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International Sweet Potato Week 2016 kicks off next Monday

Last year, imports of American Sweet Potatoes into Europe rose 35% on 2014, and with their increasing popularity In Europe, as in the US, are expected to increase further this year.

International Sweet Potato Week – taking place March 14 to 24 – will put the spotlight on the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Poland.

An initiative of the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission and the American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute, the week is designed to convince more consumers, chefs and culinary journalist to cook with sweet potatoes.

During the week, a wide range of information, including recipes, cooking methods and facts about sweet potatoes, will be shared via social media.

In the Netherlands and Belgium, the week will kick off with the attendance of the Agricultural Attache of the US Embassy in the Netherlands, Susan Philips.

Over the course of the week, importers, supermarkets, greengrocers and restaurants will give the sweet potato some extra attention in their displays and offer special prices for sweet potatoes as an added incentive for consumers to try them.

Sweet potatoes are rich in fibre, vitamins and beta-carotene, and are a diverse vegetable suited to consumption in different ways throughout the day, “from breakfast till dessert,” the weeks’ organisers say.

Last year, imports of American Sweet Potatoes into Europe rose 35% on 2014, and with their increasing popularity In Europe, as in the US, are expected to increase further this year. Thankfully, the storms which raged over the US did not cause as much damage as supply of this product is actually set to increase. According to recent figures from the USDA, the 2015/2016 sweet potato planted area is up 14%, and the harvest will be 5% above that of the previous season.

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Apple cosies used to promote Pink Lady at Asda

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A free apple cosy will be offered with every purchase of a 1kg bag of Pink Lady apples as part of a promotion campaign in outlets of the UK retailer Asda.

Assistant marketing manager for Pink Lady, Maxime Delacour, said the cosy is intended to help customers protect their apple wherever they go, “meaning their snack is always in perfect condition.”

The offer, which began on February 29, will run in 340 stores nationwide with a flash label on the front of each pack highlighting the free cosy. The deal will run for about three weeks (while stocks last).

In a press release, fresh produce brand marketing specialist Coregeo Ltd said Asda hopes the promotion – which it said is the first of its kind for Pink Lady in the UK – will bring more customers to the fruit and veg area.

Coregeo is the UK’s master licensor for both the Pink Lady and Tenderstem brands.

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Citrus District of Sicily – a network of quality producers

The Citrus District of Sicily is the first ground-breaking consortium formed in the region to create synergy between private marketing and processing companies, along with local authorities and the farming world.

An increasing number of wholesalers and operators in the fruit and vegetable markets are seeking out Italian fruit, due to the sentiment and identity bound up with certainty about its geographical origin, guaranteed by its PDO and PGI certificates and its quality, and also because they realise that Italian consumers are willing to buy citrus fruit when they know it comes from Sicily.

Synergies are needed to promote the excellent quality of Sicilian agri-food products at every level, as this is probably the only way to make more space for the firms in this value chain and improve their returns. Founded in 2011, the Citrus District of Sicily is the first ground-breaking consortium formed in the region to create synergy between private marketing and processing companies, along with local authorities and the farming world. The district, chaired since its foundation by agronomist Federica Argentati, represents over 2,000 sector members and over 21,000 ha of orchards and has an annual turnover of over €400 million.

Discussing upcoming strategies, Argentati believes it is necessary for the district to also become a monitoring authority for citrus production in Sicily, since it is currently almost impossible to gain clear knowledge of the volumes produced, as the information sent is often incomplete or confused, with reports often even contradicting each other. “To be more competitive, we need to know about the production volumes in real-time, as well as the quality of our products,” Argentati said.

Image source: ‘Sicilian citrus fruits. A day in the island of the sun.’ video

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New EU promotion policy for farm products starts today

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“Enjoy, it’s from Europe”: the new European Commission promotion policy that applies as of today will help the sector’s professionals break into or consolidate international markets and make European consumers more aware of the efforts made by European farmers, according to the commission.

