Fresh Plaza Talks PMA 2017 Foodservice Conference and Mentions PA

Fresh Plaza Talks PMA 2017 Foodservice Conference and Mentions PA

Fresh Plaza Talks PMA 2017 Foodservice Conference and Mentions PA

PMA's 2017 Foodservice Conference & Expo draws more than 500 diverse buyers

Read the article Here!

 

Produce Marketing Association’s 36th annual Foodservice Conference & Expo, July 28-30 in Monterey, Calif., featured engaging education sessions; menu tastings that pleased all manner of foodies; plus, top-notch networking between suppliers and a diverse group of over 500 buyers.

The three-day event was capped by an all-sensory expo and product samplings that wowed the palate and showed influencers and end users ways to innovate the plate using fresh produce and value-added ingredients.

Held back in its home location in downtown Monterey, the event attracted more than 1,800 attendees. Suppliers made note of the number and variety of buyers in attendance, including foodservice distributors, retailers, wholesalers, brokers, and more than 150 end-use operators.

From cruise lines, hotel supply management, and airline catering operators, to leaders in the meal-kit, online grocery and grocerant categories, the event appealed to a wide variety of purchasers.

Buyers included Gate Gourmet, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Edible Arrangements, Disneyland Resort, The Cheesecake Factory, Wendy’s, Whataburger Restaurants LLC, PF Chang’s China Bistro, International Dairy Queen, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panda Express, Produce Alliance, Produce GPO, Fresh Direct, Hello Fresh and more.

Buyer Roundtables were new at PMA Foodservice this year. Prior to the start of the expo, a total of 27 suppliers each met with six or so carefully matched buyers in a speed-dating style format designed to provide face time for business networking and potentially open doors for deeper follow-up conversations. Sixteen retailers/foodservice operators participated.

At the expo, suppliers and service providers went all out to showcase their produce, new and value-added products and solutions. Many exhibitors offered tastings and recipes, and several used chef demos and other creative ways to attract booth visitors, engage and inspire buyers and influencers. The sold-out expo featured 176 exhibitors, including seven first-timers. The Fresh Ideas Showcase featured 24 new products.

Driscoll’s won Best of Show, 1st place, for its exhibit which featured a cold storage display case, a backdrop with large images of berries, and several product samples. In addition, one of Driscoll’s growers staffed the exhibit alongside company personnel.

Owyhee Produce won Best of Show, 2nd place, for its exhibit and product display which featured a large barnwood-style frame structure and a barn floor strewn with onion skins.

Best Product Promo went to Babé Farms for its Honey Cone Cabbage promotion.

“The energy and enthusiasm was super strong throughout the event. We’re still hearing comments from participants — suppliers and buyers alike — about the value of the show, networking, and education sessions,” said Brent Scattini, vice president of sales and marketing at Mission Produce, Inc. and co-chair of PMA’s Foodservice Conference Committee. “Suppliers wowed us with menu inspiration and value-added product innovation. The diversity of buyers was exciting. We’re already looking forward to next year.”

In addition to the annual Foodservice Conference & Expo, PMA provides content year-round to help foodservice professionals and suppliers grow their business. Online content includes primary and secondary research as well as articles on timely topics and trends. Recent topics include the expansion of foodservice in retail, personalized nutrition, trends influencing menu choices, and college foodservice trends for Gen Z consumers.

Some of these topics were explored during the foodservice conference education sessions, including a panel discussion on college students’ food likes and wants and innovative ways to shape menu choices and eating habits on campuses, such as using pop-up food stations. Gleaning, reducing food waste, increasing fresh produce consumption, and innovative ways to serve plant-focused meals were also discussed.

PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo also includes three annual fundraisers hosted by the Center for Growing Talent by PMA (CGTbyPMA), a charitable organization. Industry members turned out in force to network, team build, and have fun, all in support of programs designed to attract, develop and retain talent in the fresh produce and floral industries.

The CGTbyPMA Bocce for Talent Tournament, Joe Nucci Memorial Golf Tournament, and 5K Race for Talent each featured fun contests and friendly competition. Bocce, golf and race champions and contest winners are posted on GrowingTalentbyPMA.org under the respective event pages.

A total of 15 CGTbyPMA Career Pathways students from four universities participated in all facets of the conference and expo, including CGTbyPMA’s Women’s Fresh Perspectives Reception. Career Ambassadors and faculty representatives escorted the students from University of California, Merced; San Jose State University; California State University, Chico; and Hartnell College. Students wore “I Am the Future” buttons, which encouraged conversations with attendees. This is one of 11 such programs at PMA events each year designed to attract new talent to the industry.

PMA’s Hands-on Fruit & Vegetable Training July 28 was also well attended. Foodservice operators and distributors learned some of the latest menu trends, as well as tips on care, handling and usage of fresh fruits and vegetables that can help restaurants innovate the plate with global flavors.

Attendees also enjoyed CGTbyPMA’s Women’s Fresh Perspectives Reception and the Opening Reception for more networking, food and fun.

