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Spotlight keeps fresh produce innovation in focus

Biopac, McGarlet introduces completely compostable packaging
© Biopac, McGarlet introduces completely compostable packaging


As a launchpad for innovation in the international fresh produce business, Berlin’s annual FRUIT LOGISTICA trade show remains the preferred place for new ventures to be noticed by as many people as possible. For those visiting FRUIT LOGISTICA 2020 on 5-7 February, Spotlight – the show’s dedicated collection of world firsts, European premieres and event debutants – is an easy way to identify the very latest developments making their first appearance at the show.


© SoFruMiniPak® EcoView is made from renewable resources


sustainability centre stage

Sustainability plays a starring role in 2020, with several Spotlight stars reflecting what is a central theme across this year’s exhibition. Italian firm McGarlet, Poland’s Sofrupak, UK-based Keymac and Canadian company CKF will all unveil environmentally friendly packaging options. Dutch group VAM WaterTech will display its new water processing solution, which recycles water to protect the environment.
FRUIT LOGISTICA’s sustainability focus starts with the publication of a major new study into challenges faced by companies throughout the global fresh fruit and vegetable business, as the industry grapples with a series of environmental and ethical issues. Entitled “Do The Right Thing (Right)”, the FRUIT LOGISTICA Trend Report 2020 will be published during Fruitnet World of Fresh Ideas, the exhibition’s official curtain-raiser event, which takes place at Messe Berlin on 4 February.

A total of 81 fresh innovations from 14 countries – including 38 world premieres – are featured in this year’s Spotlight collection. Together with the annual FRUIT LOGISTICA Innovation Award, informative sessions on the event’s Future Lab stage and the return of last year’s successful Start-up Day, Spotlight is a shining example of the industry’s innovative spirit, providing media and trade visitors alike with easy access to the latest trends and products.

Spotlight is available in German, English, Italian and Spanish on the FRUIT LOGISTICA website.


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The European Packaging Forum: Congress & Get-together on May 14, 2020

The European Packaging Forum: Congress & Get-together on May 14, 2020

The European Packaging Forum is a precisely tailored congress event for the fruit and vegetable industry, focusing on marketing, sustainability, traceability, consumer and trade acceptance, innovative solutions, logistics, protection and functionality, hygiene and law. These are the topics that the experts from all stages of the value chain will be discussing on 14 May 2020 in Düsseldorf at Hotel Nikko Düsseldorf. This will be followed by the DFHV Annual Conference on 15 May 2020. 

The organisers – Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (AMI) and Fruchthandel Magazin – will be addressing a central topic in the sector, which is not only being strongly discussed in the entire value chain, but also in society. A press release stated: “Since the recent pictures of dead whales and polluted seas make this topic difficult to be ignored. We want to tackle the challenges and take a close look at them in order to discuss and sketch out alternatives and solutions with the competent experts in the end and thus give the industry new impetus. We want to bring together the most important market partners in the European sector in order to objectify the discussion and jointly develop new ideas and strategies for contemporary solutions and offers for the entire value chain.”

Simultaneous translation is provided of the plenary sessions in German and English.

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Omnia Management takes innovation prize

Omnia Management takes innovation prize


Omnia Management is the winner of the 1st Cool Logistics ‘Innovation in Perishable Logistics’ Award at the 11th Cool Logistics Global Conference in Valencia.  The winner of the award was selected by an international panel of stakeholders with an interest in furthering perishable supply chain excellence. Omnia Management was recognized for its contribution and adding value to the cold supply chain.  

Omnia Management has set the standard for innovation in the cold supply chain “It was a great honour to receive the award at Cool Logistics Valencia.  True recognition of my Shortest Route to Market using innovation to remove outer packaging in the Logistic supply chain” said Clive Lawrance, Omnia Management.