It has promised to make more resources available, to increase the co-financing rate and to cut the red tape for the approval of projects. “This is part of an effort to increase progressively the available EU budget for promotion, from €61 million in 2013 (when the new rules were proposed) to €200 million in 2019,” the commission said in a press release.

The 2016 programme targets a selected list of non-EU countries where there is the highest potential for growth in particular to the sectors experiencing a particularly difficult market situation, like dairy and pig meat. Of the total amount, €30 million were specifically earmarked in the support package unveiled by Commissioner Hogan early September to support promotion measures in these two sectors. 

Money for promotional programmes

The British Leafy Salads Association (BLSA) is one of two UK organisations among 33 beneficiaries of new EU funding for initiatives aimed at promoting agricultural products, reports Croner-i.

The BLSA will receive €142,480 from the Commission to promote fresh fruit and vegetables. It was funded as part of the last tranche of promotional programmes to be approved under the system established by EU Regulation 3/2008. From today (December 1, 2015) the new rules introduced by Regulation 1144/2014 will see a wider range of products and organisations eligible for funding.

For more information on “Enjoy, it’s from Europe“: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/promotion/policy/index_en.htm

Image: By Amio Cajander [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Freshfel calls for fresh ideas to boost consumption

Freshfel Europe stimulates sector to re-think consumption of fruit and vegetables

‘Think outside the box’ and seek creative ways to stimulate consumers to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables – that’s one of the messages from Freshfel Europe’s annual policy event held yesterday in Brussels.

The call comes amid figures from the association which show some consumption of some types of fresh fruit and vegetables has slid considerably.

In a press release, Freshfel said the fresh produce sector should continue to move ahead to stimulate consumption and enhance the positive image of fresh produce, two things that are among its priorities for the year ahead.

Freshfel said that at its annual policy event, several speakers presented creative ways to promote fresh produce. Samuel Levie, from Food Cabinet in the Netherlands, started the day with a presentation on a successful low-budget campaign called ‘Big Bang Broccoli’ as well as a campaign called ‘Power to the Pieper’ to promote the humble potato as a contemporary superfood.

Images from Power to the Pieper video

Daniel Fritz, a social media expert working among others for the European Commission, raised awareness about how the fresh produce sector can profit more by using social media to spread positive messages on its produce. He showed some surprising keywords and recommendations the fresh produce sector can use.

“Consumers are aware of the healthy aspects of fruit and vegetables, but more can be done to promote the fun and positive effects of fruit and vegetables,” said Freshfel Europe president Luc Clerx. In the foreword to the association’s 2015 activity report,

Luc Clerx President of Freshfel Europe

Clerx had strong words for the European Commission, which he said was now “eager to remove the successful school fruit and vegetables scheme.”  He defended the scheme as an essential tool for changing the diet of European consumers in the long run.

Other priorities for Freshfel in the coming year are to encourage the competitiveness of European fruit and vegetables production, to move ahead on food and plant safety and research and innovation, and to enhance trade while also securing efficient health and nutrition policies.

Freshfel Europe is the European Fresh Produce Association and represents the interests of the fresh fruit and vegetables supply chain in Europe and beyond.

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Sun World launches new consumer website

Sun World said online searches related to grapes occur in the hundreds of thousands every month.

Do you know the best way to freeze grapes for a cool, sweet summer treat? Ever tried pan roasted chicken with green grapes?

California’s Sun World International, LLC has unveiled a new web site that provides just such information and inspiration and covers about anything consumers might want to know about table grapes.

Grape recipes, how-to guides and health Information are among the topics covered on the site, which has been optimised for accurate viewing on any device.


Frozen seedless grapes

Included is the answer to what Google Trends shows is one of the most common queries regarding grapes: how many calories in them? The answer is just 90 in a cup-and-a-half serving, the new Sun World site says.

In a press release, the company said online searches related to grapes occur in the hundreds of thousands every month.     