Other highlights included the annual Chef Talks: A Strolling Lunch event held during a break in Saturday’s education session. Three chefs prepared dishes showcasing value-added, sponsored products. Guests were given the opportunity to vote for their favorite dish. The 2017 contest winner — by a record slim margin of two votes — was Zespri. Chef Domenica Catelli, of Catelli’s restaurant in the heart of Sonoma County, prepared pulled pork sliders with SunGold kiwifruit slaw, kiwi barbeque sauce, and topped with a sliced kiwi.

Following the expo, exhibitors donated 18,150 pounds of fresh produce from the show to the Food Bank for Monterey County, a nonprofit organization that collects, stores and distributes donated food to one in five residents in Monterey County.

Next year's PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo will be July 27-29, mark your calendars!


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

 

Metro Quotes Robert Bonghi of Produce Alliance

Metro Quotes Robert Bonghi of Produce Alliance

Metro Quotes Robert Bonghi of Produce Alliance

Don’t panic: Avocados are set to get a little cheaper

Read the article Here

 

Great news, everyone: No longer will we have to live in tiny cardboard boxes because we’ve spent all our money on avocado toast.

Now we can upgrade to a larger box.

According to Bloomberg, avocado prices (which, as we know, are currently pretty high) are set to drop any day now.

While previously, farmers were struggling to produce enough avocados to meet demand, trees are now entering the better half of their two year cycle, meaning they’re set to produce more avocados – leading to a drop in price.

This is because avocado trees are alternate-bearing, producing bigger loads of avocados one year, followed by a smaller crop the year after. While 2017 was a small crop year, 2018 will be a big crop season.

Extra rain last winter will help this along even more, meaning farmers are expecting even more avos in the coming months.

More avocados mean lower prices.

Bloomberg explains that there are already signs that change is coming.

The wholesale cost of avocados has dropped more than 6% from last year, and this month there are already more avocado supplies than expected. Hooray.

That doesn’t mean avocados will suddenly become cheaper than Freddos, to be clear. Instead, you won’t see a sharp price hike in the coming months, and may see a slight drop.

 

‘You’re not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar,’ said Robert Bonghi, a director of procurement and pricing at the Produce Alliance.
 

Prices in the foreseeable future will stabilize a little, and you won’t see a sharp incline.


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

The Produce News Interviews Produce Alliance at the PMA Foodservice Trade Show

The Produce News Interviews Produce Alliance at the PMA Foodservice Trade Show

The Produce News Interviews Produce Alliance at the PMA Foodservice Trade Show

Click Here!

MONTEREY, CA – Attendees and exhibitors got the opportunity to “innovate the plate” during the PMA Foodservice trade show on Sunday, July 31 at the Portola Hotel & Spa, here. With 176 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and solutions in foodservice, this year’s show was serving up some seriously sweet treats perfect for summertime feasting!

The Produce News caught up with a few major fresh produce buyers from Produce Alliance, HelloFresh and Gate Gourmet to find out what catches their eye on the trade show floor. Check out their answers in our latest featured video!

 

"Well, this is my fifth attendance of this show and it’s always great to come walk the floor and go meet with your growers that you’re partnered with and see what’s coming up and new ideas and innovations in our industry. But, these round tables that we attended today, that’s where you can really get to meet some of the growers that you may not work with all the time or have discussed doing business with and nothing has ever transpired, it’s really a good intimate, kind of one-on-one conversation. Granted it’s a short period of time, but it’s enough time to sit there and actually be able to have a quick conversation and get that motivation back to start talking again. So, it was very productive for me today." -Robert Bonghi, Produce Alliance

Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

 

Refinery29 Quotes Produce Alliance

Refinery29 Quotes Produce Alliance

Refinery29 Quotes Produce Alliance

Avocados Are About To Get More Affordable

Read the article Here! 

 

Adding avocado is almost always extra, but come next month, it may be a little more affordable.

According to Bloomberg, after avocado prices spiked in July, die-hard fans are going to catch a break thanks to reinforcements coming from Mexico.

Fans of the green fruit can blame skyrocketing prices on supply and demand. Chowhound reports that avocado consumption has doubled from where it was a decade ago and since it takes time for trees to mature to the point where they can bear fruit, farmers have had some difficulty keeping up with everyone's ravenous appetite for avocado toast and guacamole. Farmers south of the border and in California are expecting a huge crop to come soon, so prices should drop in August and continue to stay lower than they have been through to 2018.

 
"Prices in the foreseeable future will stabilize a little, and you won’t see a sharp incline," Robert Bonghi, the director of procurement and pricing at Produce Alliance, told Bloomberg. "Growers are trying to put more trees in the ground to keep up."

 

However, it's not a bargain-basement situation quite yet.

 

"You're not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar," he added.

 

Avocados hit their highest price earlier this month, reaching an average of $1.51 per Hass avocado at U.S. supermarkets. That's a 40% increase from just a year ago, according to data culled from the USDA.

"It just seems like there's a really good vibe around avocados," Rick Shade, a California-based avocado farmer, told Bloomberg. "I'd hate to be the wheat farmer who produced the wheat for the bread underneath, because no one's talking about him. Everyone's talking about my avocado on top."

