Del Monte has teamed up with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia to develop sustainable disease-resistant bananas. The main focus will be on breeding varieties with resistance to Tropical Race 4, a fungus that has blighted the world’s banana crops over the past decade. Del Monte’s involvement in this research is aimed at ensuring the industry’s long-term sustainability and overcoming the main challenges.
The scientific team at QUT is led by Professor James Dale, a leading researcher in the field of biotechnology with an emphasis on biofortification, molecular farming, and disease resistance, including both traditional and genetically modified bananas. Dale’s research team has already produced promising results using CRISPR techniques of gene-editing.
Dale said: “These new gene-editing technologies represent a new opportunity for addressing the global food supply in ways we never imagined. Our partnership with Fresh Del Monte represents a great opportunity for our research to reach society in an efficient and commercially feasible manner.”
Hans Sauter, chief sustainability officer and senior VP of research and development, agricultural services for Fresh Del Monte, said: “The ability to leverage the capabilities of the team at QUT is very exciting. We see the potential with these revolutionary technologies, and we are looking forward to putting these tools to work to solve real problems facing the world. Fresh Del Monte is proud to partner with a respected research university facility like QUT in this endeavour.”
Fresh Del Monte and QUT’s collaboration is to be carried out with multiple phases over the next five years.
Monaco, June 27, 2020 – In a year where many sports events have been canceled, to the deepest regrets of fans, Del Monte Europe is aiming to reignite the passion by launching its own “Del Monte Fruitball Cup 2020”. The interactive competition will take place on Del Monte Europe Facebook and Instagram pages, and the fans of the most delicious fresh and preserved fruits as well as sport amateurs will be able to join the fun.
“We are very excited to launch this fun competition, as we believe that despite the difficult situation of Covid-19 pandemic people are looking for small occasions to smile and entertain themselves” said Thierry Montange, Marketing Director Europe & Africa. The campaign will consist of a friendly competition between European nations where the brand features social media’s fans pages. The Del Monte “fruitball” players and characters will be “fruitfully” recognizable as some of Del Monte Europe’s range of products. Each follower will be able to defend its own nation during the games up until the final, and some exciting prizes will be rewarded to the most enthusiastic and creative fans, including a special reward for some amateur football club in need of support.
The campaign will kick off on Saturday 27th June 2020, and this date was not chosen randomly as it is actually International Pineapple Day. “We picked this particular date in order to leverage this celebration which is very important for us as a worldwide leader in fresh produce pineapple. It was natural to kick off this campaign by spreading the word of Del Monte pineapple’s many benefits for sports aficionados and for other people as well”, continued Montange. Fans should not miss the start of the campaign on Saturday 27th, where pineapple theme gifts will be awarded to some lucky participants on Del Monte Europe Facebook and Instagram Channels.
About Fresh Del Monte
Fresh Del Monte is one of the world’s leading vertically integrated producers, marketers and distributors of high-quality fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, as well as a leading producer and distributor of prepared food in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the countries formerly part of the Soviet Union. Fresh Del Monte markets its products worldwide under the Del Monte® brand, a symbol of product innovation, quality, freshness and reliability for more than 125 years.
Follow the campaign from June, 27th 2020 here: https://www.facebook.com/delmonteeurope and https://instagram.com/delmonteeurope/
Shares in Fresh Del Monte Produce dropped 4.64% in value following the launch of an FDA investigation into salmonella in the firm’s vegetable trays. The FDA announced that five people became ill with salmonella after consuming Fresh Del Monte Produce. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services linked Del Monte to an outbreak of salmonellosis after inspecting one of the firm’s facilities that produce these vegetable trays. The facility was located in Kankakee, Illinois.
Del Monte reported a 9% fall in its worldwide pineapple sales volumes during the first quarter of 2019. The fall is mainly due to lower volumes in North America and Europe, stemming from lower production in Costa Rica. In partial recompense, the firm recorded higher sales in Asia, while unit sales prices were also up in North America and the Middle East. Other contributing factors to the downturn are unfavourable exchange rates, higher ocean freight costs in all regions. In addition, we experienced lower yields in our Costa Rica operations which negatively affected our fruit cost and resulted in lower sales volumes in North America and Europe. Partially offsetting these decreases were higher selling prices in North America. Worldwide pineapple per unit sale prices increased 2% and per unit costs increased 3%.