“Like all of our marketing activities, the new Sun World website was designed based on consumer insights to help us better engage, educate and entertain people,” program marketing manager Natalie Erlendson said.

“The website is part of a larger strategy to build Sun World as the trusted brand for grapes which can increase demand and drive consumption for our customers,” executive vice president Gordon  Robertson said.

Sun World said it is a leading innovator in the research, production, distribution and promotion of fresh  produce.

It maintains vertically integrated table grape operations in the Coachella and San Joaquin Valleys of California, as well as a licensed growing and marketing program with leading  agricultural operations in Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe, South America, Israel and South Africa.

See the new Sun World site at www.Sun-­World.com.  

 


 

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How Australia could sell more cucumber, cauliflower and other veg

Encouraging Australia's cucumber-buying households to buy cucumber as frequently as they did a year ago could achieve another (AUD) $4.8 million in sales value, Ausveg says.

Emphasise that vegetables like carrots and cucumbers make ideal raw, healthy snacks that can be eaten on the go.

And for other vegetables, highlight the benefits they bring to a meal – like the taste and nutrition of celery, or the variety that pumpkin adds.

These are among tips recently shared by the Australian horticultural body Ausveg, drawing on Nielsen Homescan data.

In a press release this month, Ausveg said Nielsen’s market research identified multi-million dollar opportunities for the Australian vegetable industry via areas with potential for growing vegetable consumption or that could benefit from better product positioning.

For instance, encouraging cucumber-buying households to buy cucumber as frequently as they did a year ago could achieve another (AUD) $4.8 million in sales value, Ausveg spokesperson Kurt Hermann said.

“In some instances, the industry could capitalise on already-increasing sales value – for example, we’ve seen an increase in the value of cauliflower sales on last year, and Nielsen have found an opportunity to gain a further $1.3 million in the senior couples demographic,” he said.

Read the release here.
Cucumber image: by Mgmoscatello (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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How to be a must-see at Fruit Attraction

Organisers of this year’s Fruit Attraction fair in Madrid aim to attract 1,000 companies and 46,000 professionals from 90 countries.

Ten tips for success at the 2015 event from Fruit Attraction managing director Raúl Calleja

Organisers of this year’s Fruit Attraction aim to attract 1,000 companies and 46,000 professionals from 90 countries.
At a recent workshop organised by the 5 al Día organisation, Fruit Attraction managing director Raúl Calleja shared his advice on how to maximise success from this annual event in Madrid.
“You’re not buying square metres but the interest of thousands of clients. It’s a commercial tool for starting business relationships with operators worldwide and increasingly the market international buyers use to select products,” Calleja stressed.

Here are his tips:

1. Organise your participation together with the FA15 organisers
Find out what tools they can put at your disposal and let them share their experience to develop your strategy.

2. Stand out from the crowd
Create a message to communicate that is specific to Fruit Attraction 2015 and that will capture the attention of your targets.

3 Ensure this message appears in all you do to promote your participation
It should take centre stage in your stand image, corporate identity, pre-show, invitations, ads in the trade press. the goal is to make yourself a must-see at FA15! Get people talking about your company and products before the event – create expectations and interest.

4. Pre-show calls to action & organisation
Create an enticing invitation for your desired visitors telling them where you’ll be and why to see you. It’s not enough to just say “Visit us”.
The goal is to generate traffic to your stand with pre-show marketing and promotion. Consider sharing promotion costs with other companies. Organise social media, web banners, newsletters and so on.

5 Make use of the Fruit Attraction programme for international guests
You may be able to invite someone with their costs paid.

6 Harness the tools for exhibitors in the Trade Meeting Point

7 Get your stand design right
Research shows that when someone enters a stand area, with their eyes they look around left to right but physically they usually move from right to left. Keep this in mind and orientate your stand accordingly.

8 Prepare your team for the stand.

Your stand is a point of reception so your representatives should always be identified in some way so visitors know who to speak to. Your stand should also be a centre of organisation that helps optimise your time.