Omnia Management implemented a packaging project in three countries, working with growers and major retail importers.  Polarthermal covers were used to maintain fresh produce temperature integrity throughout the supply chain instead of typical packagings such as cardboard, plastic or polystyrene. This reduced wastage at the point of destination. Straight-line temperatures were maintained throughout the journey of the fresh produce together with significant cost reductions in packaging and waste disposal.  Reducing waste packaging waste is an issue of global interest, and in this case, the waste packaging reductions were achieved in the air freight cold chain. Packaging, reducing waste and the use of plastic packaging have been major themes through Cool Logistic Global 2019 so the judging panel was delighted to recognize and acknowledge the importance of Omnia Management’s initiative

Honest Branch was highly commended for its contribution to the cold supply chain. “Connecting every farmer across Africa with buyers in Europe is a massive undertaking. Winning this award delivers a huge boost to our company and its profile, as well as instantly providing new, invaluable connections across the industry. Additionally, it illustrates the understanding Cool Logistics has of the positive impact on the lives of people across Africa our platform will have.” said N Russell Tomlin, MD at Honest Branch. 

Honest Branch developed a mobile-friendly platform that allows European buyers of tropical fruit to source their supplies in a single place.  Working with local cooperative farmers across the entire logistical process from sourcing fruit to assisting with exports, Honest Branch’s initiative allows African farmers to access European fresh produce markets with their surplus produce, helping to boost African fresh produce exports.

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GreenTech announces nominees for Innovation Awards 2019

GreenTech announces nominees for Innovation Awards 2019

Exhibitors at the GreenTech exposition to be held in Amsterdam next month submitted 50 innovations for the GreenTech Innovation Awards 2019. This number represents an increase from last year’s edition and shows the enormous developments in the horticultural sector. The winners will be announced during the official opening of GreenTech on Tuesday 11 June 2019.

An expert jury selected 18 nominees from all entries in four categories namely ‘Innovation’, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Impact’ and ‘Concept’. All the entries for the awards will be part of the GreenTech Innovation Route. The nominees for the Innovation Awards will be showcased at the InnovationLAB.

Nominations per category

Category: GreenTech Innovation Award 2019

    Autonomous crop management – Delphy B.V.

    ISO Bulb Planting Machine – ISO Group

    Koppert scout-app – Koppert Biological Systems

    Rubion – Octinion

    Ridder CO2 Optimizer – Ridder

Category: GreenTech Sustainability Award 2019

    Hortinergy – Climate modelling and analysis – Agrithermic

    Growfoam – Foamplant

    Hortiled Top 120v19 – Hortilux Schréder

    EcoExpert – Modiform

    Ridder NoNa+ – Ridder

Category: GreenTech Impact Award 2019

    SuprimAir Greenhouse – Certhon

    VA Grow Vertical Farm – KE GrowAir BV + Orange Climate Agri

    Ridder Co-Creation Climate Screens – Ridder

Category: GreenTech Concept Award 2019

    Phycotrone – MEG – Augmented Photobiology

    The Fiberglas Greenhouse Roof – Bordeso BV

    Medical Grow Rolling Container – Bosman Van Zaal

    Nexus with E-meta Intelligence – Van der Ende Groep

    e-Gro – Grodan – Part of the ROCKWOOL Group

For further information about the Innovation Awards please visit


The jury of the GreenTech Innovation Awards 2019 consists of:

    Deputy chairman: Harm Maters, AVAG (Netherlands)

    Silke Hemming, Wageningen University & Research (Germany)

    Peter Zwinkels, Tecknokas (Netherlands)

    Mark Durno, Rockstart (United Kingdom)

    Perry van Adrichem, Horti-Tech B.V. (Netherlands)

    Wolfgang Steiner, Gemüsebau Steiner GmbH & Co KG (Germany)

The jury’s advisory committee consists of:

    Enrico Verhoef, United Farms (Mexico)

    Roger Abbenhuis, Onder Glas/In Greenhouses (Netherlands)

    Heinrich Dressler, Gärtnerbörse (Germany)

    Brian Sparks, Greenhouse Grower (USA)

    Leonardo Capitano, Vivai Capitanio (Italy)

Further information and registration

Interested in the GreenTech? Please visit for more information and registration. Registration is free of charge until 3 June. After 3 June the online registration fee will be €40 including VAT per person, and €70 including VAT at the entrance desk.

