The Packer February 13th, 2017 : A-1

Plenty of berries for Easter Southern California Strawberries, A17 SINCE 1893, THE BUSINESS NEWS SOURCE OF THE PRODUCE INDUSTRY CXXIV, No. 7 FEB. 13, 2017 Family of Brands ProduceRetailer.com ProduceMarketGuide.com thepacker.com/fresh-trends MidwestProducexpo.com West CoastProducexpo.com Vegetable shortage in UK spurs imports from U.S. By Ashley Nickle Staff Writer A weather-induced vegetable shortage in the United Kingdom has prompted some wholesalers and retailers there to turn to U.S. suppliers to meet demand. Iceberg lettuce, broccoli, zuc-chini and eggplant were among the items in shortest supply, but Dieter Lloyd, spokesman for the British Leafy Salads Association, said other commodities have also been difficult to keep in stock. Baby leaf salads, celery, cu-cumbers and radishes were among others “badly affected,” Lloyd said, and peppers, toma-toes and some citrus were also in short supply. “There are fluctuations on a weekly basis,” Lloyd said. “Following the floods in Spain during early December and the subsequent snow and cold spell across southern Europe in Janu-ary, the supply into the U.K. has been between 25% and 50% of what we would normally expect depending on the crop. “In some cases there have been weeks of no supply,” Lloyd said of courgettes (zucchini), spinach and baby leaf lettuce. Anthony Gardiner, market-ing director for U.K. supplier G’s Fresh, said the situation is unprecedented. Dorota Szafalowicz, pro-curement director for G’s, said buying lettuce from the U.S. is a measure the company hasn’t taken often. “We have worked closely with growing partners in the Yuma Valley (Arizona) for a number of years,” Szafalowicz said. “This is the first time in re-cent memory that we have had to enact our contingency sourc-es to this level.” Anthony Mazzuca, senior director of commodity manage-ment for Salinas, Calif.-based Tanimura & Antle, said the Courtesy Cambridge Fruit Co. Neil Bharadwa, managing director of Cambridge Fruit Co., says Tani-mura & Antle romaine hearts and iceberg lettuce were available at Wal-Mart subsidiary Asda the morning of Feb. 9. company has seen a significant increase in demand from its core customers in the U.K. and throughout the European Union, and it has also fielded many in-quiries from other companies. “They’ve been willing to pay a premium,” Mazzuca said. U.S. SUPPLIERS Tanimura & Antle has focused on filling orders for existing cus-tomers, which have bought most of the excess supply the compa-ny had, particularly of iceberg lettuce and romaine hearts. “That really has taken a lot out of that product pile,” Maz-zuca said. Industrywide, not all com-panies have taken advantage of demand in Europe because of ad-ditional requirements, Mazzuca said. But that demand has cleaned up the bottom pricing in the over-all market, allowing companies to see better returns on fields yield-ing more than expected. Salinas-based Growers Ex-press has been shipping iceberg lettuce and broccoli to the U.K., said Lori Bigras, director of mar-keting and communications. The company is shipping about 38% more volume than normal to the U.K. Interest has been up since mid-January and is expected to continue that way through April. “We’ve received inquiries from current, former and now some Courtesy British Leafy Salads Association new customers,” Bigras said. The company has been able to Vegetable displays at a Morrisons store in England were sparsely filled in early February, and signs ad-vised customers that flooding, snow and cold weather in Spain and southern Europe in December and fill about 90% of those requests. January have led to supply shortages of many fresh produce items. Growers Express, which sells “We’re competing with Ger-observation, saying in an e-mail Department of Agriculture Feb. under the Green Giant Fresh label, can have its product on shelves in many, France and even Russia that some wholesalers are sourc-8 for a carton of 24 heads of to import what limited produce ing some of their produce from film-wrapped iceberg lettuce the U.K. in about 72 hours. the U.S. but that the required air were mostly $16-17.50 from “As long as the temperature we can get,” Bharadwa said. “ U s u a l l y travel raises costs dramatically. California’s Imperial Valley chain has not Henry Dill, sales manager for and mostly $19.45-20.55 out of an iceberg let-been compro-tuce costs a Salinas-based Pacific Internation-Western Arizona. mised, this ‘The added busi-retail customer al Marketing, said the company Those prices Jan. 17 were most-product being ness has helped the around £0.50-isn’t shipping to the U.K. but the ly $7-8 and mostly $7.45-8.65. exported to the domestic demand £0.60 (60-75 shortage there has had an effect. For a carton of 12 3-count U.K. takes less “The added business has cents) in a Brit-packages of romaine hearts time — and because it is less ish supermar-helped the domestic demand be-from the Imperial Valley, f.o.b.s could poten-product available ket. Currently cause it is less product available reported Feb. 8 were mostly tially last lon-for the U.S market.’ customers are for the U.S. market,” Dill said. $16.95-18.55, with the same ger — than the Mazzuca said the other factor product out of western Arizona being charged same product HENRY DILL £1.40-£1.50 helping demand for lettuce in going for mostly $13.45-14.65. loading on the PACIFIC ($1.75-1.90) per the U.S. has been large intrusions Those prices Jan. 17 were West Coast of mildew creating quality issues mostly $10-11.25 and mostly with a destina-INTERNATIONAL iceberg lettuce. and resulting in lower yields. produce $10.45-12.56. tion of Texas,” MARKETING The Between that situation and itself isn’t ex-Gardiner said he had seen prod-Bigras said. unusually high demand from pensive but it’s uct in the U.K. from Tanimura & Neil Bha-Europe, prices have firmed up the cost of fly-Antle as well as from Castroville, radwa, man-in the past few weeks. Calif.-based Ocean Mist Farms aging director for U.K. supplier ing it over here.” A representative for U.K. and from Salinas-based Steinbeck Cambridge Fruit Co., said retail PRICES Country Produce, which markets prices there have gone up dra-wholesale market New Covent Garden Market made a similar F.o.b.s reported by the U.S. under the Nature’s Reward label. matically. By Ashley Nickle Staff Writer New York Whole Foods location debuts Produce Butcher counter Shannon Shuman Kevin Moffit (left), president and CEO of Milwaukie, Ore.-based Pear Bureau Northwest, visits with Ulf Richter of Swedish importer Scandinavian Fruit Partners AB Feb. 9 at Fruit Logistica in Berlin. The newest New York City location of Whole Foods Mar-ket includes a Produce Butcher station. Shoppers can bring fruits and vegetables to a counter in the store and have those items cut to their specifications, ac-cording to a news release. A large graphic above that counter encourages customers to pick a cut: julienned, minced, sliced, diced or chopped. Each term on the sign is paired with an illustration to demonstrate how the various cuts differ. The concept appears similar to one debuted in August by St. Cloud, Minn.-based Coborn’s, which opened a location that featured a Chop Shoppe. The sign above that area at Coborn’s tells shoppers, “You pick it. We prep it.” Courtesy Whole Foods Market Whole Foods Market’s newest location in New York features a Produce Butcher station for custom fresh-cut produce. What’s all the buzz about butchering? Produce Retailer editor Pamela R. weighs in Opinion, A8 WHAT’S INSIDE St. Paddy’s spud promo A3 Snack-sized cukes from Bayer A4 STUCK IN THE MUD Rain likely to cause gaps in California citrus CROPS & MARKETS, A11 HANDS-OFF APPROACH Lēf Farms’ greenhouse is fully automated PRODUCE OPS , A13 Sponsors get in gear A6 Time for specialty citrus A7

