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Chiquita terminates Fyffes merger, in discussion with Cutrale/Safra Group

Chiquita Brands International Inc. announced that its shareholders have not approved the revised transaction agreement with Fyffes plc. In early March, the two companies announced plans for a $1 billion merger, but at this point the transaction agreement has been terminated.

Chiquita now expects to enter into discussions with the Cutrale/Safra Group regarding a revised offer to acquire all of the outstanding stock of Chiquita for $14.50 per in cash. This is an increase from the previously rejected offers of $13 and $14 per share.

"We appreciate the consideration and perspectives of all Chiquita shareholders who participated in this process," Edward F. Lonergan, president and chief executive officer of Chiquita, said in a press release. "Given today's results, we have determined to terminate the agreement with Fyffes and to engage with Cutrale/Safra regarding its revised offer."

Chiquita noted that no definitive agreement with Cutrale/Safra has been reached and there can be no assurances that any transaction will result from these discussions. The company said it does not expect to update the market with any further information unless and until the board has reached a final decision.

"I want to thank David McCann and the entire Fyffes team for their efforts throughout this process," Lonergan said in the release. "While we are convinced they would have been a strong merger partner, we will now go forward as competitors. We would also like to express our gratitude to Chiquita's employees for their hard work and dedication on behalf of Chiquita and our customers."


CAC announced retail contest winners at PMA Fresh Summit

At the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit, held Oct. 17-19 in Anaheim, CA, the California Avocado Commission announced the retailer winners from its 2014 5-Star Performance Program.

CAC also hosted supermarket registered dietitians as part of the Produce for Better Health Foundation program, held a brunch for retailers and highlighted the significance of the California avocado label.

Participants in CAC’s 5-Star Performance program earned points toward prizes by conducting or participating in various marketing activities that supported California avocados.Save-Mart--CAC-2014-2Retailers and members of the California Avocado Commissioin gathered at the CAC booth during the PMA Fresh Summit in Anaheim, CA.

The contest grand prize was awarded to Save Mart and accepted by Jim Corby, senior director of customer solutions-produce. Other top winners were Sprouts Farmers Market, Stater Bros., Northwest Grocers, Albertsons Southern California and Nugget Markets. In total, 23 retailers earned prizes in the contest.

“I’d like to congratulate all of the winners and participants of the California Avocado Commission’s 5-Star Performance Program and thank them for contributing to a successful 2014 season,” Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the commission, said in a press release. “Many of the prize-winning retailers visited CAC’s PMA Fresh Summit booth and had a good time selecting their rewards on the spot.”

Another highlight of the California Avocado Commission Fresh Summit program was its platinum sponsorship of the PBH SRD tour on Saturday, Oct. 18.

More than 20 SRDs visited CAC’s booth to learn about California avocados, the California avocado label and avocado nutrition. Registered Dietitian Katie Ferraro showed the SRDs how they could conduct demos of an easy, nutritious snack recipe, California Avocado Cucumber Cups.

After their expo visits, the SRDs traveled with CAC and PBH staff to Rancho Mission Viejo for an avocado grove tour and dinner featuring the sponsors’ fresh produce.

On Oct. 19, CAC hosted a brunch for retailers in its Fresh Summit booth. Showcasing how California avocados are perfect for breakfast and snacking, the commission served California Avocado Blueberry Muffins and guest Chef/RD Michelle Dudash’s California Avocado Breakfast Casserole with Spinach and Sweet Potatoes. Avocado ale served with the brunch dishes was a well-received addition.

On days of the expo, Dudash shared nutrition tips and samples of California avocado dishes she developed. CAC’s exhibit focused on the story behind the new California avocado label and the care and craftsmanship that goes into cultivating California avocados.

“The turnout for this year’s PMA Fresh Summit was outstanding and we really enjoy having the opportunity to showcase our product and programs in California,” DeLyser added in the press release. “We’re very pleased with the opportunities CAC had to meet with retailer executives, supermarket dietitians, the media, growers and peers in the produce industry.”