About GreenTech

GreenTech brings people and technology together to increase growth, productivity, sustainability, inspiration and pleasure in horticulture. We do this because we believe that improvement and innovation in horticulture will contribute to the wellbeing for people. GreenTech takes place at RAI Amsterdam. The GreenTech Tradeshow – with 470 exhibitors from the horticulture technology sector and an estimated 11,000 visitors from all over the world – will take place from 11 – 13 June.

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Free-from & organic products abound at Alimentaria Barcelona

The chief innovations at the at Alimentaria 2018 show in Barcelona focused on healthier, better tasting food.

Hundreds of new products were presented at the Alimentaria food and drink trade show in Barcelona in April and standing out was the abundance of organic and ‘free’ products – such as free of sugar, salt, fat, lactose, gluten or frying – across all categories. Many of the innovations also responded to the growing demand for organic and functional foods and drinks among consumers, who also want them to be pleasurable and without need for much preparation.

“Eliminating or significantly reducing the amount of sugar, salt and fat in food and drinks constitutes the manufacturers’ main objectives when it comes to innovation, as well as devoting considerable efforts to maintaining enticing flavours and attractive presentations. Organic ingredients, ready-to-eat meals, gourmet ranges, baked dishes to replace fried ones, superfoods, vegan snacks and gluten-free and lactose-free proposals are also gaining momentum, as demonstrated by the latest developments on display,” the Alimentaria 2018 organisers said.

Apart from at exhibitor stands, the Alimentaria Hub was the place to learn about prevailing trends and within it, the Innoval exhibition showcased more than 300 new products. The hub was also the site of the Taste of Tomorrow exhibition featuring displays of startup projects aimed at revolutionising food and gastronomy. Following are just some of the interesting new products ED discovered at Alimentaria 2018.

Sea veggies: ideal for an umami kick from the estuaries of the Bay of Cádiz nature reserve are hand-picked wild delicacies such as sea asparagus (Salicornia), sea lettuce, red alga (ogonori) and Codium alga (miru). From Suralgas, Vejer de la Frontera

Beplus bioactive smoothie: dairy and gluten free smoothies made from organic fruit and veg. Four flavours with four functions: antioxidant, energising, detox and relaxing. Vitamin C-enriched and in convenient pouch formats. From Juan y Juan Industrial (Dulcesol group), Valencia

Seaweed snacks: a crispy, healthier, low-fat alternative to chips they come in a wide range of flavours including wasabi, curry, kimchi, Teriyaki sauce and sesame. From Godbawee Food, South Korea

Mango, tomato & hazelnut frozen lollipops: one of four new frozen lollipop products (another is green apple with pistachio) designed to delight as appetisers in the hospitality sector. From La Abuela Cándida, Ciudad Real

Fruit & vegetable crisps: Pinkfinch’s apple crisps (35g), banana crisps (35g), and green bean & sugar snap pea crisps (25g) use real fruit and veg. Naturally sweet, high in fibre, gluten and nut free, apt for vegans and with the texture of a potato crisp. Billed as each bag being “one of your 5 a day.” From Food Products, N. Ireland

Ginger up: three new products in the Ginger up range of drinks with energy and health benefits: ginger and pineapple, ginger and basil, and a ginger and apple shot. Other new products from the same company include a cucumber tea, organic juice range, and a carrot Gazpacho soup. From: Comfresh Iberian, Madrid

Tropical Kumato: described as having an aroma like that of tropical fruits, very good flavour and a little sweeter than the traditional Kumato. From Syngenta seed house