Vegetable Shortage In UK Spurs Imports From U.S.

Ashley Nickle

A weather-induced vegetable shortage in the United Kingdom has prompted some wholesalers and retailers there to turn to U.S. suppliers to meet demand.

Iceberg lettuce, broccoli, zucchini and eggplant were among the items in shortest supply, but Dieter Lloyd, spokesman for the British Leafy Salads Association, said other commodities have also been difficult to keep in stock.

Baby leaf salads, celery, cucumbers and radishes were among others “badly affected,” Lloyd said, and peppers, tomatoes and some citrus were also in short supply.

“There are fluctuations on a weekly basis,” Lloyd said.

“Following the floods in Spain during early December and the subsequent snow and cold spell across southern Europe in January, the supply into the U.K. has been between 25% and 50% of what we would normally expect depending on the crop.

“In some cases there have been weeks of no supply,” Lloyd said of courgettes (zucchini), spinach and baby leaf lettuce.

Anthony Gardiner, marketing director for U.K. supplier G’s Fresh, said the situation is unprecedented.

Dorota Szafalowicz, procurement director for G’s, said buying lettuce from the U.S. is a measure the company hasn’t taken often.

“We have worked closely with growing partners in the Yuma Valley (Arizona) for a number of years,” Szafalowicz said.

“This is the first time in recent memory that we have had to enact our contingency sources to this level.”

