Seald Sweet launches Kiddie Clem citrus packaging

In full swing with its summer citrus season, Seald Sweet has launched its Kiddie Clems line of packaging for its easy-to-peel clementines. The new high-graphic packaging with colorful, kid-friendly graphics is the next move following the success of the company's "Mandarina’s" brand sweet Mandarins packaging, which was launched in the summer of 2014.kiddie-clems

Seald Sweet is currently packing early-season shipments for its 2015 summer citrus program in the label. While the "Mandarina’s" brand was developed for extra sweet, late-season varieties of Mandarins, the Kiddie Clems packaging is for the conventional varieties of clementines, which currently are much higher in volumes within the easy-peel Mandarin and clementine category.

“Consumption of this fruit continues to increase every year,” Peter Anderson, Seald Sweet’s imported citrus category manager, said in a press release. “Retailers continue to grow their clementine business and many have responded very favorably to this new label. It is bright, colorful and attractive, and it stands out on the shelf at the store level.

“The Kiddie Clem label has a ‘Tiny Treats for Tiny Sweets’ tag line, making it the perfect packaging for smaller-sized fruit," Anderson said. "Our customers have specifically mentioned how the really like that aspect of the packaging.”

The graphics of both Kiddie Clems and Mandarina’s labels are similar, with the new packaging connected by the Mandarina character along with another playmate. The packaging was specifically designed to appeal to children, further supporting Seald Sweet’s commitment, and the industry mission, to increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables among children.

As part of its summer citrus program, the new Kiddie Clems packaging is available through September, and Mandarina’s sweet Mandarins packaging is available August through October. Both labels are available during Seald Sweet’s winter easy-peeler programs as well, from November through April.

Peapod delivering farm-fresh produce to customers' doors

Peapod.com, a leading online grocer, is making it even easier to enjoy fresh and local seasonal produce by offering a new Peapod Local Farm Box. Throughout the summer, Peapod customers in various areas will have the opportunity to order a box of produce from local farms.

Peapod customers will be able to order Peapod's Local Farm Box by early July. Each box will contain five unique items from local farms, with approximately 10–14 pounds of produce per box. Items included will vary weekly depending on the farmers' harvest and Peapod customers can view what's included in each week's box, along with recipes and a feature on the source farmers, when placing their orders.peapodPeapod's Local Farm Box. (PRNewsFoto/Peapod)

"We know our customers love supporting local farms and enjoying the best, fresh produce in season, which is why we're so excited to introduce the Local Farm Box," Peg Merzbacher, vice president of regional marketing for Peapod, said in a press release. "It's easy to add the Farm Box to your grocery order and have it delivered along with your favorite national and store brands."

The service will be available in New York City, New Jersey, Eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, DC, Virginia, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin

Developed in partnership with FarmLogix, a company that connects local farmers to businesses, Peapod's Local Farm Box is a convenient alternative to committing to a season-long Community Sustainable Agriculture farm share. At $34.99 a box, the Peapod Local Farm Box is a low-cost and flexible way for consumers to support local farmers while enjoying the convenience of home delivery.

Kroger president retires after 40 years with the company

The Kroger Co. announced that Mike Ellis, president and chief operating officer, has retired. He took on his most recent role at Kroger Jan. 1, 2014; however, he has been with the company for 40 years. Kroger said his successor will be named at a later date.

Ellis joined Fred Meyer in 1975 as a parcel clerk at age 16, and went on to serve in a series of operations and merchandising leadership positions in stores, division management and as a corporate officer. He was vice president of Fred Meyer's food group before joining The Kroger Co. as a senior officer in 2004. He returned to lead Fred Meyer as president in 2006. He was promoted to senior vice president of retail divisions in 2012, leading five operating divisions, as well as Kroger's jewelry and convenience store businesses, and became president and COO in 2014.

"We're very grateful to Mike for his contributions over the past 40 years, and we wish him all the best in retirement," Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release. "We have long taken a team approach to leadership, and together our highly experienced team of operators and merchandisers is focused on delivering on our aggressive growth goals."

Whole Foods fires back at claims of overcharging

Whole Foods has denied an allegation by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs that it was knowingly overcharging customers via improper price labeling.Whole Foods-logo

In a June 30 email to its customers and a post on its website, the retailer said that any errors were unintentional and that the claim that it was “systematically overcharging” its customers is “completely inaccurate.”

“The reason for many of these inadvertent errors is because Whole Foods Market packs many of its fresh products in our stores instead of in factories or distribution centers,” the company said in its email. “This involves team members handling, weighing and labeling containers of products, such as with cut produce and fresh squeezed juices. This is who we are and how we deliver the freshest products to customers, but this also means there will be some unintentional human errors.”

Whole Foods said possible reasons for errors in pricing include mislabeled content weights due to improperly calibrated scales and not deducting the proper amount for a container or moisture loss in the product over time. Also, price discrepancies such as a price change not being entered into the system or a sale sign that has not been taken down in time are also potential reasons.

“Our goal is always 100 percent accuracy,” the email added. “While some of our audits reflect 100 percent accuracy rates, in others, our scores have reflected errors in the weighing and price labeling of our products in a small percentage of instances.”

The retailer said it is taking steps to prevent future price discrepancies, including improving training regarding in-store packaging, weighing and labeling processes. It has also implemented a companywide third-party auditing processes.

“Our number one priority is to ensure that our customers have a great experience every time they shop at Whole Foods Market,” the email said. “Falling short of a great experience is not acceptable to us, and we are committed to doing better.”

Sunlight's grapes get boost from weather, now shipping

Early-season green and red seedless grape varieties are exceptional this year and shipping now, under Sunlight International’s "Pretty Lady" brand for the summer promotion.

Despite the drought, this crop already has high Brix levels that are expected to increase, along with excellent size and brilliant flavor, making for a vintage year for Sunlight International. Sunlight’s growing and farming operations averted what Mother Nature threw their way and this year’s weather became ideal for growing conditions.grapDespite the drought, Sunlight anticipates a vintage year for its grapes.

“What else makes high-quality table grapes happier than sunny, warm and dry conditions?” George Galloway, sales of Sunlight International, said in a press release. “Between the unusual warm weather trend, harvest being a few days earlier than last year and new vineyards in the Maricopa, CA, area, we are beyond excited about this strong start to the season and can’t wait for consumers to see our beautiful grapes in our one-of-a-kind retail promotional bins and bags.”

Shipping as of June 24, from the Maricopa region, an ample supply of the popular Flame Seedless has tested at 19 Brix at harvest. Sunlight International’s Flame Seedless have been a prevalent variety, as Jakov P. Dulcich planted the very same variety nearly 40 years ago. In the next few days the new flavorful Lucky Red variety will mature and orders can be placed early July.

The new green seedless variety, Early Sweet, is round, plump and flavorful. At harvest, on June 22, this new variety was at 21 Brix and will only get sweeter. In the next few days Sunlight International will phase into its new variety, Sweet Sixteen, followed by Esteem Green Seedless.

Sunlight International will have a steady supply of various red and green seedless grapes to enjoy throughout the season and black varieties to follow in mid-July. Pretty Lady for the summer and Green Emerald program promotional resources are available upon request. Each program includes full color display bins, posters and eye-catching materials that will best present the largest, crispiest, and greatest-tasting California table grapes in retail aisles.