Fruits & Vegetables

iFarm Project secures US$1m investment to boost its automated farming facilities

13 Feb 2019 --- Russian modular automated farms start-up iFarm Project has received a US$1m investment, which will be partly used to expand its reach and fund a pilot project in Europe.

Fungi snacks: Shrooms launches “adventurous” mushroom snack lineup

12 Feb 2019 --- South Mill Champs, one of the US’ largest mushroom growers, has launched a new snack food venture, Shrooms Snacks. The brand aims to provide adventurous tasting, better-for-you snacks using mushrooms grown and handpicked at the South Mill farms in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, US, also known as the “mushroom capital of the world.” The launch comes as plant-based snacking continues to make waves in the food industry, showing large-scale opportunities for growth.

Expect innovation: Fruit Logistica predicts shelf-life advancements as sustainability challenge heats up

07 Feb 2019 --- A new report by Fruit Logistica anticipates “significant innovation” in fresh produce packaging and supply chain management in the coming years. This prediction is based on increased consumer awareness of the environmental damage caused by food packaging and the need for greater shelf-life and efficiency in the supply chain.

Safeguarding food: CleanLight eyes increased safety standards for fruit

04 Feb 2019 --- Buyers of fruit, particularly apples and pears, place strict requirements on hygiene standards. Yet at the same time, producers are commonly confronted with stringent residue standards (MRL) concerning chemicals that could have initially prevented the growth germs. This is where CleanLight, a Netherlands-based technology company which uses a handheld light to kill parasites on plants, comes in. CleanLight says its technique is a clean and effective way to protect and strengthen against unwanted pathogens and help fruit exporters meet strict safety regulations.

“Concerning levels” of arsenic, cadmium and lead discovered in fruit juices, reveals Consumer Reports

31 Jan 2019 --- Non-profit US organization Consumer Reports (CR) has found “concerning levels” of heavy metals in almost half of the 45 popular fruit juices it tested. In a follow-up to previous tests in 2011, CR looked at four flavors (apple, fruit juice blends, grape and pear) from 24 national, store and private-label brands. Following the tests, CR is calling on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set “aggressive targets for cadmium, inorganic arsenic, and lead, in all fruit juices.”

Fixing a broken food system at Davos 2019: Ellen MacArthur Foundation unveils circular approach

24 Jan 2019 --- By 2050, five million people a year could die due to factors related to the industrial production of food – twice the current number of people killed by obesity. This is according to a report, published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, presented at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. The current food system has supported a fast-growing population and urbanization, but it’s not sustainable nor is it healthy. The harmful impact of pesticides, air and water pollution necessitate a circular economy approach to the food system, the report notes.

Tropextrakt adds calamansi citrus variety to its ingredients range

21 Dec 2018 --- Frankfurt-based company Tropextrakt has made calamansi, a small type of tropical citrus fruit, closely resembling a mandarin, available in Europe. The fruit is a hybrid between the mandarin orange and the oval kumquat. Its juice is suitable for many food applications, including beverages and dairy products.

Warmer winters possible threat to UK’s blackcurrant farming, study suggests

17 Dec 2018 --- UK winters may not be sufficiently cold for growing blackcurrants anymore, delaying the start of the growing season and resulting in reduced yields and lower fruit quality, according to new research from a group based at the James Hutton Institute, Scotland.

Diversifying bananas to avoid fungi threat: First sustainable “Dutch bananas” grown

13 Dec 2018 --- Researchers from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) have grown the “first Dutch bananas” in the greenhouses of the experimental farm Unifarm in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The unique research experiment uses two types of substrates – coco peat and rock wool – and wants to offer pioneering ways of growing bananas without the settlement of aggressive fungi that is threatening banana production around the globe.

Tapping into texture trends: UK launch for Crunchy Cranberries by Ocean Spray

27 Nov 2018 --- UK-based supplier of fresh fruit, ingredients and fruit snacks, J.O. Sims Ltd, has launched Crunchy Cranberries by Ocean Spray in the British market. Tapping into sensory trends toward texture and crunchiness, the crunchy ingredient format has been created using a new drying process and is intended to provide food manufacturers with new application and innovation opportunities, based on the fruit’s distinctive texture.

Total recall: Latest E.coli outbreak illustrates implementation need for blockchain

21 Nov 2018 --- The US and Canada have been shaken by yet another E.coli outbreak; this time for Romaine lettuce. The latest news comes amid a wave of E. coli concerns in the US and only further highlights the growing role for blockchain technologies in traceability, with pressure already mounting on suppliers from their retail customers.

Back to basics: Kellogg’s considers ditching cookies and fruit snacks to focus on core businesses

13 Nov 2018 --- The Kellogg Company is exploring the sale of its cookies and fruit snacks businesses to sharpen its focus on its core businesses, in a bid to make the company more agile, according to the company CEO. Investing in the areas of business with the highest growth opportunities is central to Kellogg's growth strategy and following an in-depth assessment, the company is looking into the sale which would include the Keebler, Famous Amos, Mother's and Murray brands.

E. coli investigation: Water from irrigation canal “most likely” cause of biggest US outbreak in a decade

06 Nov 2018 --- The US Food & Drug Administration has completed a full investigation into the country’s largest E.coli outbreak in more than a decade where five people died and scores of people were sick as a result of the food contamination. The probe provides an overview of factors that potentially contributed to the contamination of romaine lettuce with E. coli O157:H7 that has been implicated in the multistate foodborne illness outbreak.

Plant-based boost: Döhler Group to acquire a majority stake in Nutrafood

22 Oct 2018 --- The Döhler Group is to acquire a majority stake in Nutrafood S.r.l., in a move the company says marks a “milestone” toward achieving a leading position in the plant-based nutrition segment. Nutrafood's portfolio complements Döhler’s range in the area of plant-based food and beverages, where the company currently provides solutions in categories ranging from smoothies to spoonables. 

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.