael Hunter II, chief operating officer, and Michael Marin of the Hamilton Economic Development.”

The new distribution and service center is designed to house packaging and consumables as well as equipment parts to better serve the Volm customer base in both Canada and the eastern United States.

“Construction on the 24,000-square-foot building is expected to be completed by March of 2017, and will serve as the home office for the Canadian sales, design and engineering and technical service teams,” said Verwiebe. “Volm has been servicing both its packaging and Volmpack equipment customers in Canada for many years from across the border. By having a centralized location the level of service will only increase, allowing Volm to better meet the ever-changing needs of our customers.”

In addition to Verwiebe, attendees of the PMA Fresh Summit can meet up with any of the numerous executives, account managers and engineers who will be at the company’s booth to greet and meet with customers and prospective customers.

“Produce professionals can stay tuned for progress updates by following Volm on Facebook and LinkedIn, or at volmcompanies.com,” said Verwiebe.

Fusion Marketing, a Los Angeles-based agency that provides customized marketing and sales solutions, specializing in produce industry accounts, is now the agency of record for Zespri Kiwifruit, the world’s largest marketer of kiwifruit, selling the fruit in 56 countries and managing around one-third of all globally traded kiwifruit.

Many decades of growing kiwifruit in New Zealand has resulted in tested and proven Zespri orchard management practices that consistently deliver the best fruit possible. Known as the Zespri System, over 2,500 New Zealand growers follow strict orchard management protocols carried out in the orchard and throughout the supply chain, which means every tray of fruit can be traced back to its orchard and pack house of origin. The Zespri System is built around providing the highest standards of taste and quality to its consumers.

Additionally, Zespri develops proprietary varieties through an industry-leading, natural plant-breeding program. Zespri has developed the Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit, which is a golden-fleshed variety with a sweet taste and a hint of sour. It is one of the most nutrient-dense fruits available as it is a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate and other minerals and antioxidants: just one SunGold offers all this. Zespri offers other varieties including: Green, Organic, Sweet Green and Gold.

Zespri had a record-breaking 2015-16 kiwifruit season. The increased market demand for Zespri kiwifruit prompted the company to reach out to Fusion Marketing, the leading produce marketing firm, to help with their U.S. initiatives. Fusion’s expertise will help Zespri reach its vision to be the category leader with retail trade partners.

Fusion will provide Zespri with marketing and sales support, custom research and category intelligence to strengthen their understanding of consumer behavior and market trends in the U.S. retail environment.

“We look forward to helping Zespri expand its reach into U.S. markets through strategic marketing insights,” Steven Muro, president of Fusion Marketing, said in a press release. “We will provide them with an actionable direction that will be tailored to their specific goals. Retailers will be excited to stock Zespri’s delicious kiwifruit as consumers drive demand.”

In an ongoing effort to infuse life with health and wellness, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores is providing free fruit to kids in stores while parents shop. Baskets of fruit are placed in the entrance of each store, as a nutritious snack option for kids under the age of 12.

“Raley’s wants to connect kids with fresh and healthy food, while enhancing our customers’ overall shopping experience,” said Kevin Konkel, senior vice president of store operations. “Offering kids free fruit is an opportunity to provide a nutritious snack option. We know that small changes in food choices can make an impact over time.”

raleys-logo-300x137 As Raley’s promotes their vision of wellness, making fresh fruit as accessible as possible to youth who are so early on in their personal food journeys can help instill better dietary choices/practices later in life.

“Fruit is a delicious and easy way for kids to get more fiber and important nutrition into their day, keeping their immune system strong and their taste buds happy,” said Emmie Satrazemis, Raley’s wellness evangelist.

Eighty-seven percent of Americans don’t meet recommendations for daily fruit consumption. A vital point at which to begin introducing positive food choices is when children are setting up their habits for a lifetime.

There is a misconception that fruits and vegetables are more expensive than other foods. Contrary to popular belief, produce is no more expensive than many less nutritious options. With a majority of Raley’s stores in or near America’s Farm to Fork capital, providing free fruit to children is a unique opportunity to educate the next generation of consumers, one piece of fruit at a time.

Let’s Begin” is a multi-dimensional effort to share Raley’s vision of health and wellness with customers; inviting others to take small steps toward a healthier lifestyle through education, personal goal setting and sharing. 

Approaching a new citrus season, Sunkist Growers announced on Thursday, Sept. 29, that Lance McMillan has been promoted to director of North American sales. McMillan brings a deep knowledge of packinghouse operations along with a proven track record in sales results to this role.
 
Brian Slagel, former director of North American sales, has been named director of strategic sales. In this position, Slagel will develop and oversee sales accounts of strategic importance to Sunkist to foster growth opportunities.
 
“Sunkist is looking forward to a strong citrus season ahead, and we are pleased to announce these strategic changes to our sales leadership structure,” said Sunkist Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, John Striff. “Lance McMillan and Brian Slagel are seasoned executives who have a rich history with Sunkist and they bring tremendous value to our organization. We look forward to the contributions and growth opportunities they will both offer Sunkist in these new roles.”
 
McMillan has worked in the produce industry for over 18 years, previously working in Sunkist-affiliated packinghouses and running his own agricultural marketing business before joining Sunkist as senior account manager for national accounts in 2002. He is a graduate of San Diego State University and was honored as a Dupont Fellow of the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program’s class of 2000.
 
Slagel joined Sunkist at the Pittsburgh sales office in 1991, shortly after graduating from Pennsylvania State University. After leaving Sunkist to work in sales for Dole Citrus, Slagel returned to Sunkist as the manager of the Cleveland sales office in 1997, and has since been a critical part of Sunkist’s sales network expansion and improvement.

YORKTOWN, VA — The Southeast Produce Council's Southern Innovations Symposium kicked off with the STEP-UPP and board dinner Wednesday evening, Sept. 28, at the Yorktown Freight Shed, here, one day prior to the official opening of the symposium, scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, VA.

SEPC President Mark Daniels of Mountain King Potatoes welcomed the group to the dinner, and SEPC board Secretary Faye Westfall, of DiMare Fresh Tampa and co-chair of the council's Southeast Training Education Program for Upcoming Produce Professionals, introduced the members of the sixth STEP-UPP class, which will graduate at the 2017 Southern Exposure conference and trade show this March in Orlando, FL.sepc3923SEPC Treasurer Steve Pinkston of Walmart, and Faye Westfall, of DiMare Fresh Tampa and secretary of the SEPC board of directors.

As the dinner was held in historic Yorktown — site of the decisive battle in October 1781 in which American and French forces defeated the British, which effectively ended the American Revolution — an actor portraying the Marquis de Lafayette, a key figure during the war and an aide to General George Washington, gave a passionate and entertaining presentation on his remembrances and exploits during the war.

sepc3928Tom Page, retired from and Supervalu, and Faye Westfall, of DiMare Fresh Tampa, co-chair the Southeast Produce Council's STEP-UPP program. They are shown with SEPC President Mark Daniels of Mountain King Potatoes at the council's STEP-UPP and board dinner Wednesday evening, Sept. 28, in Yorktown, VA, one day before the opening of the symposium in Williamsburg, VA. Photos by Gordon M. Hochberg.