Whole Foods supplier summit invites local growers to meet with buyers

Whole Foods Market is inviting local growers and food artisans to meet with buyers for its newest store in St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood, opening spring 2016. The Missouri Supplier Summit, hosted by Whole Foods Market Midwest, educates prospective new suppliers around the company’s quality standards and process for becoming a supplier.wholefoods

“We love supporting local farmers, food artisans and producers who share our passion for quality products made from pure, simple ingredients,” Stefanie Garcia, Whole Foods Market Midwest local forager, said in a press release. “The Missouri Supplier Summit is a great opportunity to meet with potential suppliers and find the unique flavors that make Missouri special.”

Currently, anywhere from 10-30 percent of the products on Whole Foods Market shelves come from local producers. Several suppliers, such as St. Louis-based Billy Goat Chips, have grown from a single store to other stores in the region.

For a business to be considered local and attend this summit, the products should be grown, manufactured and packaged in the state of Missouri. During the summit, interested suppliers will learn about Whole Foods Market’s quality standards and supplier process, and then meet individual with buyers to discuss their products in more detail.

The Missouri Supplier Summit will take place Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Maryville University Auditorium, 650 Maryville University Dr., St. Louis. Advanced registration is required for those interested.

Kroger announces partnership with Indiana Grown program

Today Kroger Co.’s Central Division President Jeff Burt hosted Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, announcing Kroger’s partnership with the highly successful Indiana Grown program at a Kroger store in Indianapolis.kroger

All of Kroger’s 102 division stores throughout the state will feature Indiana Grown products, including Kroger brand milk. The stores will also be equipped with bib tags, shelf strips, aisle invaders, stanchion signs and overhead signage to help direct Hoosier shoppers to Indiana Grown products. Kroger currently displays Indiana Grown kiosks in five stores, supporting 21 Indiana Grown members and 110 products on each kiosk.

“At Kroger our customers have a very strong desire to support local businesses in each community and we are pleased to provide additional opportunities for them to do so with the Indiana Grown partnership,” Burt said in a press release. “One important tradition we value is not just supporting Indiana businesses, but mentoring and creating unique opportunities for local vendor partners. Here in Indiana, there are many small, family-owned businesses that started with Kroger and grew alongside us. Participation in the Indiana Grown initiative will allow us to accelerate the pace and grow the number of those partnerships.”

“The Indiana Grown initiative creates new marketing channels for Hoosier food producers,” Ellspermann said in the release. “This partnership expands the program to Kroger shoppers throughout the state who have expressed a strong desire for locally grown foods. We are grateful for Kroger’s enthusiastic support and partnership with Indiana Grown.”

Indiana Grown is managed by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and is the first statewide, all-inclusive and collaborative program to promote Indiana-produced agricultural products. With the help of its retail partners, Indiana Grown creates new local and regional market channels for Indiana agricultural and food businesses. Indiana Grown is accepting additional program members and partners, including farmers, producers, processors and artisans, as well as retailers, grocers and restaurants.

For more information and to apply for membership, please visit www.IndianaGrown.org.

Mango sales jump during NMB display contest

The National Mango Board announced the winners of the Mango Mania Display Contest and reported an outstanding 168 percent increase of mango volume sales amongst participating stores compared to the same time last year. The contest is designed to help small and large retail chains pump up mango sales, while showcasing their creativity and educating shoppers about mango cutting, selection and nutrition.nmbdispaekThis mango display took first place for stores with seven or more registers.

This year, every store was a winner of a $15 Amazon gift card just by entering the contest. This incentive was used by the NMB to enlist more participation and create excitement throughout the produce departments. The stores were encouraged to use NMB’s point-of-sale materials that showcase cutting, selection and nutrition messages, along with easy mango recipe ideas. Retailers were also encouraged to use their own props to incorporate creativity into the catchy displays, which had to be kept for at least seven days during the month of July 2015 to qualify.

The entries were judged based on creativity of the display, visual appeal and effectiveness in educating shoppers about mangos. “The contagious level of excitement the Mango Mania Display Contest brings to retailers is unmatched,” Rachel Muñoz, director of marketing for the NMB, said in the press release. “We are so impressed with the amount of creativity and passion the stores put into their mango displays. Reporting a mango volume increase of 168 percent is a real testament to their efforts.”