Anthony Mazzuca, senior director of commodity management for Salinas, Calif.-based Tanimura & Antle, said the company has seen a significant increase in demand from its core customers in the U.K. and throughout the European Union, and it has also fielded many inquiries from other companies.

“They’ve been willing to pay a premium,” Mazzuca said.

U. S. SUPPLIERS

Tanimura & Antle has focused on filling orders for existing customers, which have bought most of the excess supply the company had, particularly of iceberg lettuce and romaine hearts.

“That really has taken a lot out of that product pile,” Mazzuca said.

Industrywide, not all companies have taken advantage of demand in Europe because of additional requirements, Mazzuca said. But that demand has cleaned up the bottom pricing in the overall market, allowing companies to see better returns on fields yielding more than expected.

Salinas-based Growers Express has been shipping iceberg lettuce and broccoli to the U.K., said Lori Bigras, director of marketing and communications.

The company is shipping about 38% more volume than normal to the U.K. Interest has been up since mid-January and is expected to continue that way through April.

“We’ve received inquiries from current, former and now some new customers,” Bigras said.

The company has been able to fill about 90% of those requests.

Growers Express, which sells under the Green Giant Fresh label, can have its product on shelves in the U.K. in about 72 hours.

“As long as the temperature chain has not been compromised, this product being exported to the U. K. takes less time — and could potentially last longer — than the same product loading on the West Coast with a destination of Texas,” Bigras said.

Neil Bharadwa, managing director for U.K. supplier Cambridge Fruit Co., said retail prices there have gone up dramatically.

“We’re competing with Germany, France and even Russia to import what limited produce we can get,” Bharadwa said.

“Usually an iceberg lettuce costs a retail customer around £0.50- £0.60 (60-75 cents) in a British supermarket. Currently customers are being charged £ 1 . 4 0 - £1 . 50 ($1.75-1.90) per iceberg lettuce. The produce itself isn’t expensive but it’s the cost of flying it over here.”

A representative for U.K. wholesale market New Covent Garden Market made a similar observation, saying in an e-mail that some wholesalers are sourcing some of their produce from the U.S. but that the required air travel raises costs dramatically.

Henry Dill, sales manager for Salinas-based Pacific International Marketing, said the company isn’t shipping to the U.K. but the shortage there has had an effect.

“The added business has helped the domestic demand because it is less product available for the U.S. market,” Dill said.

Mazzuca said the other factor helping demand for lettuce in the U.S. has been large intrusions of mildew creating quality issues and resulting in lower yields.

Between that situation and unusually high demand from Europe, prices have firmed up in the past few weeks.

PRICES

F. o.b.s reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Feb. 8 for a carton of 24 heads of film-wrapped iceberg lettuce were mostly $16-17.50 from California’s Imperial Valley and mostly $19.45-20.55 out of Western Arizona.

Those prices Jan. 17 were mostly $7-8 and mostly $7.45-8.65.

For a carton of 12 3-count packages of romaine hearts from the Imperial Valley, f.o.b.s reported Feb. 8 were mostly $16.95-18.55, with the same product out of western Arizona going for mostly $13.45-14.65.

Those prices Jan. 17 were mostly $10-11.25 and mostly $10.45-12.56.

Gardiner said he had seen product in the U.K. from Tanimura & Antle as well as from Castroville, Calif.-based Ocean Mist Farms and from Salinas-based Steinbeck Country Produce, which markets under the Nature’s Reward label.

Read the full article at http://digitaledition.qwinc.com/article/Vegetable+Shortage+In+UK+Spurs+Imports+From+U.S./2709873/383500/article.html.

New York Whole Foods Location Debuts Produce Butcher Counter

Ashley Nickle

The newest New York City location of Whole Foods Market includes a Produce Butcher station.

Shoppers can bring fruits and vegetables to a counter in the store and have those items cut to their specifications, according to a news release.

A large graphic above that counter encourages customers to pick a cut: julienned, minced, sliced, diced or chopped.

Each term on the sign is paired with an illustration to demonstrate how the various cuts differ.

The concept appears similar to one debuted in August by St. Cloud, Minn.-based Coborn’s, which opened a location that featured a Chop Shoppe.

The sign above that area at Coborn’s tells shoppers, “You pick it. We prep it.”

Read the full article at http://digitaledition.qwinc.com/article/New+York+Whole+Foods+Location+Debuts+Produce+Butcher+Counter/2709874/383500/article.html.

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