Fresh Del Monte Produce has posted a net loss of US$21.9 million in the 2018 financial year. This announcement follows a strong year in 2017, when the company made a net profit of US$120.8 million. The company says the loss is mainly on account of higher fruit and distribution costs and lower banana sales. Although net sales actually climbed 10% to US$4.49 billion, gross profit fell 16% to US$279.8 million. The company said the rise in net sales was driven by its other fresh and prepared food business segments, following the purchase of Mann Packing Company.
Del Monte’s key banana division saw a 4% fall in sales to US$1.7 billion, mainly on account of lower sales volume in the Middle East and Europe and lower selling prices in Europe, partially offset by higher selling prices in the Middle East and North America.
Del Monte’s ‘other fresh produce’ segment registered a 22% increase in net sales to US$2.44 billion driven largely by the fresh-cut fruit and vegetable business. The value of gold pineapple sales fell 1% to US$487.9 million, while volumes rose 2%. Avocados sales rose 5% to US$329.2 million, with volumes up 33%, but prices down 21% and unit costs 23% lower.
Lastly, net sales of fresh-cut fruit climbed 3% to US$510.6 million, while volumes rose 2%, prices grew 1% and unit cost was up 1%. Volumes of fresh-cut vegetables quadrupled, with net sales increasing to US$433.2 million, while prices dropped 21% and unit cost was down 23%.
Russia is a market full of opportunities, it’s actually the 8th largest grocery market globally, but it’s also a challenging one! That´s why Del Monte’s Vice-President, Mohammed Abbas, said: “Our focus is Modern retail, a segment that represents 70 % of the market, 24 % of it belonging to top 5 retailers*. By addressing this key target, not only does Del Monte reduce the risk by working with insured companies, but it benefits from a good brand exposure with its end consumers.”
During this season Del Monte’s strategy will consist in 3 key pillars. First, to increase the product range: Del Monte started cooperating with one of the largest importer of bananas in Russia and hope thus to develop brand awareness and get Russian buyers accustomed to bananas from Costa-Rica. Del Monte is also considering other products such as Jet Fresh pineapples, figs, herbs and other exotic fruit shipped by air. Second, to offer additional solutions: Customization is more and more requested and alongside with fruit shipped in standard packaging, Del Monte is offering various types of consumer packs for bananas. Another example is Del Monte Pineapple peeling stations. They provide strong support accompanying long-term programs for pineapples. The impact of peeling pineapples on a live station in front of customers has a positive impact on sales by 10 times. And Third, to extend the geographical coverage: Vladivostok market and CIS countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan are part of Del Monte’s expansion plan.
About the Russian experience, Abbas also says: “Del Monte learned 2 important lessons from its experience in Russia: to be patient as contracts are complicated and might delay the operations. And also to be persistent as local buyers can be quite conservative and reluctant to change their habits. For example, they would tend to prefer Ecuadorian bananas over other sources and consider pineapples as new year fruit or fruit for decoration”.
Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc has cited higher banana procurement costs, lower pineapple yields, and tomato and grape quality issues – caused by adverse weather – as factors which reduced its first quarter earnings.
The Florida-based fresh produce multinational reported on Monday that its gross profit was $100.4 million and operating income $56.3 million in the quarter to March 27, down from $106.7 million and $65.2 million respectively in the first quarter of 2014.
But on the positive side, net sales for the quarter rose above $1 billion, helped by a 4% increase in those for bananas, which Del Monte said was primarily driven by higher sales in North America.
For other fresh produce, net sales for the quarter were up 2% to $464.6 million, primarily due to higher sales volume in the company’s non-tropical, tomato and fresh-cut product lines, it said. Net sales of tomatoes jumped up 38% to $26.5 million. The volume increased 97% but pricing was down 30% as adverse weather in Del Monte’s production areas in North America and Chile took its toll, it said.
Despite the challenges, CEO Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh said Del Monte had made progress toward long-term initiatives during the quarter, “with positive growth in our banana business, increased volume in several product lines in our other fresh produce business and strategic improvements in the prepared food business in Europe.”
Source: Del Monte press release April 28, 2015
Banana photo: By Mschel (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons