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The board of directors of the Fruit Exporters Association of Chile, commonly known as ASOEX, has joined forces with the Fundacion Desafio Levantemos Chile in relief efforts connected to recent fires that affected thousands of people in Chile. The organizations will work together to rebuild houses and support infrastructure in areas of greatest need following the fires.

During a recent board meeting, ASOEX confirmed a financial contribution of three pesos per box exported during the 2015-16 season, for an estimated total of $600,000.

"Our industry saw a great need to reach out and support our fellow Chileans in the aftermath of the fires," Ronald Bown, chairman of the board of ASOEX, said in a press release. "Although much more is needed, we hope that our contribution will provide some assistance with relief efforts."

The regions most affected by the fires are Maule, Bío Bío, O’Higgins, Metropolitana, Araucanía and Valparaiso, with total affected area of around 600,000 hectares.

According to information provided by the National Forestry Corp., of the 44 forest fires that had been active nationally, 38 are under control, three are still burning and three have been extinguished. Impact to the fresh fruit industry was less than other sectors. The most affected in our industry was the destruction of a fruit packinghouse in the town of Chepica.

ASOEX has opened an account specifically for fire relief donations. For more information on how to make a donation, please see below:

  • Account in USD
  • Name: Fundación imagina, pequenos negocios grandes emprendedores
  • Bank: Banco de Chile
  • Branch: Central
  • Address: Ahumada No.251, Santiago, Chile.
  • SWIFT Code: BCHICLRM
  • Beneficiary account: 05-000-98027-01

Further questions can be directed to ASOEX Secretary General Edmundo Araya at earaya@asoex.cl.

Homegrown Organic Farms has launched a new merchandising option to better promote its recently announced freeze-dried organic fruit line, including freeze-dried organic blueberries, grapes and apples. The display shipper offers great impulse sales opportunities for any aisle or department.FD-Shipper-Image

“We want to give our customers options for merchandising this new snack line," Cherie France, Homegrown Organic Farms’ marketing manager, said in a press release. "We realize shelf-space is at a premium and want to provide other avenues for our customers to succeed with this unique product.”

“The preliminary response we’ve received from both retailers and distributors has been outstanding," Scott Mabs, chief executive officer, said in the release. "We’re excited to be able to bring these new, innovative snacks to market and help retailers provide more nutritious options for consumers to be able to enjoy organic fruit year-round.”

The display comes fully stocked with product and was built to be easily removed from the master case and put out on the retail floor. Back up stock will be provided as needed for refills.

The line currently includes multi-serve pouches of freeze-dried organic apples, freeze-dried organic grapes and freeze-dried organic blueberries. The fruit is all organic, grown in the USA and has a shelf-life of 18 months. The entire line is certified RAW and is Non-GMO project verified.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on seven produce businesses for failure to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:

  • Magnolia Brand Produce Inc., operating out of Vardaman, MS, for failing to pay a $145,210 award in favor of a Mississippi seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Richard E. Bailey was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.

  • Tab Distributors Inc., doing business as Chicago Mushroom & Produce Co., operating out of Carol Stream, IL, for failing to pay a $60,517 award in favor of a Pennsylvania seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Thomas E. Gentile, Anthony T. Gentile and Baloinder S. Grewal were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.

  •  J&R Fresh Produce LLC, operating out of Tampa, FL, for failing to pay a $45,101 award in favor of a Virginia seller.  As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Shaheed Ackbar was listed as a member of the business.

  • United Fresh Produce, operating out of Riverside, CA, for failing to pay a $32,043 award in favor of a California seller.  As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Regina E. Erickson and Barbara J. Jamili were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.

  • Victor Packing Fruit & Produce Inc., operating out of Los Angeles, for failing to pay a $25,427 award in favor of a California seller.  As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Victor Ortiz was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.

  • Sun Valley Enterprise Inc., operating out of Bakersfield, CA, for failing to pay a $7,888 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Gumecindo Ramirez, Rigoberto Sermeno and Everacdo Vargas were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.

  • 999 LLC, operating out of St. Paul, MN, for failing to pay a $4,511 award in favor of a Minnesota seller.  As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Joua Thao was listed as a member of the business.

In the past three years, the USDA resolved approximately 3,500 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. Its experts also assisted more than 8,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $140 million.

The 2017 American Advertising Awards honored Meijer with 10 awards for its creative excellence in advertising, including Best in Show and Judge’s Choice. The American Advertising Federation West Michigan hosted the awards ceremony on Feb. 16.

Meijer was recognized for Beer Frontier, Mmmmeat Thanksgiving, more Meijer, and the holiday Twitter videos. The Meijer holiday commercial Do You See What I See won Best in Show and the Halloween Scary Candy scenes won Judge’s Choice. Both campaigns also won Gold in their respective categories.

“The work that our creative teams and agency partners produce on behalf of Meijer has been outstanding,” Nicole Laughlin, vice president of brand development and marketing for Meijer, said in a press release. “We are thrilled to have our campaigns recognized by the industry; however, we are even prouder that the campaigns resonated so strongly with our customers. To us, our most important judge is the Meijer customer.”

“[Do You See What I See] did it right from start to finish,” said ADDY Awards judge Anthony Atwood about the Best in Show winner. “From the beautiful cinematography [and] the overall way it was shot to the way that the entire story unfolded. It was top notch.”

In addition to being honored with Best in Show and Judge’s Choice, Meijer won the following awards:

  • Gold, Social Media Campaign – Halloween Scary Candy Scenes (Judge’s Choice)
  • Gold, Regional/National TV Commercial Campaign – Do You See What I See (Best in Show)
  • Silver, Microsite – Beer Frontier
  • Silver, Microsite – Mmmmeat Thanksgiving
  • Silver, Photography Campaign – Mmmmeat Thanksgiving
  • Bronze, Social Media Campaign – Holiday Twitter Videos
  • Bronze, Blog – Beer Frontier
  • Bronze, Regional/National TV Commercial Campaign – more Meijer

Green Giant Fresh has been issued a U.S. patent on its Cauliflower Crumbles chopped cauliflower processing method, and a Canadian patent is pending. The company's patented method — comprising elements from processing to packing — maintains the freshness of the products while preventing discoloration and ensuring an optimal shelf life of more than 16 days. These versatile Cauliflower Crumbles products can become a tasty stand-alone side dish, or serve as a healthy ingredient alternative for potatoes or pasta in a variety of starchy dishes.GGF-CC-Line

Following the popularity of Cauliflower Crumbles, the original chopped cauliflower product, Green Giant Fresh rolled out two unique new products effectively creating a Cauliflower Crumbles line.

Cauliflower Crumbles Fried Rice Blend and Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Crumbles are now being distributed nationwide and picking up more momentum as new retailers are stocking these versatile, value-added products.

“Consumers are looking for time-saving alternatives, while staying healthy,” Jennifer Fancher, vice president marketing, said in a press release. “These blends — with all the time-consuming prep work done — promise little to no prep, no mess, no clean-up and no waste. Our cauliflower fried rice blend has just one-fourth the calories of regular fried rice.”

These convenient blends are recipe-ready for roasting, baking, sautéing, mashing or steaming right in their package. All Cauliflower Crumbles products are gluten-free, paleo friendly and can be used in everything from side dishes and salads, to pizza crust and even desserts.