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Homegrown Organic Farms has taken the next critical step in its growth as one of the premier shippers of organic blueberries in the Pacific Northwest. The company recently solidified a partnership with a new Pacific Northwest facility. This exclusive partnership will provide the needed capacity to handle the increased organic blueberry production scheduled in the coming years. Homegrown will consolidate all packing and shipping operations for fruit originating from the Pacific Northwest at this facility.

This strategic partnership will provide customers with advantages in logistics and transportation. As the domestic blueberry season moves from California up to Oregon and Washington, this new facility will allow for a logistical advantage and convenience factor when loading with other regionally located products.    

“This new location will not only provide excellent customer service, but also provide fantastic opportunities for our growers," Chad Hansen, Homegrown Organic Farms’ blueberry category director, said in a press release. "We are excited and grateful for the responsibility to continue to create impact and change lives. By participating in a more sustainable and regional production model we can support local jobs while maintaining our keen focus and commitment to exceptional quality and program consistency for our retail and wholesale partners. It’s really a win-win-win for everyone involved and simply stated, it just makes sense.”

“This growth in our organic blueberry category has been strategically planned for the past several years and this partnership is just the next step for our growers and customers alike," Scott Mabs, Homegrown Organic Farms’ chief executive officer, said in the release. "We know this will have a marked impact on our business and our customers. We are excited about what the future holds for Homegrown, our growers, and our valued customers.”  

Along with the Pacific Northwest facility, the company will continue to operate packing and shipping facilities in Kingsburg and Riverside, CA, for its Central and Southern California production, respectively.     

Sunkist Growers is giving retailers a taste of summer at the United Fresh 2016 trade show, showcasing summer citrus varieties and fresh marketing solutions to squeeze the most out of the season.

“Sunkist is excited to share fresh ideas for seasonal citrus marketing with trade customers at this year’s United Fresh trade show in Chicago,” Joan Wickham, Sunkist’s director of communications, said in a press release. “Beautiful, warm summer weather brings so many opportunities for consumers to zest up their routine, and the bright, refreshing flavors of citrus are the perfect complement for the season.”joan-wickhamJoan Wickham

Visitors to the Sunkist booth (No. 1521) will be able to experience the wide array of eye-catching point-of-sale materials offered to help educate consumers about citrus seasonality, flavor profiles, nutrition information and usage ideas that encourage purchase.

“Education is critical when it comes to driving sales in the produce department,” Julie DeWolf, Sunkist’s director of retail marketing, said in the release. “We offer retailers customizable marketing materials and displays that not only educate, but also showcase the beauty and versatility of citrus.”

Sunkist will be demonstrating tasty ways to enjoy summer citrus at the trade show. Chef Jill Davie will be serving Orange Chipotle Pulled Pork Tacos with Orange Cabbage Slaw and Grapefruit, Avocado, Bacon & Shrimp on Little Gem Leaves. Additionally, Lemon Lavender Soda will be served each morning, and a California Mai Tai, made with freshly squeezed Sunkist Valencia oranges, lemons and limes, will be available in the afternoon.

“There are many delicious citrus varieties in the market during the summer months, and we will be highlighting these fresh flavors at our booth,” added Wickham.

Valencia oranges, in season now through October, are delicious summer oranges that offer a nice balance of tart and sweet flavors and are perfect for juicing. An excellent source of Vitamin C, Valencia oranges are also a nutritious, rewarding summer snack option.

Grapefruit is another refreshing citrus variety that Sunkist offers year-round. An excellent source of vitamins A and C, grapefruit is a nutritious snack as well as a tangy addition to summer salads and cocktails.

Sunkist also offers lemons, a versatile summertime staple, year-round including specialty lemon varieties such as Meyer, seedless and Zebra (pink variegated) lemons.

The inaugural Organic Produce Summit has sold out, with overwhelming demand from producers of organic fresh produce and retail buying organizations across North America driving the first-ever event to sold out status.ops

The Organic Produce Summit, slated for July 13-14 at the Monterey Hyatt in Monterey, CA, will include a sold out exhibition floor of 72 organic produce growers, shippers distributors and processors. Additionally, more than 60 retail buying organizations representing more than 50,000 retail outlets across North America are confirmed to attend.