AdeS plant-based beverages: The leading seed-based beverage brand in Latin America, Coca-Cola bought AdeS last year and is now introducing the functional drinks in Europe. It promoted 4 formats with fruit juices: almond with mango & passionfruit, oatmeal with strawberry and banana, coconut with berries, and soy with apple. RRP €1.09 (250ml). From Coca-Cola Spain

Caramelised sesame seeds: organic sesame seeds caramelised with unrefined cane sugar available in varieties including with kale, wasabi, berries, ginger, lemon, aloe vera, chilli pepper, spirulina or guava, among other fruits and vegetables. Add taste to dishes, salads, yogurts. Other caramelised seeds include pumpkin, sunflower, poppy and chia. From Ecoriginal, Barcelona

Sun&Vegs Supersalads: Three different types – Mediterranean Rice, Arabian Quinoa & Asian Rice – of ready-to-eat salad products fresh from “the garden to the jar.” From Grupo Alimentario Citrus (GAC), Valencia

High taste protein products: The À Trois range of supplements was designed to be both tasty and nutritious. Includes chocolate protein bars, protein powders and 75% fruit juice energy gels. Ingredients include strawberries, blood oranges, Canary Island bananas, lemons, pumpkin, carrots and peas. From: À Trois Nutrition, Catalonia


Photos: Alimentaria Barcelona

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Another Innovative Year for United Fresh

Another Innovative Year for United Fresh

The West Hall of McCormick Place in Chicago this past June was the innovation epicenter for the entire fresh supply chain. For two days, 7,500 attendees and 700 exhibitors participated in the four co-located shows: Global Cold Chain Expo, the International Floriculture Expo, and the new United FreshTEC and United FreshMKT Expos.

United’s two expos offered attendees and exhibitors a more personalized experience than years past. United FreshMKT Expo, the fastest growing segment of the annual United Fresh event, unveiled the new Organic Showcase – where more than 50 organic products were on display – providing buyers with the unique opportunity to explore everything organic in one location on the show floor, maximizing their time for discovery.

Attendees voted for the United Fresh Innovation Award Winners – an annual favorite of the trade show. Out of 46 finalists across five categories, the 2017 Produce Innovation Awards Winners are:

  • Best New Food Safety Solution: Nature’s Frequencies – Food Freshness Card

  • Best New Fruit Product: Crunch Pak – Crunch Pak Apple Rings

  • Best New Packaging: Dole Food Company – Dole GO Berries!™

  • Best New Packing/Processing Equipment: Full Harvest – Full Harvest

  • Best New Vegetable Product: Veggie Noodle Co. Veggie Spirals – Veggie Noodle Co. Veggiccine

Growing from the equipment side of the trade show floor to a true tech expo focused on innovations in fresh foods technology from field harvesting to packing, packaging, processing, and refrigerated delivery to customers worldwide, United FreshTEC Expo boasted new equipment and solutions for automation, engineering, supply chain management, food safety and more.

The FutureTEC Zone was a popular attraction at the FreshTEC Expo, with more than 40 start-up companies ready to solve business challenges with their innovative solutions. Attendees found the answers to their food safety questions, including solutions to help businesses comply with FSMA and advance their food safety operations, at the Food Safety Pavilion. In addition, the University Research Poster Session featured cutting-edge research on food safety and quality aspects of fresh and fresh-cut produce, from an international range of researchers and research organizations.

The FreshMKT and FreshTEC Learning Centers were once again anchors on the show floor, giving attendees an opportunity to hear from the experts on a variety of topics in 45-minute education presentations.

Attendees and exhibitors also participated in the newest feature of the United Fresh event: the FreshMKT and FreshTEC X-Changes. During the X-Change Sessions, industry professionals who share common interests connected and participated in group discussions, exchanging perspectives on key industry issues and topics. The FreshMKT X-Change covered topics such as organics, branding, merchandising, and innovative product development. At the FreshTEC X-Change, topics included food safety, sanitation, product development, packaging, and supply chain management.

Taking place the day before the expos opened, the United FreshMKT and United FreshTEC Conferences – another new feature of this year’s event – included five hours of general session presentations from industry experts.