The top winners in each category:

Seven or more registers

  • 1st Place, $1,000 prize: Lucilo Torres, Northgate Markets, Long Beach, CA
  • 2nd Place, $800 prize: Garrett Fowden, Payson Marketplace, Payson, UT
  • 3rd Place, $600 prize: Adam Klazura, Jewel-Osco, Aurora, IL
  • 4th Place, $400 prize: Luis Pinedo, Northgate Markets, Los Angeles

One to six registers

  • 1st Place, $1,000 prize: Eduardo Camarena, Northgate Markets, Placentia, CA
  • 2nd Place, $800 prize:  Kara Sherwood, Henderson’s IGA, Valentine, NE
  • 3rd Place, $600 prize: Mario Banderas, Northgate Markets, El Rancho Dominguez, CA
  • 4th Place, $400 prize: Antion Hough, 88 Ranch, Temecula, CA

For a complete list of winners for the 2015 Mango Mania Display Contest, visit www.mango.org/contest.


Chilean blueberries on the rise

During their recent annual meeting, the Chilean Blueberry Committee reported that production will continue to grow during the 2015-16 season, and global exports of fresh blueberries will be in the range of 218 million to 241 million pounds, resulting in an increase of between 7 and 19 percent over the previous season’s exports of 203 million pounds.rama 5 1

North America is by far the largest export market for Chilean blueberries, with 67 percent of Chilean blueberry exports landing in this market during the 2014-15 season. Europe comprised 23 percent of Chile’s fresh blueberry exports and Asia just 10 percent.

Chile has continued to develop and diversify its global markets, but North America will remain a key strategic market for the Chilean blueberry industry, according to Andrés Armstrong, executive director of the Chilean Blueberry Committee.

“Blueberries are a complete package, with great taste, convenience and a strong nutrition story,” Armstrong said in a press release. “North American demand for blueberries continues to rise, and we’re committed to supplying this huge market with both the quantity and quality of blueberries it expects.”

Karen Brux, managing director for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, further commented that Chilean blueberry marketing plans are now being put in place for the United States and Canada.

“As in previous years, we’ll be offering tailored trade marketing support to fit the needs of our importers, wholesalers and retailers,” Brux added in the press release. “With funding from the CBC and ProChile (Chile’s export promotion agency), we develop the most appropriate tools to drive sales of Chilean blueberries, whether in-store promotions, partner demos, social media contests or other tactics.”

Chile’s blueberry acreage continues to expand, with 15,900 hectares currently planted. In

2014-15, Chile exported a total of 34.1 million boxes, with over 19 million boxes shipped to North America. In 2015-16, exports to this market are projected to surpass 20 million boxes and reach new historic highs.

The first export peak is expected to be similar in timing to 2014, with projected exports of 9-13 million pounds for Week 49 or 50.

According to the CBC’s projections, the leading blueberry production region is Maule, which will export a projected 80 million pounds this season, a 35 percent increase over 2014-15.

Maule is followed by the Bio Bio region, with a total of 70 million pounds projected (8 percent increase) and the region of La Araucania, which is projected to export 24 million pounds of blueberries, an increase of 6 percent from the previous season.

In order to provide export data and commentary on key issues that could potentially impact the market, the CBC will continue to partner with IQonsulting on weekly market updates. The weekly report will be available as of October 21st on the CBC website, www.chileanblueberrycommittee.com.

California Giant's Scary Berries promotion ready for Halloween


According to the National Retail Federation, 157 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year, spending almost $7 billion — and one-third of those celebrating plan to throw or attend a party. California Giant Berry Farms is looking to have its berries on the menu at those parties.

As consumers embrace fall and all of the color and celebrations that come with it, California Giant has also changed its colors and message to entice consumers to keep berries in the shopping cart and on the family menu with its Scary Berries promotion running throughout the month of October.150729-cal-giant-scary-berries168-22

The Scary Berries electronic recipe booklet, developed in partnership with ScharffenBerger Chocolate,  is packed with unique ways to dress up California Giant strawberries and chocolate into mummies, ghosts, pumpkins and more. The new YouTube video featuring transformations of berries into scary edible creatures will be promoted throughout social networks, drawing attention to the fact that berries are the perfect Halloween treat.

“We are really excited about this fall promotion and look forward to the consumer feedback," Cindy Jewell, vice president of marketing, said in a press release. "Developing these fun and scary creatures has been a lot of fun as we see them all come to life on the plate and begin to get extremely positive feedback from consumers, bloggers, and the media.”

Consumer subscribers of the company Buzz Blog received a link to the free electronic book of recipes from www.calgiant.com and the link to the YouTube video.

Additionally, trade partners that subscribe to the Trade Buzz will also receive the material as they are encouraged to keep California Giant berries prominently displayed throughout the fall season. All California Giant social media outlets, in addition to those that follow ScharffenBerger, will draw attention to the new campaign offering the free material to consumers after they provide demographic information and answer a few questions about their shopping behavior and preferences.