But it's not just Americans feeling the surge of avocado prices. Thanks to those good vibes (or Instagram), avocado prices in France have jumped over 20% in the last year and other European nations are feeling it, too. With farmers planting more than ever, it seems that the avocado market is in for some stabilization. For the farmers' sake, let's hope those snapshots of avocado toast keep bringing in the Likes.


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

 

 

Bravo Talks Cheaper Avocado Prices and Quotes Produce Alliance

Bravo Talks Cheaper Avocado Prices and Quotes Produce Alliance

Bravo Talks Cheaper Avocado Prices and Quotes Produce Alliance

Good News, Avocado Fanatics—Avocados Might Be Getting Cheaper Soon!

Read the article Here!

Avocado prices have been at an all-time high this summer, much to the dismay of guacamole and avocado toast lovers everywhere. Demand is up, but bad weather has caused avocado farmers in Mexico and California to reduce their output, causing prices of our beloved green fruit to spike.

But some good news is finally here. According to Bloomberg, the wholesale price of Hass avocados has already dropped by more than 6 percent. Avocados grow on a two-year cycle, which means the trees produce large crops one year and smaller crops the next (who knew?). This was an "off" year, so in 2018, avocado crops should be plentiful.

 

Plus, growers are planting more trees to meet the demand, said Robert Bonghi, the director of procurement and pricing at the Produce Alliance, a company that provides fresh produce to food-service clients.
 

All in all, things are looking up—or rather, down—when it comes to the price of your favorite trendy fruit. But don't get too eager.

 

"You’re not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar,” Bonghi stated.

 

Oh well. Dare to dream.


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

Fresh Produce Journal Quotes Produce Alliance

Fresh Produce Journal Quotes Produce Alliance

Fresh Produce Journal Quotes Produce Alliance

Avocado prices set to fall back

Read the article Here!

 

After tough conditions drove prices up in early 2017, reports suggest they are beginning to fall on the back of improved supply

There are signs that avocado prices might be set to fall back, following record highs earlier this year.

High demand for the popular fruit was hampered by Californian drought, growers’ strikes in Mexico and subsequent reduced US supplies earlier in the year, causing prices to soar. Average prices rose from $0.98 per Hass avocado in April 2016 to $1.26 in April 2017, according to figures from Bloomberg.

 

However, category managers the Produce Alliance stated that avocado output from Mexico is now “stable”, and there are signs already that prices are receding.

 

Mexican wholesale prices have dropped more than six per cent from their peak in July this year of 640 pesos (£27.23) for a 10kg box of Hass avocados, to 600 pesos (£25.53). 

Though United States Department of Agriculture figures show that current prices are still 40 per cent more than they were last year, 2018 is set to produce superior crops since avocado trees are alternate-bearing. The avocados set to be harvested next year are already hanging on the trees and are in much better shape thanks to rains this winter, according to grower Rick Shade, who farms 600 acres near Carpinteria, California.

The effects of these fluctuations have been felt profoundly in the US, which relies on Mexican shipments of avocados for 82 per cent of its intake, according to Bloomberg. Higher prices and even avocado shortages in supermarkets and restaurants were reportedly met with outrage from contemporary avocado-loving societies. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc reported the erosion of earnings by these higher prices, though chief financial officer John Hartung recently stated that this how now eased with higher-than-expected supplies from Mexico last month.

Though the UK tends to import its avocados from Spain, Israel and South Africa, it is by no means exempt from the price turbulence of Mexican imports. Roland Fumasi, senior produce analyst for Rabobank in California, told the Guardian: “Even though most avocados you see in UK stores are coming from other regions, those regions have to fill the gaps in the US. So they have competition for that fruit. The supply slowdown in Mexico affects consumers everywhere.”

Blossoming demand in China and ever-increasing popularity across the US and Europe will continue to put global prices under pressure, Bloomberg said.

 

The recent decreases, though, move the industry closer to a period of stabilising prices in the near future, said Robert Bonghi of Produce Alliance: “Growers are trying to put more trees in the ground to keep up” but “you’re not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar.”

Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

 

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch Talks Avocado Price Drop and Quotes Produce Alliance

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Talks Avocado Price Drop and Quotes Produce Alliance

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Talks Avocado Price Drop and Quotes Produce Alliance 

Avocado obsessed finally get relief as prices drop from record

Read the article Here!

Americans' obsession with avocados sent prices to a record, but there's good news for guacamole fans: relief could be on the horizon.

A confluence of factors drove the wholesale cost of Hass avocados from Mexico, the biggest supplier to the U.S., to more than double this year. U.S. consumers are eating more of the green stuff than ever before, and growers in Mexico and California were struggling to keep up with demand amid dry weather. But the tightness could start to ease next year as trees enter the higher-yielding half of a two-year cycle.

There are already signs of a reprieve. The wholesale cost has dropped more than 6 percent from a record reached earlier in July. At Chipotle Mexican Grill, while higher prices for the fruit eroded earnings earlier this year, higher-than-expected supplies from Mexico this month means the gains have started to ease, Chief Financial Officer John Hartung said on an earnings call this week. Still, with a whopping 6.3 million uses of the hashtag #Avocado on Instagram, it doesn't look like demand is going to slow down anytime soon.