The FreshMKT Conference attracted produce and fresh foods buyers, executives and trading partners across all retail and foodservice channels looking to jump start their business models and programs with innovative ideas, concepts and lessons from the future. The conference kicked off with a keynote from Ready Pac Foods’ CEO Tony Sarsam. Topics for the conference included today’s consumer trends; how innovative companies are shaping food culture; and how retail and foodservice executives can identify growth opportunities, as well a consumer panel. Speakers for the FreshMKT Conference included representatives from Google, Ibotta, Food Network, Good Housekeeping, Morning News Beat, and more.

During a break in the conference, attendees had the opportunity to network while enjoying featured fresh grab-and-go snacks from some of the industry’s most innovative companies at the Fresh Convenience Snack Break.

At the conclusion of the first FreshMKT Conference, Roger Pepperl, Marketing Director for Stemilt Growers, was presented with the FreshMKT Achievement Award for his significant innovations in the marketing and merchandising of fresh produce.

The FreshTEC Conference featured expert discussions focused on pre- and post-harvest automation; food safety in packing and processing operations; and an intense look at controlled growing environments. Taylor Farms’ CEO Bruce Taylor was the keynote speaker for the FreshTEC Conference, which also featured speakers from Compac, Yamaha Motor Ventures, Soft Robotics, Neogen Corporation, and more.

During a break in the conference, top universities from across the country shared their cutting-edge data, concepts and robotics, as well as their innovative projects in ag technology at the FreshTEC University Showcase. Attendees were able to follow-up with these companies at their exhibits on the trade show floor.

The FreshTEC Conference concluded with the presentation of the FreshTEC Achievement Award to Peter Quiring, Owner & CEO of NatureFreshTM Farms, whose leadership has helped advance the fresh produce industry through innovation in greenhouse technologies.

Other highlights from United Fresh 2017 include:

  • The Opening Party provided attendees from both United Fresh and Global Cold Chain Expo with a gorgeous backdrop for networking at the Shedd Aquarium.
  • New this year, the Joint Opening General Session was open to attendees of all four trade shows: United FreshTEC, United FreshMKT, Global Cold Chain Expo, and the International Floriculture Expo. The keynote speaker, Doug Rauch, co-CEO of Conscious Capitalism, left attendees feeling inspired and ready to make connections with produce innovators on the trade show floor.
  • Hundreds gathered to honor United Fresh’s retiring Vice President of Nutrition and Health, Lorelei DiSogra, Ed.D. during the Reception Honoring Women in Produce. The reception was co-located with the Produce Forum for School Success, which brought the fifty top school foodservice directors together in Chicago to explore fresh options and solutions for feeding our nation’s children.
  • United Fresh 2017 came to a close with the Retail-Foodservice Celebrations Dinner, where the industry gathered to honor those on the front lines of produce.

See the latest in produce innovation for yourself next year at United Fresh 2018! The event is back in Chicago, June 25-27.

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Fruit Logistica Innovation Award winners revealed

Discover the innovation most popular among the more than 75,000 visitors to the Fruit Logistica trade show this year.

Knox –  a natural solution that delays pinking in cut lettuce – has won the 2017 Fruit Logistica Innovation Award.

And in what was apparently a very close result, the runner-up was The Cracking Monkey, a pre-germinated nut from the Philippines with high levels of Vitamin E.

And in third place was Natupol Excel – Bee Vision, a specially developed beehive to optimise pollination in the greenhouse under artificial lighting.

The Knox winners

The awards were announced in Berlin today, February 10, the last day of the Fruit Logistica trade fair, which attracted a record of more than 75,000 trade visitors.

Fruchthandel Magazine managing director Robert Broadfoot, who announced the winners, said what makes the Fruit Logistica Innovation Award unique is that it is voted on by the visitors to the fair.

The visitors voted from a list of 10 finalists chosen by a jury from an initial field of 70 entries.