The day-and-a-half-long event features an opening-night reception July 13, followed the next day by a series of educational sessions and keynote speakers covering a wide range of topics related to the booming $14 billion organic produce category. After a lunch break, the OPS moves to the exhibit area featuring a wide array of the world’s largest organic fresh produce companies. Further information about the summit is available at www.organicproducesummit.com.

Due to the response to this year’s event, the 2017 Organic Produce Summit will again be held in July in Monterey.  Information about next year’s event will be made available in August.

The National Mango Board is hosting its annual Mango Mania Display Contest throughout the month of July. With more than $10,000 in prizes and incentives awarded, retailers can win big, and what’s more, everyone is a winner just by entering the contest.

The NMB will send a $15 Amazon digital gift card to the email address listed on each valid entry. In addition to the display contest, this summer will keep sizzling with the Share. Mango. Love Retail Registered Dietician challenge.

From now through the month of August, the retail registered dietitians can submit their store’s mango promotions or events and get entered to win great prizes.

Entering its sixth year, the Mango Mania Display Contest is designed to help stores pump up mango sales while educating shoppers about mangos.

Retailers are encouraged to use point-of-sale materials included in the Mango Mania Kit, in addition to showcasing their own creativity to build beautiful and eye-catching displays.

To be eligible for the prizes, displays must be kept in place for at least one week between July 1 and July 31, and contest entries must be sent to the NMB by Aug. 22, 2016.

The contest will award more than $10,000 in prizes and incentives, ranging from $200 to $1,000 per winner. These prizes will be awarded in two categories: one to six cash registers and seven or more cash registers, so all retailers — big and small — have a great chance of winning.

Retailers who wish to participate in the Mango Mania Display Contest should visit mango.org/contest to get more information and order POS kits for their stores.

The kit includes the contest flyer with the official rules along with a robust selection of POS materials, such as educational header cards for selecting and cutting, nutrition information and mango recipes. Mango suppliers can help by telling their retailers about the contest and ordering POS kits for them at mango.org/contest.

For additional summertime fun, retail RDs can participate in the Share. Mango. Love challenge. The challenge invites retail RDs to share their love of mangos by documenting a mango promotion in their store or community.

Qualifying activities include demo events, TV appearances, kid events, school tours and corporate wellness events.

Additionally, every RD will receive a $10 Amazon digital gift card just for entering the contest. Then, 10 randomly selected winners will choose from these prize options: a Breville Juice Fountain Plus, a Sun Classic Western Chef’s Knife or a Fitbit Charge HR. Click for more information and official rules.  

RDs can visit mango.org/RDchallenge to get more information and download contest rules.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for retailers to show us their mango love and win some great prizes, while encouraging shoppers to buy more mangos,” Rachel Muñoz, director of marketing for the NMB, said in a press release. “Year after year we are impressed with the level of creativity, passion, and excitement the mango mania display contest creates around retailers, not to mention the outstanding volume increase in mango sales, which last year surpassed over 160 percent. Given the enthusiasm we’ve seen from the produce departments, we are excited to see the engagement with the new retail registered dietician Share. Mango. Love challenge.”

Brookshire Grocery Co. has announced the pending acquisition of 25 former Walmart Express stores, which will open this summer as the company’s new Spring Market brand. The acquisition is scheduled to close in July.  

The name “Spring Market” represents and honors the company’s history, which began in 1928 with the opening of its first store on Spring Avenue in Tyler, TX.

Brookshire said the stores, located in Louisiana and Texas, will offer hometown convenience in an easy-to-shop format with a surprising assortment of products at highly competitive prices.

“Brookshire Grocery Co. is already known throughout our market areas for having great stores and we are confident that our customers in these new markets will feel the exact same way," Brad Brookshire, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release. "Our Spring Market stores will stand for friendly service, quality products, affordable convenience and a pleasant shopping environment. We are also really excited to hire hundreds of employees from these communities to help us take care of our new customers. We look forward to making a positive difference in each of these communities through our people, products, stores and service.”

Brookshire Grocery Co. employs 13,500 people and operates 152 stores in three states — Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas — with three distribution centers and six manufacturing facilities.