Whole Foods Market announced that Angela Lorenzen has been named regional president of the company’s Pacific Northwest region.
Lorenzen will oversee 22 stores in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, including two stores opening in Eugene, OR, and Victoria, BC, in September and November, respectively.
"I’m thrilled to lead our team in the Pacific Northwest region,” Lorenzen said in a press release. “This community cares deeply about natural and organic food and the story behind what’s on their plate. I’m focused on empowering our team members to meet the needs of this unique community and providing shoppers with the great experience they expect from Whole Foods Market.”
Previously, Lorenzen served Whole Foods Market’s Northern California region in various leadership roles, including vice president and executive coordinator of operations. She’s worked in five of the company’s California stores, including the Noe Valley store where she led the store’s opening.
“Angela is a results-driven leader with vast operational experience that has made her an incredible asset to Whole Foods Market,” David Lannon, executive vice president of operations at Whole Foods Market, said in the release. “We’re thrilled to see her take on this role and continue to grow our business in the Pacific Northwest region.”
BREWSTER, MA — The New England Produce Council's 17th annual Produce, Floral & Foodservice Expo, held Sept. 21-23 at the Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club, which is located here on historic and beautiful Cape Cod, saw increased attendance from last year's event, according to NEPC Executive Director Laura Sullivan.
While she didn't have the final numbers, she told The Produce News Thursday, Sept. 22 during the expo, "We think we'll have over a thousand attendees." About 125 exhibitors from all over the country exhibited this year, she added.
"We had positive responses from the attendees and the retailers," said Sullivan. "All of the New England retailers were in attendance as well as some retailers from outside the region."
The expo began Wednesday, Sept. 21, with a presentation by Tom Stenzel, president and chief executive officer of United Fresh Produce Association, who delivered the keynote address, titled, "We're Driving a Fresh Revolution."
Stenzel began his presentation by noting that produce can boast three great attributes: it's the key to good health, it has great taste and it's convenient. The result: "Consumers are choosing our products," he declared.
Stenzel noted that per capita consumption of fresh vegetables has jumped 22.3 percent from 1980, and per capita consumption of fresh has jumped 27.6 percent from 1980, with broccoli, strawberries and Bell peppers leading the way.
The produce industry is benefitting from new channels for fresh fruits and vegetables, he noted, such as convenience stores, which are seeing close to $500 million in produce sales.
But while the produce industry has many positives, the United executive cautioned that there are a number of warning signs, too: labor shortages, water availability, misinformation on food safety, competitive foods pushback and small farm/anti-technology romanticism.
But he also mentioned three reasons for optimism: "The childhood obesity crisis has galvanized understanding of health consequences in a way that long-term chronic disease did not; industry innovation is exploding to meet that challenge; and we're creating a new fresh produce experience for kids."
Stenzel's presentation was followed by a consumer panel on shopping habits specific to produce purchases, moderated by Kevin Coupe, a food industry expert, journalist and author.
That panel was "a great opportunity for the vendors and the retailers to hear directly from the consumers on their likes and dislikes," said Sullivan. "We'll probably build on the consumer panel for next year."
Sullivan also noted that after two years on Cape Cod and one year in Newport, RI, next year's expo will return to the city of Boston. It is scheduled to be held Sept. 12-14 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.
The Nunes Co., marketers of Foxy Organic produce, has entered into a partnership with MegaFood. Foxy will be the exclusive provider of the organic kale used in MegaFood’s reformulated Balanced B Complex. The new product was launched this past week at Expo East, the natural and organic exposition held every year in Baltimore.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Foxy Organic, a brand that we know and trust to produce fresh and high-quality produce for one of our top-selling products,” Stacey Gillespie, MegaFood director of new products, said in a press release. “B Complex vitamins play a very important role in keeping our bodies running like well-oiled machines. It was important for us to identify a passionate partner like Foxy Organic, who would help us enhance the nutritive value of such an essential supplement.”
Balanced B Complex provides a medley of essential B vitamins — namely B1, B2, B6 and B12. The formulation attracts people with an active lifestyle, as well as those who eat a primarily plant-based diet.
“The more we have learned about the growing health and wellness category, it became readily apparent MegaFood is not only a leader in the field, but one of the most transparent organizations we have ever worked with,” Matt Seeley, vice president of marketing for the Nunes Co., said in the release. “Their quality controls throughout the production process are second to none, evidenced by the fact live cameras are operational and available 24/7 for consumers to see via their website.”
The Foxy Organic and MegaFood partnership is taking tried and trusted Balanced B Complex to the next level with the inclusion of the highest quality organic green kale available.
Uesugi Farms, a year-round supplier of a variety of peppers, including green, red and yellow Bells, mini sweets and hot peppers, is transitioning to harvesting premium-quality peppers from Northern California to Southern California.
With the Northern California pepper harvest coming to a close in the next few weeks, the next location for growing peppers on Uesugi Farms’ calendar is the Coachella Valley, where the plants are strong and the peppers are maturing nicely. Starting in November, Uesugi Farms moves its operations down to Mexico to grow green, red and yellow Bell peppers, mini sweets and hot peppers.
“Being a year-round pepper supplier, the cycle just comes naturally," Pete Aiello, general manager at Uesugi Farms, said in a press release. "Right now we’re getting ready to start the Coachella harvest, where we’ll grow bells and minis. In November, we head to Mexico to grow the full gamut of peppers, which includes all the Bells, minis and hot varieties. The Coachella harvest starts again from May through July where we’ll continue growing our Bells and minis. Some overlapping will happen, since we also grow all our varieties in Bakersfield and Oxnard in June, July and part of August. We then move to Hollister, Morgan Hill, Brentwood, Lodi and Gilroy for the Northern California harvest, which starts in July and could run all the way into November if the weather cooperates.”
Growing, harvesting and shipping peppers year-round is nothing new for Uesugi Farms, since they’ve been on a 365-day schedule since 1998. Thanks to adding more farms throughout the years to increase acreage and harvest new varieties, Uesugi Farms supplies a wide, annual variety of peppers, which includes green, red and yellow Bells, mini sweets, Anaheim, Caribe, Fresno, Ghost, Habanero, Hungarian, Jalapeño, Poblano, Serrano and Shishito.
Uesugi Farms expects another successful harvest in Southern California. Once Uesugi Farms completes its harvest in Coachella Valley, it’ll begin growing peppers again in Mexico.
In addition to peppers, Uesugi Farms grows and sells tomatillos, white and yellow sweet corn, Napa cabbage, strawberries, pumpkins, squash and beans.
Whole Foods Market is looking for unique products from local growers and producers to feature in its relocating Lexington, PA, store as well as its new South Hills Pittsburgh store. Across the United States, Whole Foods Market stores source from more than 6,500 local suppliers.
Whole Foods Market defines local products as grown or produced within 100 miles of a store, or within the same state as a store. The new and relocated stores are seeking a variety of products, including specialty items and produce.
“Whole Foods Market is proud to partner with local producers to offer our customers exciting and innovative artisan products,” said Ben Rose, executive coordinator of purchasing for Whole Foods Market’s mid-Atlantic region. “All of our local producers adhere to the same Quality Standards that we apply throughout the store, which ensures these products are free from artificial colors, flavors, hydrogenated fats and preservatives.”
The South Hills store is scheduled to open in early 2017, and the relocated Lexington store is scheduled to open in spring of 2017. Interested suppliers can submit information online at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/malocal. The submission deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 12.