Read more about the winners and the rest of the finalists here.

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Fruit Logistica Innovation Award shortlist announced

The top award for innovation in the fresh produce sector will be presented at Fruit Logistica in Berlin on 10 February 2017. More than 70,000 trade visitors from over 130 countries can cast their vote on 8 and 9 February 2017 for the innovation of the year.

The 10 finalists for the 2017 Fruit Logistica Innovation Award have been revealed, with the winners to be announced in Berlin next February 10.

The selected innovations will be presented at the fair from February 8-10 in a special exhibition area between halls 20 and 21.

A panel of experts from all parts of the fresh produce industry chose the following ten nominees from more than 60 submissions.

BE-Cube Demountable Pallet Box System, Beekenkamp Verpakkingen B.V., Netherlands
A flexible, space-saving multi-purpose pallet box system which is both lightweight and completely collapsible, available with tilting and base emptying functions.

Crisp Fresh Watermelon, Syngenta, France
A seedless watermelon cultivated specially for fresh-cut processing with firm, dark red fruit pulp, reduced liquid loss and extended shelf life.

KnoxTM – Delayed pinking in fresh cut lettuce, Rijk Zwaan Zaadteelt en Zaadhandel BV, Netherlands
A specially developed natural solution to delay so-called “pinking” in cut lettuce, extending shelf life at POS by one or two days.

Mango Peeler & De-Cheeker, ZTI Smart Machines, Netherlands
A mango peeling and de-cheeking machine with dynamic insert clamps, specially developed spikes and fine, adjustable peeling knives for an exact, product friendly cutting process.

Natupol Excel – Bee Vision, Koppert Biological Systems, Netherlands
A specially developed beehive to optimise pollination in the greenhouse under artificial lighting. It has integrated navigation aids for the bees using reflective signals and a special coating.

SoFruBox® System, SoFruPak, Poland
A new environmentally friendly packaging system with bottomless trays and compatible individually vented SoFruMiniPak® containers to optimize cooling and ventilation.

Streamer Automatic Spiralizer, Turatti srl, Italy
A spiral cutting machine for the high volume handling of vegetables to produce pasta- like shapes such as spaghetti, tagliatelle, rings and even gnocchi-like cores.

Sustainable Grow Bag for Tasty Tomatoes, Greenyard Horticulture Belgium, Belgium
A fully compostable growbag filled with 100% organic substrate for the cultivation of greenhouse vegetables such as tomatoes and other products.

The Cracking Monkey – Pili Nuts, Die Frischebox GmbH, Germany
A pre-germinated nut from the Philippines with high levels of Vitamin E, pre-scored for easy opening with the special stainless steel cracker and sold in environmentally friendly cotton bags.

Yello® – The Color of Taste, VI.P/VOG, Italy
A sweet and crunchy yellow apple variety of Shinano Gold, a Japanese cross between Golden Delicious and Senshu.

“The Fruit Logistica Innovation Award is considered the industry’s leading award. It attracts considerable media attention and recognises new products and services whose market launch in recent months will give important impetus to the international fresh produce trade,” said Fruit Logistica global brand manager Wilfried Wollbold.

The special feature of the Fruit Logistica Innovation Award is that the winner is chosen by more than 70,000 trade visitors from over 130 countries who attend the exhibition. They are invited to cast their vote for the innovation of the year on the first two days of the trade fair.

Source of information and photos:
Read more articles about innovation.
Fruit Logistica Berlin – 8-10 February 2017

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Fresh Summit set to be biggest ever

“Fresh Summit delivers a powerful global experience with a magnitude of resources available under one roof. At the same time, it can also have a community atmosphere that invites people to connect, whatever their interests are," said PMA Fresh Summit Committee Chair Scot Olson, vice president of produce and floral, Grocery Outlet, Inc.

The 2016 Fresh Summit expo will be its largest ever, with more than 1,100 exhibitors over 300,000 square feet, says America’s Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA).