 

"Prices in the foreseeable future will stabilize a little, and you won't see a sharp incline," said Robert Bonghi, the Suwanee, Georgia-based director of procurement and pricing at the Produce Alliance, which provides fresh food to food-service clients. "Growers are trying to put more trees in the ground to keep up," but "you're not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar," he said.
 

The cost of Hass avocados imported from the state of Michoacan, Mexico's largest producer, has fallen this month since reaching the highest in government data that goes back 19 years. The price of a 22-pound box surged 140 percent this year to 600 pesos ($34.02), slightly down from the peak of 640 pesos on July 12. In the grocery store, that translates to $1.51 per Hass avocado, up 40 percent from a year ago, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

The gains came amid a seeming insatiable appetite for the fruit. Americans on average ate about 7.1 pounds of avocados each in the 2015-2016 season, the latest figures from the USDA show. That's more than double the consumption a decade earlier.

"Avocados have really become very popular, and the diversity of usage plays into that," Jan DeLyser, the California Avocado Commission's vice president of marketing, said in a telephone interview.

The rise of the avocado didn't happen all at once, DeLyser said. As health officials raved about the fruit's benefits, growers developed year-round production and the product also started becoming a grocery-store staple. Today, smartphone cameras and social media platforms such as Pinterest are adding to the demand because of the fruit's trendy nature, she said.

That seems to be the case at Slightly Toasted in Chicago, an all-day cafe and bar that specializes in toast. The restaurant fills between 50 and 100 orders daily of oat-porridge toast topped with avocado, pickled shallots, feta, radish and a poached egg, all for $7, said John Chesney, a partner at the restaurant.

 

There's also increased global competition for supplies, said Bonghi of the Produce Alliance.
"The global market virtually exploded overnight" as European and Chinese consumers joined in on the trend, Bonghi said.

 

Wholesale avocado prices in France rose 23 percent in the first five months of the year, and Amsterdam is home to The Avocado Show, a restaurant that features the fruit on virtually every menu item, including an avocado sorbet.

 

Recently, output from Mexico has become "stable," the Produce Alliance said in a July 20 report.
 

Seasonally, end users are shifting from California supplies to fruit from Mexico, and that's also helping to ease supply tightness, Chipotle's Hartung said. The U.S. imports more than half of its supply from Mexico, data from the Mission Viejo, California-based Hass Avocado Board show.

The natural growing cycle will also help add to production. Avocado trees are alternate-bearing, producing larger crops one year and smaller one the next. 2018 is set to be a big crop season.

Rains this winter also meant improved crop conditions for third-generation avocado grower Rick Shade, who farms 600 acres near Carpenteria, California. Avocados hang on the tree for 12 to 14 months before reaping, and the 2018 crop that's already on the trees is shaping up to be a much better after the precipitation, he said.

More fruit at the next harvest could mean easing price pressure, but Shade doesn't see demand or popularity wavering in the meantime.

"It just seems like there's a really good vibe around avocados," Shade said. "I'd hate to be the wheat farmer who produced the wheat for the bread underneath, because no one's talking about him. Everyone's talking about my avocado on top."


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

Grub Street Quotes Produce Alliance

Grub Street Quotes Produce Alliance

Grub Street Quotes Produce Alliance 

Are Avocados Actually About to Get Cheaper? 

Read the article Here!

Good news, home buyers: Avocado toast is maybe going to get a little cheaper. After a long and difficult summer, it seems that avocado prices may be dropping at last! Prices for the creamy little fruit hit a record high, thanks to bad weather in Mexico during what was already an off year for avocado trees. (Avocados develop on a two-year cycle; this was not our year.) But Bloomberg says we can all settle down, because reprieve is coming: The wholesale cost of Hass avocados has already dropped more than 6 percent since reaching a record-breaking high in July.

“Prices in the foreseeable future will stabilize a little, and you won’t see a sharp incline,” said Robert Bonghi, the director of procurement and pricing at the Produce Alliance.
“Growers are trying to put more trees in the ground to keep up,” he said, but don’t get too excited just yet. “You’re not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar.”

After all: It’s a reprieve, not a miracle.

Still, there is hope in the world, at least regarding avocados. While there are no signs that demand will slow anytime soon — Americans have a “seemingly insatiable” appetite for the fruit, eating more than double what they ate a decade ago, according to the latest USDA figures, and the global market is booming , too— the supply crunch is expected to ease up. For one thing, 2018 is an on year for avocado trees, and according to at least one California avocado farmer, it’s shaping up to be a good crop, thanks to rain this past winter.


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

Bloomberg Talks Avocado Prices and Quotes Robert Bonghi of Produce Alliance

Bloomberg Talks Avocado Prices and Quotes Robert Bonghi of Produce Alliance

Bloomberg Talks Avocado Prices and Quotes Robert Bonghi of Produce Alliance

You Can Finally Afford Both a House and Avocado Toast

Read the Article Here!

Americans’ obsession with avocados sent prices to a record high, but there’s good news for guacamole fans: relief could be on the horizon.

A confluence of factors drove the wholesale cost of Hass avocados from Mexico, the biggest supplier to the U.S., to more than double this year. U.S. consumers are eating more of the green stuff than ever before, and growers in Mexico and California were struggling to keep up with demand amid dry weather. But the tightness could start to ease next year as trees enter the higher-yielding half of a two-year cycle.