Pear Bureau Northwest launches fresh consumer advertising

Pear Bureau Northwest is launching a new consumer advertising campaign this season, using print ads to help boost pear consumption and increase the total number of pear consumers. Ads for USA Pears will be featured in Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Weight Watchers magazine and Food Network magazine, reaching more than 20 million in combined circulation.USAPEARS-WantItSweet-v1

Running from October 2014 through the end of February 2015, the campaign emphasizes the importance of ripening with the tagline: "Want it sweet? Check the neck to know it's ripe."

The colorful, striking ad creative features fresh pears replacing typical dessert offerings, with a Green Anjou pear on an ice cream cone, a Red Anjou pear in a cupcake paper and a Bosc pear on a cake stand. The bright artwork emphasizes the appeal of fresh pears and gives the campaign an iconic feel. Readers will learn more about ripening at the bottom of the ad, with a call to visit for recipes.

"Our research has shown that we've increased the number of shoppers who know how to tell when a pear is ripe, which is the key to flavor," Kevin D. Moffitt, president and chief executive officer of Pear Bureau Northwest, based in Portland, OR, said in a press release. "We're continuing to expand upon that success with this advertising campaign, which will attract and excite consumers, inspire healthier choices and increase pear consumption."

This campaign replaces previous creative that ran for three seasons in a successful campaign through various print and digital ads. Expanding upon that initial success, the current campaign will run for three to five years in print magazines as well as online in digital ads. The campaign targets the typical pear consumer: women aged 25-54 with average household incomes of $50,000 or more, who may or may not have children.

Bailey Farms recalls Serrano peppers due to risk of Salmonella

Bailey Farms Inc. in Oxford, NC, is voluntarily recalling 6,215 pounds of fresh Serrano chile peppers due to a risk of Salmonella contamination.

The peppers were distributed to Meijer Inc. and may have been sold between Oct. 14 and Oct. 19 at Meijer stores in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

In addition, the peppers were distributed to Publix Super Markets Inc., Merchants Distributors Inc., Walmart, Food Lion, Flavor 1st Growers & Packers, U.S. Foods, Military Produce Group LLC., C&S Wholesalers, John Vena Inc. and Harris Teeter.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

A random sample was taken Oct. 13 by the Michigan Department of Agriculture from a warehouse in Lansing, MI. Bailey Farms received notice that the sample tested positive for Salmonella on Oct. 20. This recall is the result of the possibility that the remainder of these lots could be contaminated with this bacteria.

The Food & Drug Administration is working with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services to investigate the root cause of the potential contamination.

Bailey Farms has notified all of their customers who have purchased fresh Serrano chile peppers during the period in question.

Live Oak Farms appoints Ed Beckman to newly created COO position

Live Oak Farms announced that Ed Beckman has joined the company as its new chief operating officer, a newly created position that will foster the strategic growth of the family-owned grower-shipper of tomatoes and peppers.Live-Oak-Logo

For over 20 years, Beckman led associations representing the California fresh tomato industry, most recently as chief executive officer for California Tomato Farmers, where he championed the development of programs that resulted in cutting-edge food-safety standards for field-grown tomatoes, expanding the presence of California’s fresh tomato industry in export markets, and secured supply partnerships with leading foodservice and supermarket chains.

“Live Oak Farms is a multigenerational farming operation that’s committed to excellence, and Ed’s vision and demonstrated ability to successfully navigate the rapidly changing market forces of the fresh produce industry will position Live Oak Farms for growth to the benefit of our customers, employees and the next generation of our farming family,” Bob Giampaoli, Live Oak Farms CEO and a third-generation farmer, said in a press release.

In the newly created position, Beckman will initially focus on the creation of new initiatives to support future growth across Live Oak’s tomato and pepper operations.

Beckman had been involved with Live Oak while he serving as CEO of the grower organizations that Live Oak was a member of.

“I’ve witnessed for many years the passion that the Giampaoli family has for farming, their commitment to excellence and their giving back to the community," Beckman said in the release. "I’m thrilled to work alongside Bob and the family as we work together on making a great company even better in the years ahead”.

Beckman joined Live Oak Farms in mid-October from Certified Greenhouse Farmers, where he served as CEO.