Fruits & Vegetables

Genome editing: Could the groundcherry become the next big fruit crop?

03 Oct 2018 --- With the help of CRISPR genome editing, researchers have discovered how to take a little-known fruit called the groundcherry (Physalis Pruinosa) from almost wild to almost domesticated in a just a few years. And, the “new” fruit is being tipped as a contender for favorites like strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. The groundcherry, which is around the size of a marble, could become agriculture's next big berry crop.

Passina sells Dutch blending operations to Döhler, refocuses on core passion fruit business

03 Oct 2018 --- The Döhler Group and Passina have reached an agreement on the acquisition of Concentra Europe BV (more commonly known in the industry under the “Passina” brand). The move means that the Döhler Group will be the owner of Passina's Dutch and German subsidiaries, as Passina refocuses on its core passion fruit business. No financial details of the deal have been disclosed and the proposed transaction has now been filed with the relevant antitrust authorities. It is conditional upon their approval, according to the company.

US food safety: FDA draft guidance calls for releasing retailer lists during recalls

27 Sep 2018 --- The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued new draft guidance that will help determine when it is necessary and appropriate for retailers to be publicly identified when a food recall or outbreak is underway. Agency policy has prohibited the release of such information, citing considerations for “confidential” business relationships.

Tracking leafy greens: Walmart urges suppliers to contribute to blockchain database

27 Sep 2018 --- Rapidly pinpointing potential food contamination is one of the major virtues of blockchain – that’s why US retail giant Walmart is lauding the benefits of tracking lettuce and spinach through the supply chain using this burgeoning technology. The move is aimed at seriously ramping up food safety following US outbreaks of E. coli in romaine lettuce and salmonella in a number of products from eggs to breakfast cereal.

Strawberry sabotage spreads: New Zealand supermarket removes strawberries after needles found

25 Sep 2018 --- A week after the first strawberries were found with needles inside them in Australia, in a dangerous food tampering act which has shocked the nation, needles have also been found in New Zealand strawberries.

Relief strategy: Almond and cherry subsidies added to Trump’s bailout package for farmers

24 Sep 2018 --- Producers of shelled almonds and fresh sweet cherries will be able to apply for part of a bailout package aimed at mitigating the losses suffered by US farmers in the midst of country’s trade disputes. In July, President Trump pledged a US$12 billion emergency bailout package for producers affected by escalating trade disputes. At the time much, the US Administration said that much of the aid would be directed towards payments to farmers of soybeans, sorghum and wheat, but now it’s been extended to include almonds and cherries.

Functional fruit: Dirafrost refreshes smoothie market with new range

18 Sep 2018 --- Frozen food company Dirafrost FFI (Dirafrost), part of Agrana Fruit and well known for its fruit and fruit purees, is stepping out of its comfort zone and refreshing the smoothie market. The company already had a range of 11 smoothies, but now, according to the company, their new range changes the tone. 

Saving ugly produce: Full Harvest achieves US$8.5m in funding

22 Aug 2018 --- Full Harvest, a marketplace for excess produce that would otherwise go to waste has closed an $8.5 million Series A round of financing led by Spark Capital. New investors Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, Rent the Runway Founder Jenny Fleiss, Jon Scherr (CircleUp) and Adam Zeplain of Mark.vc, as well as previous investors, including Seed lead Wireframe Ventures, also joined the round.

Asda removes plastic wrapping from swedes while maintaining shelf-life

21 Aug 2018 --- UK supermarket chain Asda has announced that it will be removing plastic wrapping from its swedes as of this week. Each year, the retailer sells almost six million of the root vegetable, with the removal of their wraps expected to result in a reduction of 14 tons of plastic. The removal of the packaging is expected to have no effect on shelf-life and comes as part of the supermarket’s sustainability goal to achieve 100 percent recyclable packaging across all own brand products by 2025.

Cutting banana waste: Convenient packaging solution launched in Korea

17 Aug 2018 --- In light of recent findings from the Joint Research Centre (JRC) which revealed that EU households generate roughly 35kg of fresh fruit and vegetable waste per person, per year, “lifestyle hacks” to prevent avoidable waste are high in demand. Notably, Korean grocery store E-Mart has presented a clever packaging concept designed to reduce the number of bananas which are wasted by consumers once purchased.

European Salmonella outbreaks highlight compliance information needs, claims SGS

09 Aug 2018 --- The rise in unexplained European cases of salmonella poisoning linked to the use of cucumbers in ready-to-eat foods reminds manufacturers about the need to stay informed on food compliance matters, according to SGS Digicomply (SGS), a regulatory intelligence network. The company provides tailored data to help businesses mitigate against the risk of non-compliance.

Extended shelf-life tomatoes: Arcadia and Shriram reach milestone

23 Jul 2018 --- Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., an agricultural food ingredient company, and Shriram Bioseed, a leading research and hybrid seed development company, have announced the achievement of a key milestone in developing extended shelf life (ESL) tomatoes. Bioseed has field tested Arcadia’s ESL technology in multiple tomato hybrid backgrounds in multiple locations and seasons. Significant and consistent improvements in field yield and fruit quality, such as firmness, shelf-life and color development, were observed. These new hybrids are in the pre-commercial, wide area field testing stage with anticipated launch in 2019.

The consolidating ingredients sector: Ingredion convergence epitomizes a tightening sector

23 Jul 2018 --- The integration of several portfolios into a single larger ingredient entity was a key theme at the IFT 2018 Food Expo in Chicago last week. The relatively small trade show floor was a reminder of how many previous exhibiting companies have been swallowed up over recent years, in order to be integrated into the likes of DSM (e.g. Martek, Ocean Nutrition Canada and Fortitech), Kerry (e.g. Ganeden, Red Arrow and Biothera), ADM (Wild Flavors) and IFF (Ottens Flavors and David Michael). Naturex (currently being acquired by Givaudan) could be the next to disappear from a show floor, amid a consolidating ingredients world, where questions must soon be raised about a growing lack of competition and diversity in ultimate holding companies. 

Swedish investigation: Frozen strawberries linked to Hepatitis A virus

11 Jul 2018 --- Public health officials in Sweden are probing an outbreak of Hepatitis A in Sweden. Thirteen people are thought to be infected with the virus from a batch of frozen strawberries that were imported from Poland. The Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten), the National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) and local authorities are involved in the investigation which comes after eleven confirmed cases and two suspected cases were reported.

“Natural” laser labels: Eco-friendly packaging option for fruit and vegetables hits Dutch shelves

08 Jun 2018 --- Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo has launched a so-called “natural label” on a selection of its organic vegetables range, marking a move into the mainstream for the technology. The “natural label” is achieved through the use of laser technology that makes it possible to display the indication of “organic” directly onto the produce, without the need for additional packaging material. The method holds potential for further retailers who are looking to reduce plastic packaging and reduce their environmental footprint.

Garden Gourmet makes UK debut: Nestlé targets flexitarians

28 May 2018 --- Nestlé is bringing the Garden Gourmet food brand to the UK, "offering delicious and healthy meat-free products for food lovers looking to cut down on meat but not wanting to compromise on taste." Answering the popular consumer lifestyle trend; flexitarianism, or eating less meat and more plant-based protein, Garden Gourmet is claimed to offer an exciting variety of “scrumptious meat alternatives” made with the highest quality ingredients.

Tesco to cut food waste by ditching fruit and vegetable “Best Before” dates 

22 May 2018 --- UK retailer Tesco is scrapping “Best Before” consumption guidance dates from almost 70 fruit and vegetable lines in its latest move to help reduce food waste. The move is being made to help prevent perfectly edible food from being thrown away and is part of the supermarkets ongoing efforts to cut waste. It follows a recent campaign by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) into causes of food waste which found that less than half of respondents understood the meaning of “Best Before” dates.

Fruit fillings: Puratos highlights growing need for natural ingredients

11 Apr 2018 --- Consumer demand for natural products is increasing continually. The latest “Taste Tomorrow” survey, from Puratos, has revealed a distinct consumer preference for fruit because it is both natural and tasty. Not only did the Taste Tomorrow survey reveal a preference for fruit on the part of the consumer and the customers; demand for cleaner label products was also clearly expressed, including products without artificial preservatives, colorings and flavorings.

World first: Plastic-free supermarket aisle opens in Amsterdam

01 Mar 2018 --- Organic supermarket chain, Ekoplaza, has opened the world’s first plastic-free aisle in its Amsterdam store in what is seen as a major victory for the international A Plastic Planet campaign. Plans are ahead to roll-out further plastic-free aisles across all of Ekoplaza’s 74 branches by the end of 2018, including a new store in The Hague, which is set to open later this year.

Total Produce strikes US$300 million deal for 45 percent Dole Food stake

01 Feb 2018 --- Ireland-based fruit and vegetable giant Total Produce plans to make a significant investment in US rival Dole Food Company with proposals to acquire a 45 percent stake in the iconic fruit brand and create a powerful partnership. The transaction brings together two of the world’s leading fresh produce companies, with complementary market positions in various product segments and geographies, and represents a very significant step in the history of Total Produce, whose range includes deciduous fruits, tropical fruits, citrus fruits, salads, stone fruits and vegetables.