Payment protection for produce sellers

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Canadian Horticultural Council applauded the commitment made Wednesday by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair to introduce payment protection for produce farmers and sellers similar to the trust protection offered by the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act in the United States.

“The produce industry is grateful for the NDP’s leadership to resolve this long-standing issue and trade irritant,” CPMA President Ron Lemaire said in a press release. “This commitment demonstrates they understand the risks that fresh fruit and vegetable sellers face and the importance of ensuring strong, equitable financial protection tools.”

The lack of payment protection in Canada is the No. 1 issue for fresh fruit and vegetable growers and sellers across Canada for the upcoming federal election. The industry has long advocated for a PACA-like trust in Canada. The highly perishable nature of fresh produce makes the industry uniquely vulnerable during bankruptcies, risking financial ruin for those affected. The situation became more urgent when the United States revoked Canada’s preferential access to PACA protections on Oct. 1, 2014, making exporting a much riskier enterprise for Canadian companies, who currently send 40 percent of all produce grown in Canada to the United States.

U.S. produce sellers have PACA, which ensures that growers and sellers are paid should a buyer go bankrupt or simply refuse to pay for the product they receive. The U.S. revoked Canada’s special access due to its lack of similar trust protection and the lack of progress in fulfilling the Regulatory Cooperation Council commitment to establishing a comparable approach in Canada.

Since Oct. 1, Canadian companies trying to recover unpaid bills have had to post a bond of double the value of their claim to use PACA. Many cannot afford this and simply have to walk away from what they are owed, a decision several have already had to make even through winter with few Canadian shipments. As summer passes, the industry expects to see a much larger impact.

With this announcement, the NDP has shown it recognizes the importance of fruit and vegetable producers to providing fresh, healthy food to Canadians.  An NDP government would introduce a payment protection program for produce growers like PACA that will allow sellers to maintain an ownership trust until payment has been received. It will also negotiate with the U.S. to restore Canada’s privileged access to PACA protections. Produce sellers would have the protection they need, without any cost to government. Further details on the plan can be found here:  
"CPMA and CHC are very pleased to see the NDP moving the issue forward in the lead up to the coming election," the organizations said in a press release. "We welcome other parties to show their support of Canada’s produce industry by making this issue a priority in their platforms. A limited statutory deemed trust is a no-cost solution and the most effective means to resolve the issue. Other options would result in high cost to both sellers and government, while still providing ineffective protection. The industry looks forward to hearing more from other parties on this critical issue to support those who bring fresh fruits and vegetables to our tables every day."

“Canada’s produce industry has had to deal with a lack of a deemed trust in Canada for far too long,” CHC Executive Vice-President Anne Fowlie said in the release. “We applaud the NDP for being the first party to commit to financial protection for produce growers and sellers.”

AFM fall promotions focus on football, food and fun

Avocados From Mexico, the No. 1 selling avocado in the United States, announced its fresh new fall promotions for both the general and Hispanic markets. In addition to working with major partners, AFM will be capitalizing on the popular American tradition of tailgating, as well as Fiestas Patrias celebrations with guacamole-focused campaigns designed to drive consumption of avocados From Mexico.TastiestTailgate POS Mockup v6

“Whether it’s a touchdown or a special holiday, our fall campaigns focus on the foods we love to share when we’re celebrating with family and friends,” Alvaro Luque, president of Avocados From Mexico, said in a press release. “Big-name partnerships, creative displays, consumer incentives and retail contests as well as event and ad support will help increase sales of the always-in-season avocados From Mexico during this crucial period.”

Fiestas Patrias Guacamoments

Coinciding with Fiestas Patrias and Hispanic Heritage Month, AFM and Coca-Cola will provide Hispanic shoppers meal solutions at a great value to make the holiday celebration special with family and friends. Appealing to the Nueva Latina, authentic guacamoments are all about food and fun.

Running Aug. 30-Sept. 26, the Fiestas Patrias Guacamoments promotion will include consumer savings along with a variety of Spanish and English lead bilingual point-of-sale materials.

Tastiest Tailgate

From Sept. 15 through Oct. 31, AFM and national partner RO*TEL will get consumers excited about football season with the Tastiest Tailgate promotion. The promotion will be centered around the quick and delicious Rockin’ Guac recipe. Utilizing the trendy “Speed Scratch” method, Rockin’ Guac is prepared with avocados From Mexico, RO*TEL Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies and other fresh produce ingredients. The success of this campaign last year proves that consumers can’t get enough of the convenience, freshness and homemade quality of Rockin’ Guac.

Supported by consumer incentives, advertising and unique merchandising, this campaign also provides the opportunity for retailers to win big prizes for creativity in the display contest. In addition, the Tastiest Tailgate will be featured on an electronic billboard in Times Square in New York City and will go on the road with the Tailgate Tour visiting six college football tailgate events.

Turbana and Food City partner on record-breaking pineapple display

Turbana and a long-standing retail partner, Food City, announced the success of their joint summer event, World’s Largest Pineapple Display. The record-breaking interactive promotion leveraged social media, in-store activations and a show-stopping display that housed 18 tons of Fyffes Gold pineapples, supplied by Turbana.

