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As part of an ongoing strategic repositioning, Kingdom Fresh Farms has refreshed its packaging and launched a redesigned website that reflects new organizational positioning.

“For more than a year, we have been actively defining our competitive points of differentiation and refining our internal and external market positions that set us apart from the competition," Guillermo Martinez, general manager, said in a press release. "The new packaging and website reflect nearly nine months of hard work to clarify our brand and our message.”kingdom

All new materials, including the packaging and the website, reflect the company tagline “Cultivating Connections.” Martinez shared that the idea behind the message of cultivating connections highlights how the company does business and is intimately tied to the people.

The new packaging offers a bold, clean design with easy-to-read product naming to assist with product merchandising, but also highlights Kingdom Fresh employees and directs consumers to the website for more information about the company. The new packaging will be rolled out during June and July and cover all products.

“Highlighting our employees on our packaging is about showcasing how proud we are of the people behind the brand. People that have worked with us from the beginning. People whose families we know, whose communities we support,” said Martinez. “People want to know where their food comes from and the people behind it — that’s what our connections are about.”

These connections are further defined on the new organizational website, where Kingdom Fresh Farms explains how it builds greenhouses in existing communities, which allows it to focus on local labor and avoid the use of migrant help and labor camps that have come under criticism in recent years. Additionally, the new website highlights not only Kingdom Fresh’s growth in the tomato industry, but also its emphasis on food safety and sustainability with its new initiatives, including solar power, non-GMO verification and a line of organics.

Martinez concluded, “We are a young company just over a decade old, but we’ve proven our commitment to the industry and the communities where we do business with continued strength and expansion thanks to the vision of our founders who believe in growing local economies and creating partnerships with our customers.”

As proof of that growing commitment, in the last year alone Kingdom Fresh Farms has added greenhouse acreage in a second location, new packinglines to improve efficiencies to meet increased volume and demand, completed non-GMO certification and began production of a new organic line of tomatoes.

Peru’s agriculture ministry, known as Minagri, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service reached an agreement in mid-June that will permit shipments of Peruvian pomegranates into the United States.

Minagri estimates that exports of Peruvian pomegranates to the United States will be between 10,000 and 20,000 metric tons, valued at between $15 million and $30 million.IMG 7314Peruvian pomegranate growers (front row) Manuel Checa, Jorge Checa and Javier Moreno, and (standing) Sandro Farfan, Enrique Illescas and Juan Pablo Bentin in Lima, Peru. Photo by John Groh

Grower Jorge Checa said that Peruvian pomegranate shipments, which run from January to July, come after U.S. production has ceased, providing a complementary season for the fruit.

He added that Peru will have a good marketing window for the fruit, coming at the end of U.S. production and ahead of Chilean production.

“Now, the United States is receiving fruit from Chile [after U.S. production ends], but I feel the U.S. consumer will come to prefer fruit from Peru,” said Checa. “Peruvian fruit has a higher Brix content due to our climatic conditions.”

Checa said there is quite a bit of potential for Peruvian pomegranates in the United States, and the U.S. West Coast is a very important market because of the familiarity of the fruit. But the East Coast represents a large opportunity due to the dense population and the ethnic diversity, with many Hispanic residents.

The Wonderful variety is the predominant pomegranate variety grown in Peru, and that is the variety offered by the namesake company owned by Stewart and Lynda Resnick in California. Checa credits the Resnicks for raising the profile of the fruit in the United States.

“It’s an excellent product and U.S. retailers are now seeking it out,” he said. “We’ll do a lot of marketing and demos in the United States, but many consumers already know the product due to the work of the Resnicks.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Kelly Bros. Inc. of Exeter, CA, satisfied a reparation order issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. As a result the company can continue operating in the produce industry upon applying for and being issued a PACA license.

In May, the USDA imposed sanctions on Kelly Bros. for failing to pay an $18,803 award in favor of a California seller. 

Christopher J. Kelly was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business and may now be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee.

The USDA is required to impose sanctions on a business that fails to pay PACA reparations awarded against it as well as impose restrictions against those principals determined to be responsibly connected to the business when the order is issued. Those individuals, including sole proprietors, partners, members, managers, officers, directors, or major stockholders may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee without USDA-approval.

Once a reparation order is fully satisfied and it is confirmed that there are not any outstanding unpaid awards, USDA lifts the employment restrictions of the previously named, responsibly connected individuals.  USDA also requires any unlicensed company that fully satisfies all unpaid reparation awards to obtain a license if it continues to operate in the industry.