9 Make your stand design the most functional possible

Remember, it’s your headquarters while you’re there.

10 Take advantage of all the promotional tools that FA15 puts at your disposal

Follow updates:
Twitter: @fruitattraction
Facebook: /fruitattraction
Fruit Attraction web: www.ifema.es/fruitattraction_06/

See Calleja’s original presentation in Spanish via the link here.

 

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US to spend $173.2 million promoting exports of its farm products

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The US Government has announced funds of more than $173 million to be used next year to increase exports of American agricultural products.

Washington apple growers, Florida citrus producers, California’s table grape sector and the Northwest pear industry are among those set to benefit from multi-million dollar allocations.

 

Cranberry, cling peach, cherry, sweet potato, tomato, and organic produce organisations are also among the recipients.

 

Through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Market Access Program (MAP), the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) will provide $173.2 million (up from nearly $172 million last year) to 62 nonprofit organisations and cooperatives. Participants contribute an average 214% match for generic marketing and promotion activities and a dollar-for-dollar match for promotion of branded products by small businesses and cooperatives.

 

MAP focuses on consumer promotion, including brand promotion for small companies and cooperatives, and is used extensively by organisations promoting fruits, vegetables, nuts, processed products, and bulk and intermediate commodities.

 

Meanwhile, under the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program (also known as the Cooperator Program), FAS will allocate $26.7 million (up from $24.6 million last year) to 22 trade organizations that represent U.S. agricultural producers.

 

The FMD program focuses on trade servicing and capacity building by helping to create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for US agricultural products.

 

An independent study released in 2010 found that trade promotion programs like MAP and FMD provide $35 in economic benefits for every dollar spent by government and industry on market development, the USDA said in a press release.

 

“The past six years represent the strongest period for U.S. agricultural exports in the history of the United States. Farm exports in fiscal year 2014 reached a record $152.5 billion and supported 1 million jobs in the United States,” it also said.

Here is our summary of this year and last year’s funding most relevant to the fresh fruit and vegetable sector:

 

USDA Market Access Program (MAP) funding: Participant FY 2015 Allocation FY 2014 Allocation
Food Export Association of Midwest $10,272,114 $9,637,643
Food Export USA Northeast $8,896,086 $8,138,985
Western US Agricultural Trade Association $7,705,129 $8,097,508
Southern United States Trade Association $7,152,346 $5,874,329
Washington Apple Commission $5,179,019 $4,930,752
National Potato Promotion Board $4,998,822 $3,647,427
Florida Department of Citrus $4,383,830 $3,885,364
California Table Grape Commission $3,424,871 $3,093,070
Pear Bureau Northwest $3,069,707 $2,926,873
California Prune Board $3,023,063 $2,668,406
Raisin Administrative Committee $3,018,117 $827,922
Sunkist Growers, Inc. $2,660,274 $2,372,577
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture $2,329,520 $3,533,072
Cranberry Marketing Committee* $1,791,836 $1,561,170
Washington State Fruit Commission $1,685,709 $1,361,810
U.S. Apple Export Council $998,650 $712,727
Welch Foods, Inc. $932,734 $834,411
California Agricultural Export Council $861,378 $1,228,525
Organic Trade Association $784,902 $746,912
Intertribal Agriculture Council $728,492 $642,528
California Cling Peach Growers Advisory Board $500,182 $444,892
California Pear Advisory Board $468,842 $442,081
California Cherry Marketing and Research Board $443,722 $519,189
New York Wine and Grape Foundation $422,674 $484,886
California Grape and Tree Fruit League $413,125 $420,800
Synergistic Hawaii Agriculture Council $379,415 $388,412
Cherry Marketing Institute $290,042 $204,115
American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute $200,000 $200,000
Florida Tomato Committee $3,578  
National Watermelon Promotion Board   $290,367
*Cranberry Marketing Committee also received the following in Foreign Market Development Funds (FMD) $182,665 $153,754