There are already signs of a reprieve. The wholesale cost has dropped more than 6 percent from a record reached earlier in July. At Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., while higher prices for the fruit eroded earnings earlier this year, bigger-than-expected supplies from Mexico this month means the gains have started to ease, Chief Financial Officer John Hartung said on an earnings call this week. Still, with a whopping 6.3 million uses of the hashtag #Avocado on Instagram, it doesn’t look like demand is going to slow down anytime soon.

 

“Prices in the foreseeable future will stabilize a little, and you won’t see a sharp incline,” said Robert Bonghi, the Suwanee, Georgia-based director of procurement and pricing at the Produce Alliance, which provides fresh food to food-service clients.
 
“Growers are trying to put more trees in the ground to keep up,” but “you’re not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar,” he said.
 

Prices Dip

The cost of Hass avocados imported from the state of Michoacan, Mexico’s largest producer, has fallen this month since reaching the highest in government data that goes back 19 years. The price of a 10-kilogram (22-pound) box surged 140 percent this year to 600 pesos ($34.02), slightly down from the peak of 640 pesos on July 12. In the grocery store, that translates to $1.51 per Hass avocado, up 40 percent from a year ago, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

Prices had gotten so lofty that Australian mega-millionaire Tim Gurner made global headlines earlier this year when he accused members of the millennial generation of wasting money on overpriced avocado toast instead of saving up to buy houses.

The gains came amid a seeming insatiable appetite for the fruit. Americans on average ate about 7.1 pounds of avocados each in the 2015-2016 season, the latest figures from the USDA show. That’s more than double the consumption a decade earlier.

"Avocados have really become very popular, and the diversity of usage plays into that," Jan DeLyser, the California Avocado Commission’s vice president of marketing, said in a telephone interview.

The rise of the avocado didn’t happen all at once, DeLyser said. As health officials raved about the fruit’s benefits, growers developed year-round production and the product also started becoming a grocery-store staple. Today, smartphone cameras and social media platforms such as Pinterest are adding to the demand because of the fruit’s trendy nature, she said.

Slightly Toasted

That seems to be the case at Slightly Toasted in Chicago, an all-day cafe and bar that specializes in toast. The restaurant fills between 50 and 100 orders daily of oat-porridge toast topped with avocado, pickled shallots, feta, radish and a poached egg, all for $7, said John Chesney, a partner at the restaurant.

 

There’s also increased global competition for supplies, said Bonghi of the Produce Alliance.
 
"The global market virtually exploded overnight" as European and Chinese consumers joined in on the trend, Bonghi said.
 

Wholesale avocado prices in France rose 23 percent in the first five months of the year, and Amsterdam is home to The Avocado Show, a restaurant that features the fruit on virtually every menu item, including an avocado sorbet.

 

Recently, output from Mexico has become “stable,” the Produce Alliance said in a July 20 report.
 

Seasonally, end users are shifting from California supplies to fruit from Mexico, and that’s also helping to ease supply tightness, Chipotle’s Hartung said. The U.S. is forecast to import 77 percent of its supply from Mexico this year, the Mission Viejo, California-based Hass Avocado Board estimates.

Growing Cycle

The natural growing cycle will also help add to production. Avocado trees are alternate-bearing, producing larger crops one year and smaller one the next. 2018 is set to be a big crop season.

Rains this winter also meant improved crop conditions for third-generation avocado grower Rick Shade, who farms 600 acres near Carpenteria, California. Avocados hang on the tree for 12 to 14 months before reaping, and the 2018 crop that’s already on the trees is shaping up to be a much better after the precipitation, he said.

More fruit at the next harvest could mean easing price pressure, but Shade doesn’t see demand or popularity wavering in the meantime.

"It just seems like there’s a really good vibe around avocados," Shade said. "I’d hate to be the wheat farmer who produced the wheat for the bread underneath, because no one’s talking about him. Everyone’s talking about my avocado on top."


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

Fortune.com Talks Produce and Quotes PA: Your Salad Is About to Get a Lot More Expensive

Fortune.com Talks Produce and Quotes PA: Your Salad Is About to Get a Lot More Expensive

Fortune.com Talks Produce and Quotes PA: Your Salad Is About to Get a Lot More Expensive

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 10.17.35 AM.png

Read the Article and Watch the Video Here! 

Brace yourself for a more expensive salad this spring.

Heavy rain in California has led to “stratospheric prices” on iceberg and romaine lettuce produced in the state, according to the Sacramento Bee. Broccoli prices are going up too.

After five years of drought, the state experienced an unusually warm winter, followed by a series of heavy rains. The Salinas Valley, known as the “Salad Bowl of the World,” has become somewhat of a “soggy agricultural mess,” the Beesaid.

As a result, supplies of greens are lighter than usual this time of year and not keeping up with demand. Some crops like iceberg lettuce are behind schedule.

“This month has been very unstable for the industry,” industry group the Produce Alliance noted in its weekly agricultural report on Thursday, describing the markets for all lettuce and broccoli as “extreme.”