In the past three years, the USDA resolved approximately 3,700 PACA claims involving more than $66 million. Its experts also assisted more than 7,100 callers with issues valued at approximately $100 million.

Calif-PearsVolume estimates released by the California Pear Advisory Board on June 20 show that the state's fresh pear volume is expected to be down when compared to the last crop year. According to the report, California fresh pear producers are expected to move approximately 2.5 million 36-pound boxes this season, a decrease of 10 percent when compared to 2015.

An approximate breakdown of pear varieties and difference from the 2015 crop year is as follows: Bartlett: 2 million boxes, down 3 percent; Bosc: 390,000 boxes, down 32 percent; Starkrimson: 51,500 boxes, down 33 percent; Comice: 13,250 boxes, down 21 percent; other reds: 33,000 boxes, up 34 percent; Seckel: 2,500 boxes, down 16 percent; Sunsprites: 17,500 boxes, up 2 percent; Forelle: 6,500 boxes, down 16 percent; French Butter: 5,800 boxes, up 86 percent; and other pears, 10,000 boxes, down 43 percent.

Combining estimates from California and the Pacific Northwest, estimated Northwest Bartlett volume is estimated at 4.389 million boxes, up 9 percent. The total Northwest fresh crop is expected to be approximately 18.745 boxes, up 2 percent. The total combined U.S. fresh crop is estimated at approximately 21.275 million boxes, a volume that is on par with the 2015 crop year.

In recognition of how people, especially millennials, choose to communicate in current times, the California Avocado Commission is using a couple of avocado-themed murals to draw a connection between the fruit and the state in which it is grown.

CAC changed advertising agencies this year and part of the branding strategy of the new campaign is to align California avocados with iconic California images. The vast majority of California avocados are sold in the western states where the Golden State’s image is very much a positive. The consumer marketing campaign is centered on associating avocados with the California lifestyle. Using iconic California images, such as the beach and the mountains, the campaign is not so subtly making that connection.DSC 1444Artist John Van Hamersveld, CAC’s Jan DeLyser and Patrick Simkins of MullenLowe in front of the San Francisco mural.

As part of the campaign, the MullenLowe agency is utilizing a “show and share” strategy that encourages millennials and others to snap pictures of themselves in front of strategically located California avocado posters in the state’s larger urban markets and share those images with their friends. Early in the season posters were placed in high-traffic areas within CAC’s targeted markets of Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco, and through its social media postings, CAC encouraged people to “show and share” themselves in photos with those posters.

CAC and its agency have now taken that strategy one step further with the production of a large mural in the trendy South Market (SoMa) neighborhood of San Francisco during mid-June. Another mural is being painted in the equally hip Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego in late July. Both these murals depict a skyline of the host city and avocados. Not surprisingly the San Francisco mural features the Golden Gate Bridge, the well-known pyramid building and other recognizable skyscrapers, and of course, a very nice cut avocado. The one thing missing from the mural is any mention of the sponsor — the California Avocado Commission.CA-Avocado---San-Francisco-Mural

MullenLowe Associate Creative Director Patrick Simkins said that in the first place cities want public art to be free of headlines or logos. But he said millennials are not likely to take a picture of themselves in front of an ad. They are much more likely to share a photo standing in front of cool art. While there is no mention of “California Avocados” on the mural itself, Simkins said “digital bread crumbs” are lurking in cyber space near the mural. If a person does take a photo and uses “Snapchat” for example, to send it to friends, the California Avocado logo does appear during that sharing process. It seemingly shows up magically, but in reality it is just a social media technological advancement that works.

Artist John Van Hamersveld, who is a graphic artist of note that has produced many iconic pieces of art, has become a muralists in recent years. In his San Francisco mural, he blended the California avocado artwork with these well-known images. While it is a commercial venture, Van Hamersveld said the mural “aesthetically stands alone” as a piece of art.

CAC Vice President of Marketing Jan DeLyser noted that CAC has long used strategically based billboards to advance the image of the California avocado. She said the murals this year are taking the place of those billboards and are specifically targeting millennials, which is somewhat of a new target audience for CAC.

Simkins admits that the strategy is cutting edge. He said few advertisers are willing to think outside of the box and separate their name from the image in this way. He called it “new and an experiment” but seems convinced that it will work. He believes many people who pass by will take their picture in front of the mural and share it and then it will be shared again and again.

In today’s social media world, all of those “shares” will be measured and analyzed as time goes on. The murals have contracted the space for a minimum of six months. It’s somewhat likely that they will survive longer as it would be rare for another piece of public art to be approved and waiting for that exact space six months from now.