Breaking the world record that was set by Reasor’s Foods in Bixby, OK, on Oct. 31, 2012, the Food City produce team used 14,700 pineapples to erect an exhibit inside the Euclid Avenue Food City in Bristol, VA.IMG 0647Produce personnel at the Food City in Bristol, VA, working diligently to construct what would become the world’s largest pineapple display, which utilized 14,700 Fyffes Gold pineapples. The team worked through the night to debut their massive creation on the morning of Tuesday, June 30, when the store opened at 6 a.m.

In an effort to fully immerse shoppers in the record-breaking experience, Turbana and Food City launched a social media campaign across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, which reached over 14 million people within four days. The World’s Largest Pineapple Pinterest Board was created, and a pineapple Twitter party gave 120 participating shoppers an extra way to connect with their favorite retailer, while sharing summer pineapple recipes with seven nationally recognized food bloggers, Food City and Turbana.

Throughout the social media campaign, over 5,000 shoppers within the Food City market area connected with the retailer and Turbana through one-on-one personal interactions across Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

In store, shoppers snapped selfies in front of the display throughout the event and posted pictures with the hashtag “#pineappleworldrecord” to win free Fyffes pineapples for the rest of the summer.  

Mike Tipton, director of produce and floral operations, said, “The store had a tremendous week in sales, and extra excitement with the customer interaction surrounding the Fyffes pineapple display.”

During the promotion, store traffic increased by more than 10 percent compared to the same week last year, and pineapple sales were at an all-time high.

 “At Turbana, we strive to go above and beyond in our involvement with our retail partners and their communities,” Scott DiMartini, vice president of sales at Turbana, said in a press release. “K-VA-T and Food City share in this philosophy, which is one of many reasons why we consider them to be such a strong and dependable partner. The WLPD event presented a fun and unique platform to encourage consumer interaction, increase community engagement, and showcase a record-breaking display with top-quality product. We would like to thank Food City for their support, especially Mike Tipton, director of produce, and his entire staff for their efforts. Mike’s vision and our mutual dedication for each other’s business allowed us to execute this event, top to bottom.”

Envy outperforms apple category, JAZZ shines

Envy apples are living up to their name, by posting dollar sales and volume growth other apple varieties can only wish for.

Freshlook Data indicates that in the first half of 2015, Envy delivered 20 percent higher dollar sales than in the same period last year, while also increasing in volume sold by 36 percent. Meanwhile, the apple category as a whole has dropped 13 percent in dollar sales and 8 percent in per-pound volume.Envy-display-at-retail

The Envy phenomenon is driven not only by the apple’s sweet, crisp character, but also retailer support balanced with remarkable consumer demand, David Nelley, executive director of The Oppenheimer Group’s apple, pear and cherry categories, said in a press release.

“Envy is proving its value to the produce department’s bottom line,” he said. “It’s in the top 15 for total dollars sold in the U.S. when compared with all apple varieties, which is pretty astonishing considering that volumes remain limited and the apple has been around for just three years. U.S. retailers who visited New Zealand to see the harvest told growers that in some cases Envy is their highest performing variety. They’re glad to introduce it to their customers as a category driver.”

While Envy is making a statement in the apple category throughout the United States, the Southeast, Midwest and California are showing the best results.

Nelley noted that Envy’s powerful social media engagement, including nearly 17,000 likes on Facebook, has been another useful barometer of the apple’s success.

“Envy is capturing people’s imaginations," he said. "Once they have tried it, they can’t wait to enjoy it again and share it with friends and family. Because Envy is not available year round, the pent up demand at the start of the season is overwhelming."

To that end, the Envy website,, features a locator tool that encourages consumers to interact with one another to find the apples in their communities. Envy is available from New Zealand late June through September and Washington late October through March, with export markets in Asia taking about half of the Washington-grown volume.

Another Enza variety, the JAZZ apple, also performed admirably in the first six months of 2015. JAZZ continues to enjoy a well-established position as a “top 10” apple, sitting at No. 9 for both dollar and volume sales for all apples during the period. Looking at premium apples only, JAZZ ranks No. 3 in both.

“JAZZ is unmatched for year-round consistent pressure and flavor due to the controlled year-round production managed by Enza in the U.S., New Zealand and Chile,” Nelley said. “Its tangy-sweet flavor, unparalleled crunch in the summer, and endurance on the shelf give it advantages over other varieties. While Envy is turning heads right now, JAZZ continues to be an apple retailers stock confidently as a year-round staple.”

Mucci Farms adding Naked Leaf lettuce

Mucci Farms, a leading greenhouse grower based in Kingsville, ON, was set to harvest its first Ontario-grown Naked Leaf lettuce in late July.naked leaf collage rev4

Hydroponically grown and harvested with the roots still intact, Naked Leaf is alive and growing when purchased, which provides added value for both retailer and consumer with their longer shelf life, greater freshness, flavor and leaf color than regular lettuce heads.

The Naked Leaf products are packaged with the roots intact – the roots rest in a soil plug and small plastic cup, which provides a lifeline with continued nourishment.

Consumers will have the benefit of crisp, vitamin-packed fresh leaves for longer.

The Naked Leaf Green Butter Head variety has a delicate crisp, mild sweet flavor and can be used for salads or lettuce wraps.

Naked Leaf living lettuce will be available in a variety of pack sizes, including single and double clamshells as well as individual sleeves with handle. Retail ready displays will also be available. 

Ontario-grown Naked Leaf living herbs, including basil, watercress, and arugula, will soon be available in two- and four-ounce sleeves.