The wholesale price of iceberg has risen sixfold since January, while broccoli prices have quadrupled, the Sacramento Bee reported, citing figures from the United States Department of Agriculture. Wholesale cartons of romaine now cost $49 and iceberg about $37, up from around $6 a carton in early January.

California produces 76% of the nation’s lettuce and 94% of its broccoli, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Agriculture prices are notoriously volatile because they’re prone to seasonal swings related to weather, and not all of the increases will be passed on to shoppers. Grocers often eat some of the costs to keep product moving.

According to the Produce Alliance, greens are not the only groceries affected by a supply shock this season.

“We are also experiencing extreme markets with avocados, blueberries, celery, cilantro, garlic, lemons, and now certain sizes of asparagus,” it said. “It is forecasted that May will be better for many commodities.”

See the article on Fortune.com here


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

Produce Alliance hosts first Pop-Up Dinner

Produce Alliance hosts first Pop-Up Dinner

Produce Alliance hosts first Pop-Up Dinner

November 11, 2016

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The PA Pop-Up Dinner Series is a gathering of distributors and professional chefs to share ideas and create unique dishes through a five-course menu tasting. 

“The PA Pop-Up Dinner series is something we have wanted to do for some time now and it has been extremely exciting to see the launch of this initiative for Produce Alliance,” David Kraus, senior director of business development at Produce Alliance, said in a news release.  “Our network is made up of the most innovative growers, highest quality distributors and some of the fastest growing restaurant concepts with unbelievable culinary teams. It was a natural fit to tap into our network and harness all of the progressive ideas to put together the first Pop-Up Dinner event.”

The event featured Mann Packing products and was coordinated by Produce Alliance’s executive chef, Stephanie Golfarb, along with chef Nariba Shepard and mixologist Yolondra Yarborough. 

Produce Alliance Innovative Pop-Up Dinner Features Mann Packing Products

Produce Alliance Innovative Pop-Up Dinner Features Mann Packing Products

Produce Alliance Innovative Pop-Up Dinner Features Mann Packing Products

November 15, 2016

Chicago, IL – Produce Alliance began its Pop-Up Dinner Series last month to showcase its innovative approach to fresh produce in an event featuring Mann Packing products.

PA Corporate Chef Stephanie Goldfarb (Right) & Chef Nariba Shepard (Left)

PA Corporate Chef Stephanie Goldfarb (Right) & Chef Nariba Shepard (Left)

“The PA Pop-Up Dinner series is something we have wanted to do for some time now and it has been extremely exciting to see the launch of this initiative for Produce Alliance,” Senior Director of Business Development for Produce Alliance, David Kraus, stated in a release. “Our network is made up of the most innovative growers, highest quality distributors, and some of the fastest growing restaurant concepts with unbelievable culinary teams. It was a natural fit to tap into our network and harness all of the progressive ideas to put together the first Pop-Up Dinner event.”

Kraus continued, “This gathering was held in conjunction with our *Next Gen board meeting, an organization of next generation leaders in our network that focus on shaping the future trends of fresh produce within the Food Service Industry. The first event featured dishes and cocktails from a few of Chicago’s top Chefs and Mixologists; we plan to continue the series into 2017 by collaborating with many of the leading Chefs across the U.S. as well as our grower partners to continue leading the industry in innovation.”

The goal of the PA Pop-Up Dinner Series, according to the company, is to reimagine culinary boundaries, showcase an array of innovative dishes, bring together Chefs and Growers in a celebration of fresh produce, and raise the bar for those in the culinary and fresh produce industries.

The five-course Pop-Up Dinner featured a number of Mann Packing products including the company’s Tenderbite® Green Beans and RomaCrunch® lettuce.

Article featured in And Know U Know

Avocado Shortage Plagues Nation’s Restaurants

Avocado Shortage Plagues Nation’s Restaurants

Avocado Shortage Plagues Nation’s Restaurants

November 1, 2016

Is the avocado toast-Instagram industrial complex on the verge of collapse? In recent months a number of restaurants across the country have hiked menu prices for avocado dishes — or worse, stopped serving them altogether — thanks to the one-two punch of a rough growing season in California and a worker’s strike in Mexico.

Murmurs of an avocado shortage have been circulating since this summer, when it was blamed mainly on El Niño — but now the issue’s been compounded by avocado growers in Mexico striking for higher pay. According to data from the Hass Avocado Board cited by Business Insider, the volume of avocado imports from Mexico are down approximately 80 percent in recent weeks.

In its most recent weekly ordering guide that’s distributed to chefs and kitchen managers across the country, leading restaurant produce supplier FreshPoint included an avocado alert: “We will not be able to fill orders, and for those that we can, it will be extremely expensive for the next 7 to 10 days.”

Hans Peter Muller, the owner of a popular restaurant and bakery in Fort Worth, Texas, called Swiss Pastry Shop, says the price he pays for avocados has doubled compared to this time last year. Though he has a few sandwiches on his menu that include them, he’s not intending to hike prices — mainly because he expects avocado prices will return to more reasonable levels in the near future, and printing and re-printing new menus is a pain. In the meantime, he’s increased the price of a side of avocado to discourage people from ordering it — and temporarily barred employees from having avocado on their own sandwiches to ensure there’s enough for customers.

Other restaurants have stopped serving them altogether: LA bakery and cafe Lodge Bread has temporarily removed its beloved avocado toast from the menu in the wake of the shortage. Co-owner Alex Phaneuf says it’ll return in a few months when the new season’s crop of avocados becomes available, and also says the worker’s strike in Mexico has caused him to reevaluate his avocado sourcing: “The shortage was quite the wake-up call for the industry and for [restaurants] selling foods with avocado,” Phaneuf says. “Avocado farming in Mexico and other countries south of our border do not pay living wages and do not support sustainable agriculture in ways that we think are positive to farmers and or patrons.” Looking ahead, Lodge Bread will be sourcing its avocados from an orchard in nearby Ojai, California instead.

At least one major restaurant chain won’t be nixing avocados anytime soon, though: Chipotle. The company revealed on its earnings call earlier this week that the price it pays for avocados has soared from $30 a case to $80, but says it won’t affect the price of its guacamole. (As the beleaguered burrito chain attempts to come back from last year’s food safety disasters, surely executives recognize that raising the price of guac — AKA the best thing on the menu — could further alienate customers.)

And things do look brighter for avocado lovers going forward: “There was a shortage but it is much better,” says Stephanie Blanton, vice president of procurement for Produce Alliance, a national collective of produce buyers. “Prices are still higher...but it has improved and will continue to do so every week.”

Market Shifts Spur Local Company’s Relocation for Willie Itule Produce Inc.

Market Shifts Spur Local Company’s Relocation for Willie Itule Produce Inc.

Market Shifts Spur Local Company’s Relocation for Willie Itule Produce Inc. 

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September 21, 2016

Willie Itule Produce, Inc., a local family-owned and operated wholesale produce distributor, moved from the location it has known in Downtown Phoenix since 1979 for a bigger, better industrial space to facilitate its continued growth.

The company’s original location on Jackson Street is situated in the heart of the historic Warehouse District. Once the hotspot for industrial developments in the Valley, the area is now experiencing a high amount of adaptive reuse activity in which older, functionally obsolete industrial buildings are being repurposed into trendy offices for companies like WebPT and Gould Evans. Thus, growing businesses like Willie Itule Produce must find new facilities that meet evolving state-of-the-art standards for industrial developments, with greater ceiling clear heights, more square footage and optimized technology features for improved operating efficiency.

“We had been in Downtown Phoenix on Jackson Street for roughly 36 years,” says Willie Itule, the company’s CEO. “Over the course of those years, we grew from one truck and one warehouse operation to almost 40 trucks and six warehouses.”

In the early 2000’s, the couple seized the opportunity to purchase warehouses once owned by Willie’s father (also named Willie Itule) from 1962 until his retirement in 1972. However, geographic constriction, growing technological demands and changing food service regulations spurred the company’s move in August to a new location at 301 N. 45th Avenue near 43rd Avenue and Van Buren Street. 

Aerial photo of Willie Itule Produce’s new warehouse on 301 N. 45th Avenue in Phoenix. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

Willie and Lynn felt Downtown Phoenix was becoming too congested, especially for the business’s truck drivers. The new location is still centrally located and provides drivers with easier access to the warehouse, which is right off of Interstate 10.

When the business first moved to the new facility, Willie says it was “basically four walls.” Since then, all of the lights have been changed to LED and solar panels are being added to the roof.

Willie Itule Produce’s original location on 926 E. Jackson Street in Downtown Phoenix’s historical Warehouse District. (Courtesy of Willie Itule Produce)

The new location also provides more space: the warehouse consists of 79,000 square feet including 36,000 square feet of rackable refrigeration (effectively doubling it to approximately 60,000 square feet), 28-foot clear ceiling heights and a continuous cold chain that keeps all produce coming into and going out of the facility at 36-degrees Fahrenheit. In comparison, the business’s previous facilities (six warehouses in total) consisted of 55,000 square feet of warehouse space with 21,000 square feet for refrigeration.

Willie says technology was another major factor contributing to the decision to relocate.  “Fiber optics for the building is something that we determined we needed for the future growth, and that was a big part of the decision also to relocate,” he explains. For businesses that are trying to expand and keep up with the latest standards like Willie Itule Produce, more efficient technology better suited for modern operations is vital and in growing demand.

Other factors include trends in the food service industry such as more stringent health regulations outlined in the U. S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Code, which is a model that assists food control jurisdictions at all levels of government by providing them with a scientifically sound technical and legal basis for regulating the retail and food service segment of the industry. 

Melissa Melshenker Ackerman, executive vice president of sales at Produce Alliance, a produce management company, says Willie Itule Produce, Inc. is one of the businesses that has been excelling at meeting food safety standards.

“Produce Alliance three years ago challenged our distributors to all be certified under the GFSI scheme,” Melshenker says. “Everyone was working toward [meeting these changes], and Willie Itule took the ultimate measure by moving into a new facility.”

GFSI, or the Global Food Safety Initiative, is an international measure to improve food safety management systems via collaboration between leading experts in the foodservice industry.