Together with the Fresh Summit convention, the expo runs October 14-16 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, and presents the best innovations from the fresh produce and floral sectors. Fresh product and business ideas will be found at every turn, promises the PMA.

It has again organised the convention content into ‘communities of interest’ to help attendees connect with those with common goals, thus maximising its business-growing value for them. This year’s communities include science & technology, industry talent, floral, issues leadership and global connections.

Speakers from around the world will share their expertise so attendees can capitalise on trends shaping the industry’s future. General session topics include innovation, personal branding and the PMA’s popular State of the Industry address.

Sixteen workshops will help attendees find solutions to industry challenges including talent, developing effective marketing strategies to increase consumption, demonstrating best food safety practices and using technology to increase transparency.

At the Innovation@work area outside of the expo hall, a broad range of creative products and services will be displayed. Showcases here will feature products in the following categories: Just 4 Kids, On-The-Go, Certified Organic and Floral. Also on display will be Sensory Experience Contest winners and packaging innovations from finalist companies in the PMA’s 2016 Impact Award for Excellence in Packaging.

“Fresh Summit delivers a powerful global experience with a magnitude of resources available under one roof. At the same time, it can also have a community atmosphere that invites people to connect, whatever their interests are,” said PMA Fresh Summit Committee Chair Scot Olson, vice president of produce and floral, Grocery Outlet, Inc.

Next year, the Fresh Summit Convention & Expo event days will change, instead taking place Thursday-Saturday (with the expo on Friday-Saturday) so attendees can be back in the office on Monday, a critical day for the produce industry, the PMA said.

Learn more and register for PMA’s 2016 Fresh Summit Convention & Expo at


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Green light for UV-treated mushrooms

Experts say access to dietary vitamin D is crucial In sunlight-starved regions, yet very few foods are naturally rich in this vitamin, which among other things is needed for strong bones and teeth, and even heart health. Wild mushrooms can be a good source of vitamin D2 but until recently their commercial cousins – usually grown and sold indoors – were not.

Ultraviolet-treated mushrooms with increased vitamin D have been given the okay to be placed on the EU market under the EU’s novel food regulation.

The ruling came after a novel food application last year by Ireland’s Monaghan Middlebrook Mushrooms.

In a letter earlier this year to the company, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland said no reasoned objections were raised by the European Commission or Member States within the 60 day comment period on the application.

Pat O’Mahony, the authority’s chief specialist in food technology, also said in the letter, however, that comments were provided and clarifications sought by Austria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and the UK. He said the company had responded to the comments and provided clarifications.

The following conditions apply to the approval for the use of UV-treated mushrooms:

  • The EU market approval applies to commercially grown Agaricus bisporus.
  • UV light treatment is applied to harvested mushrooms yielding a vitamin D content of up to and including μ10g/100g fresh weight.
  • In accordance with of Annex VI (Part A, 1) of EU Regulation 1169/2011, product labels will indicate that a controlled light treatment was used to increase vitamin D levels.

Benefits of Vitamin D-enriched mushrooms

Experts say access to dietary vitamin D is crucial In sunlight-starved regions, yet very few foods are naturally rich in this vitamin, which among other things is needed for strong bones and teeth, and even heart health. Wild mushrooms can be a good source of vitamin D2 but until recently their commercial cousins – usually grown and sold indoors – were not.

‘Vitamin D mushrooms’ were already on sale in supermarkets in countries including the UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada last year.

According to the Australian Mushroom Growers Association, mushrooms naturally contain ergosterol, which is a precursor to vitamin D. When exposed to any source of ultraviolet (UV) light e.g. sunlight or fluorescent light, ergosterol is converted to ergocalciferol (commonly known as vitamin D2).

Regular commercially grown mushrooms which are not specifically subjected to UV light contain moderate levels of vitamin D. Exposing these mushrooms to 1-2 seconds of UV light after harvesting increases vitamin D content while retaining the remaining nutrients and appearance of the mushrooms.