PHILADELPHIA — If Philadelphia isn’t a Mexican border town, then your produce industry chart needs an update.
More than 20 members of Mexico’s produce industry were in Philadelphia June 14-16 to see firsthand what this port has to offer in handling and distributing their precious cargo that can now arrive by sea.
The Mexican Inbound Trade Mission was hosted by the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority. Also involved in the meeting were government representatives and regional industry members who have been active in the Ship Philly First effort to create an ocean link between the east coast of Mexico and Philadelphia, which is a seaport specializing in fresh produce trade.
The refrigerated container steamship company SeaLand stepped up to link Mexico and Philadelphia through its new SL Atlantico Northbound weekly service, which began in late January. While there is certainly room for growth, all indications are that the route has a strong start.
Fresh Mexican produce is the primary target for the northbound service, but frozen meats and chilled foods are other key products that suit Atlantico Northbound. Dry goods, such as auto parts and many other commodities have access to the service. In broad numbers, Pennsylvania and Mexico have two-way trade with one another with a total value of $8 billion.
This new ocean freight option gives Mexican exporters a less-expensive alternative for reaching the populous eastern United States and Canada. Forty percent of the U.S. population is within a one-day truck delivery of Philadelphia.
The Mexican produce exporters located south and east of Mexico City have been tagged as having the most to gain through this ocean freight vs. trucking through Nogales or Texas.
SeaLand sails from Veracruz on Tuesdays to make a stop in Altamira, which is another port further north on the Gulf of Mexico coast in the state of Veracruz. The ship then departs for Philadelphia and arrives the following Wednesday, six days later.
After a well-attended opening reception June 14, the trade mission followed with a formal presentation session hosted by Sean Mahoney, director of marketing for the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority. There was an afternoon tour to see either Lucca Cold Storage or Mullica Hill Cold Storage in New Jersey. A tour of the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market was scheduled for June 16, along with one-on-one business meetings and a tour of Philadelphia’s Pier 82 and the Gloucester Marine Terminal in Gloucester City, NJ.
Mahoney credited Fred Sorbello, the first president of Ship Philly First, for stirring the initial effort for this service. And he acknowledged Carlos Giralt, Philadelphia’s Mexican Consul, for playing a key role in connecting the final deal.
In crediting the success of this effort, among others, Mahoney also acknowledged the roles Tom Krajewski, SeaLand’s head of refrigerated sales; Larry Antonucci, the current president of Ship Philly First; and Dominic O’Brien, the PRPA’s senior marketing representative, who performed the background work to create the ocean link.
D’Arrigo Bros. will be featured in a half-hour special, "Above and Beyond: Inspiring People in Our Community," which will air on WABC–TV in New York on Saturday evening June 25 from 7 to 7:30 p.m. The segment will focus on D’Arrigo’s longtime support of Sister Elisabeth Anne, a 77-year-old Catholic Nun, with the Little Sisters of the Poor.
As they have done each week since Sister Elisabeth Anne’s first visit in the 1970s, workers at D’Arrigo Bros. loaded her van with hundreds of pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables to bring back to the 80 impoverished residents in her care at the Queen of Peace Residence in Middle Village Queens. Sister Elisabeth Anne said the residents range in age from 68 to 103, and nine of the residents are over 100 years old.
“She thanks us each week for helping to care for those in need, but it is we who are thankful that we are blessed to be able take part in her incredible acts of giving and loving kindness,” Michael D’Arrigo, vice president of D’Arrigo Bros. New York, said in a press release. “It is inspiring to witness Sister Elisabeth Anne do so much for so many for so long and to realize that her actions are aiding those most fragile in our society.”
“The kindness of the D’Arrigo family throughout my four decade relationship with them has allowed me to provide nutritious meals to the needy," Sister Elisabeth Anne said in the release. "The D’Arrigo family and their caring workers have become like family to me and make sure that any request I make on behalf of the needy is met.”
Sister Elisabeth Anne said at 77 years of age, the task of providing for the impoverished is very challenging, but the warm embracing welcome that she receives from the D’Arrigo family and their workers provides her the strength to go back week after week. Their kindness, she said, keeps her going, and more importantly allows her to provide a safety net for her very vulnerable residents.
Despite the influx of information about dietary fats becoming available to consumers nationwide, a new survey by the Hass Avocado Board revealed that many Americans are still unclear about the definition and impact of “good” and “bad” fats.
In a survey of more than 2,000 adults, more than a third (36 percent) incorrectly thought that all fats play a role in increased cholesterol levels, compared to 42 percent of respondents in 2014. Respondents categorized as millennials (aged 18-35) may feel more educated today about which foods to eat and which to avoid (66 percent), but they also incorrectly indicated that saturated fats are considered good fats (21 percent), up 7 percent from 2014.
While some progress has been made over the past two years, there’s still work to be done to educate consumers.
“Today’s consumer knows that there’s a difference between good fats and bad fats, but they can’t yet make the distinction,” Emiliano Escobedo, executive director of the Hass Avocado Board, said in a press release. “This tells us that more education is needed to help differentiate these types of fats, and identify the role they play in our diets and the impact they have on our health.”
The millennial divide
The survey indicated that there’s a hunger for healthy choices. Millennials try hardest (71 percent) among the overall population (67 percent) to make some or a strong effort to eat more foods high in good fats.
Millennials also said they feel more educated today about which foods to eat and which to avoid, (66 percent) vs. the entire population (62 percent).
Encouragingly, more than three-quarters of overall respondents (82 percent) said they’re paying attention to this type of information. But this doesn’t equate to understanding.
Understanding good vs. bad fats
Despite this level of confidence, there are still an alarming number of misconceptions. One in five people mistakenly thought that trans fats are good fats. The millennial group responded similarly, at 22 percent.
Recognizing health benefits
Millennials (63 percent) trail behind the overall population (72 percent) in believing a positive impact of including good fats in their diets is the lowering of bad cholesterol. Even fewer millennials (61 percent) feel including good fats reduces the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Identifying sources of good fats
And while most respondents were fairly adept at indicating that nuts (76 percent), salmon (74 percent), olive oil (69 percent) and avocados (68 percent) contain good fats, millennials haven’t quite caught on (71 percent, 65 percent, 59 percent and 65 percent, respectively).
Specifically, more Hispanics (73 percent) know that avocados are a good source of fat than the population at large.
According to the 2015-20 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, small shifts in food choices can make a big difference, such as a shift from solid fats like those found in trans fats and saturated fats, to oils, like the oil in fresh avocados.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration confirms that saturated and trans fats raise LDL (or bad) cholesterol levels in the blood, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. That’s why it’s advisable to choose foods that have good (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fats as part of a healthful diet.
Sources of naturally good fats
Avocados are virtually the only fruit with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, or good fats. In fact, over 75 percent of the fat in avocados is good fat that acts as a nutrient booster by helping to increase the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients. They are also cholesterol free and do not raise LDL, or bad, cholesterol.
"Fresh avocado contributes naturally good fats to one’s diet, and is a wholesome, delicious and satisfying swap in an individual’s healthy eating plan for foods high in saturated fats,” Nikki Ford, director of nutrition at the HAB, added in the press release. “We are committed to continuing to educate Americans about the health benefits of this fruit — and good fats in general — until consumers can easily identify good fat types and their benefits.”
Avocados From Mexico, the No. 1 selling avocado in the United States, is launching its first breakfast-focused campaign, the Avocado Breakfast Club, which leverages the back-to-school timeframe to provide busy moms with easy, nutritious and balanced breakfast solutions that include avocados.
AFM’s participation in the eat brighter! movement, which focuses on the nutritional value of fresh produce, is the perfect tie-in to help drive awareness and inspire nutritious eating habits.
“The breakfast market is a $65 billion industry and is projected to grow in value to $83 billion in the next eight years,” Alvaro Luque, president and chief executive officer for AFM, said in a press release. “With consumers’ increasing concern for nutrition, combined with hectic schedules, retailers have an opportunity to appeal to shoppers by offering more fresh options like Avocados From Mexico that work well for breakfast.”
Avocado Breakfast Club will be running from July 18 through Aug. 30, 2016, when kids are getting ready to go back to school and adjust to a new routine.
Studies show that students who eat breakfast have improved math scores, attendance, punctuality and decreased anxiety, depression and hyperactivity. So, as breakfast is extremely important for children, this campaign aims to inspire parents to incorporate fresh and nutritious choices, including avocados, into their family’s morning meal.
Avocado Breakfast Club will appeal to shoppers with eye-catching and colorful eat brighter! co-branded bins and point-of-sale materials featuring Sesame Street characters. The campaign will also be supported by retail-specific programming, such as loyalty coupons, ads, demos and display contests, as well as in-store radio and digital/social media. Supermarket registered dietitians will be provided digital tools to align with the program as well.
To learn more about this and other marketing and promotional activities, visit the Avocados From Mexico Facebook page, facebook.com/AvocadosFromMexico or website, Trade.AvocadosFromMexico.com.
Ocean Mist Farms is harvesting significant volumes of Kalettes just in time for summer cooking events.
“We have a great crop now and we are excited to be able to meet customer demand,” Diana McClean, director of marketing said in a press release.
The company is shipping bulk Kalettes as well as packaged in the company’s award-winning Season and Steam microwaveable bag.
Introduced in 2014, Kalettes are a marriage between Brussels sprouts and kale, which created a super food that is easy to prepare and very versatile.
Kalettes are a colorful combination of green and purple. Each “kale sprout” is hand harvested and may vary in size due to how they are grown on the plant stalk.
For more information about Ocean Mist Farms and its products, visit http://www.oceanmist.com/.