Melshenker stated that Produce Alliance chooses its partners based on who are the best businesses in a region at being ahead of the curve in terms of food safety, and added that Willie Itule Produce was one of the best not only for its ability to stay ahead of the curve, but also for its history as a family-focused business.

“Change is good,” Willie says, “and we always want to keep moving forward and getting better. We have three children, adults now, that are in the business. And we wanted to have the opportunity for future growth for them. That’s one of the reasons we looked at this. No matter what, hard work usually equals success.”

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13 WLOX - Gulf Coast Produce Organizes Louisiana Flood Help

13 WLOX - Gulf Coast Produce Organizes Louisiana Flood Help

13 WLOX - Gulf Coast Produce Organizes Louisiana Flood Help

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SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Biloxi business owners with a close connection to Louisiana are reaching out to help flood victims.

Mike and Christi Alise, with Gulf Coast Produce, helped collect a large monetary donation and organized a shipment of fresh food.

As she presented a $10,000 check to Yes I Can Ministries, Alise recalled her family's personal connection to Louisiana.

“It is close. We have families and friends in Louisiana that's also lost everything. Again, we couldn't just sit back and not do anything. We just wanted to help the people that's truly in need,” said Alise.

Yes I Can Ministries will direct the donation to those still suffering.

“It's a tragedy. Actually, it looks like it's worse than Katrina. I've never seen anything like it. All the debris in the streets, and it's really sad. I mean, a lot of people are crying and hurting. So,  it's just an honor to be able to help,” said Art Moore, who directs the ministry along with his wife, Gail.

“It is sad. The debris is everywhere. Families are hurting. They literally lost everything,” said Gail.

Along with the $10,000 check, pallets of produce and dog food are also headed west to help those in need.

“So many people out there. Our phones at the office, literally, are ringing. People wanting and asking for help. So, we are more than happy to help and do what these guys have allowed us to do,” said Gail.

Along with their own company's donations, the Alises, also called on their business connections to pitch in, and they responded.

“With Katrina, I mean, the community stepped up and they helped us. This is the least we could do to help our neighbors in Louisiana. We contacted our distributors across the United States. They helped with contributions,” said Alise. “It's just, it's a great feeling to be able to give back with the communities.”

Chiquita and Produce Alliance also helped with the donations for Louisiana.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.

Produce Alliance and Gulf Coast Produce help flooding victims

Produce Alliance and Gulf Coast Produce help flooding victims

The Packer: Produce Alliance and Gulf Coast Produce help flooding victims

 

August 16, 2016

Produce Alliance LLC is working with one of its members to help victims of massive Gulf Coast flooding.

Nashville, Tenn.-based Produce Alliance is helping Biloxi, Miss.-based Gulf Coast Produce Distributors Inc. donate truckloads of fresh produce to flooding victims, their families, first responders and others in Louisiana and Texas.  Read full article here. 


Perishable News: Produce Alliance & Gulf Coast Produce Come Together To Help Disaster In Gulf Coast

 

August 17, 2016

Produce Alliance report regarding the disaster on Gulf Coast reaches media outlet Perishable News.  Read full article here. 


 

People can contribute to the PA Foundation, which is helping flood victims, by visiting http://bit.ly/2b70IIX.

Produce Alliance Makes Two Strategic Hires

Produce Alliance Makes Two Strategic Hires

Produce Alliance Makes Two Strategic Hires

 

 

July 21st

Produce Alliance LLC has hired Kirk Massey senior business development director and Dan Baker, who will focus on national foodservice business, specializing in processed items.

Massey has more than 20 years of experience in the fresh produce industry, particularly in foodservice produce management. He worked for Ben E. Keith Foods in multiple roles including produce marketing manager and head of produce before accepting a position with Shamrock Foods Co. as a produce business manager. He later worked for Pro*Act, a foodservice distributor, as director of client services.

Baker was previously at Freshway Foods and Foodsource/CH Robinson, where he worked in customer acquisitions and organic growth.

“Dan will be able to bring his processing skills to Produce Alliance,” George Melshenker, president of Produce Alliance, said in the release.

“His knowledge of local versus California processing will help our entire team.”

(The Pack Article

Produce Alliance Hires Director of Food Safety & Quality Assurance

Produce Alliance Hires Director of Food Safety & Quality Assurance

Produce Alliance hires Director of Food Safety & Quality Assurance

 

 

July 1, 2016

Barbara Hulick has been hired as Produce Alliance LLC's senior director of food safety. Hulick brings two decades of experience in innovating and implementing food safety policies, according to a news release.

Melissa Melshenker Ackerman, executive vice president of sales at Produce Alliance, said Hulick’s “in depth experience along the supply chain coupled with her high-level education in (the Food Safety Modernization Act) will give Produce Alliance the firepower it needs to continue to be an industry leader.”

Hulick started food safety consulting company The Albury Group LLC after working from plant manager to the director of foodservice and product improvement at Country Fresh LLC, according to a news release. She has a master's in global food law and policy and a master's in food safety, both from Michigan State University.

"Produce Alliance stands apart from the competition because of its steadfast commitment to the food safety values in the fresh produce industry,” Hulick said in the release.

(The Packer Article