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Ready Pac Foods is celebrating fall with the launch of two limited-edition products: Pumpkin Spice Bistro Bowl single-serve salad and Autumn Harvest Complete Salad Kit. The two new offerings give consumers the indulgent, autumn flavors they are looking for in a healthier, convenient way.pumpkin

“We know consumers look forward to indulging in pumpkin spice flavored foods during the fall, but this often means a sugary or sweet treat,” Tristan Simpson, chief marketing officer of Ready Pac Foods, said in a press release. “Our culinary team crafted craveably fresh options to give consumers something healthier to enjoy, but still delight in the flavors of the season.”

The Pumpkin Spice Bistro Bowl single-serve salad is a blend of harvest spring mix, roasted turkey, raisins, pepitas and dates, topped off with a light pumpkin vinaigrette with a hint of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. This new Bistro Bowl variety brings consumers into the new season with all of their senses and in a healthy way. With 11 grams of protein and four grams of fiber, the flavorful salad is only 330 calories and perfect for an on-the-go meal at a game, on a hike or in the office.

The Autumn Harvest Complete Salad Kit, is a blend of spring mix and carrots, topped with crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds, diced dates, raisins and pumpkin-spiced cornbread croutons, all dressed with a tangy pumpkin vinaigrette. This chef-inspired, restaurant-style salad kit fulfills consumers’ craving for an indulgent, holiday- flavored salad. This salad kit is perfect as a side dish at your fall dinner party or tailgate at the game. For a more satisfying option, simply add roasted turkey for a quick meal.

The Pumpkin Spice Bistro Bowl is available in more than 3,000 locations nationwide through mid-December at a suggested retail price of $3.99. The Autumn Harvest Salad Kit is available at Costco stores nationwide through the end of October for a suggested retail price of $3.99.

The University of Minnesota has chosen Rave as the brand name for fruit sold from the University’s newest apple variety, MN55, which Stemilt Growers holds the license to grow, pack, and market in North America.Rave-Apple

Rave was selected as the brand name for this apple to play off of the apple’s many exciting attributes, including its incredible crunch and juicy flavor, as well as its unique position as the first apple to ripen in Washington state, coming off the tree in late July.

“We are beyond excited about the chosen brand name of our newest star apple,” Roger Pepperl, marketing director for Wenatchee, WA-based Stemilt Growers, said in a press release. “The Rave apple has explosive flavor and with its early harvest timing and dessert qualities, it will reinvent the month of August for the apple category. We look forward to bringing small volumes of Rave apples to market in 2017.” 

The highest quality fruit from MN55 trees will go to market from Stemilt growers as Rave apples beginning in summer 2017. MN55 is a variety that was born back in 1997 at the University of Minnesota’s exceptional apple-breeding program, the same place that the now national phenomenon Honeycrisp heralds from. It’s a cross between Honeycrisp and an unreleased variety called MonArk.Roger-PepperlRoger Pepperl

With similar, yet more defined, flavor and quality attributes as Honeycrisp combined with MonArk’s ability to ripen early yet color well and maintain a crisp, juicy texture through the summer heat, Stemilt believes Rave apples will be the next standout in the produce department.

The journey to develop a new apple cultivar is not a quick process and requires great efforts. During the 17 years from original breeding to the final release and licensing of MN55 to Stemilt, the University of Minnesota conducted rigorous testing to ensure that the variety was of high enough quality to be commercially released. This process included five to six years of testing at multiple locations across the United States. Together with Stemilt, the University of Minnesota landed on Rave as the brand name for the apple earlier this summer.

“Rave is a powerful brand name for apples, and one that we know will leave a lasting impression on consumers, especially after they bite into one,” David Bedford, research scientist for the University of Minnesota apple breeding program, said in the press release. “Rave joins our breeding program’s other success stories, Honeycrisp and SweeTango, and helps us meet our goal of bringing excitement to consumers as they shop for apples.”

Rave is also another chapter in Stemilt’s story of bringing innovative products to market. The company successfully introduced its signature apple, Piñata!, to the marketplace back in 2009, and also supplies the West Coast with the university’s popular SweeTango apple.

“We are constantly seeking new apple varieties with flavors and qualities that will wow the consumer,” said Pepperl. “It’s all about building fruit fans of tomorrow, and Rave certainly has the ‘wow’ factor to do just that. We can’t wait to bring this phenomenal apple into stores next August.”

Stemilt is now in the process of developing a logo and packaging for Rave apples, and expects to unveil a look later this year.  

Whole Foods Market announced that Angela Lorenzen has been named regional president of the company’s Pacific Northwest region.whoeele

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.nepc3860-4617-600-450-80NEPC President Anthony Sattler of C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. with Bob McGowan of Northeast Produce Sales and advisor to the NEPC Executive Committee.

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.IMG 1769 Matt Seeley of the Nunes Co. flanked by Jean Lizotte and Carol Billings of MegaFoods.

“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.