2012 Companies in the News

12/28/2012 10:28:00 AM
Dan Galbraith

Fresh produce-related companies and associations in the news in 2012:

JANUARY

Delta Produce LP, a longtime San Antonio-based company, and its related company, Superior Tomato and Avocado, are facing Perishable Agriculture Commodities Act complaints, with about $600,000 in PACA claims filed against them ... The same day Delta filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Delta filed another suit, for $100 million in damages against retailer H.E. Butt Co. ... McDonald’s features growers and ranchers in a series of TV ads launched in early January ... Earthbound Farm has a new fruit division and plans to expand fruit selection through imports ... Beaumont, Texas-based Jason’s Deli decided to drop sprouts from its menu nationwide after frequent calls and concerns about the safety of sprouts ...

FEBRUARY

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., intends to enter the realm of healthy food labeling this spring with its Great For You icon, slated for more than 50 fresh produce items in its Marketside line ... Longtime Philadelphia produce distributor Al Finer Co. has closed at the Philadelphia Wholesale Market ... Florida tomato and vegetable grower-shipper Lipman, Immokalee, Fla., has greatly expanded its reach, moving into a San Antonio repacking facility recently vacated by a company undergoing bankruptcy and buying a North Carolina repacker ... Chiquita Brands International Inc. plans to expand its Fresh Express line by growing its organic business, increasing private-label salads and getting into head lettuce ... After dropping sprouts from its menu, Jimmy John’s remained largely silent for a week on an E. coli outbreak linked to the commodity and the company ...

MARCH

Wal-Mart hinted it may cut food prices but was mum on the details ... Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is remodeling stores to devote about 10,000 square feet each to fresh foods, including produce ... Sunkist Growers’ revenue passed the $1 billion mark in 2010-11, the Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based company announced ...

APRIL

Chiquita pulls out of the California avocado deal and plans to end its Fresh & Ready avocado sales from all sources within months ... Naturipe Farms LLC, Salinas, Calif., plans to feature Disney characters on new packaging for its Berry Quick fresh blueberry snacks ... Guadalupe, Calif.-based Apio Inc., has acquired GreenLine Foods Inc., bringing the California shipper into the value-added green bean business and giving it a substantial presence on the East Coast ...

MAY

Merger talks between the two major produce associations, the United Fresh Produce Association and the Produce Marketing Association, heat up during the United Fresh expo in Dallas ... Irwindale, Calif.-based Ready Pac Foods Inc. is the latest produce company to partner with a Disney brand, boasting a new line of child-size salads and snacks featuring fresh produce ... NatureSweet Ltd., San Antonio, is suing rival tomato grower-shipper Mastronardi Produce Ltd. for alleged trademark infringement involving branded grape tomatoes ... Salinas, Calif.-based GreenGate Fresh took over operations of Metz Fresh LLC in a deal that adds spinach, spring mix and arugula to GreenGate’s product mix ... Dole Food Co. Inc., Westlake Village, Calif., posted lower first-quarter revenue than 2011 and said it may spin off its packaged food business to raise up to $1 billion ... McDonald’s is offering fresh blueberries with oatmeal in a seasonal promotion ... A partnership between Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. and Jackson Farming Co., Autryville, N.C., will mean locally grown berries and melons at 16 supermarkets in the area ... River Ranch Fresh Foods is closing its Salinas, Calif., processing plant and moving those operations to Taylor Farms’ foodservice and retail salad facilities in Salinas ...

JUNE

The Packer prepares for its first Midwest Produce Conference & Expo in August ... Albert Bartlett’s Rooster brand potatoes will be available for the first time in the U.S. this fall at Wal-Mart stores through a partnership with MountainKing Potatoes ...

JULY

Ready Pac Foods Inc. plans to ship a new line of Disney-themed mini meals and salads under its Cool Cuts label ... Campbell Soup Co. buys carrot company Bolthouse Farms ... The fight heats up for marketing rights on Cuties clementines as Paramount Citrus and Sun Pacific Marketing go through legal arbitration ... The proposed merger between PMA and United Fresh derails on leadership differences ... With the acquisition of Healds Valley Farms, Paramount Citrus Association adds thousands of acres and Healds’ red grapefruit ...

AUGUST

Fresh-cut produce increases bolster Fresh DelMonte’s bottom line as the Coral Gables, Fla.-based company posts higher second-quarter earnings ... Chiquita plans to return to basics and seeks a new CEO ... San Juan Bautista, Calif.-based Church Bros. introduces a red spinach variety ... Burch Farms pulls all of its melon shipments following the confirmation of listeria contamination at its melons packing facility in Faison, N.C. ... The Packer’s first Midwest Produce Conference & Expo exceeds expectations as regional shows grow in popularity ... The Texas Produce Association is now the Texas International Produce Association, reflecting the shift from domestic issues to cross-border trade with rising imports from Mexico ...

SEPTEMBER

New Jersey wholesale produce broker Frank Donio Inc. is paying more than $650,000 in back wages to more than 500 temporary workers and is suing the employment agency that provided the workers ... Bolthouse Farms expects children to eat its new ShakeDowns like they’re junk food ... More produce may join the menu at McDonald’s ... A hologram of the Jolly Green Giant projected into New York’s Grand Central Station kicks off a marketing campaign seeking pledges from children to eat more vegetables ... Wal-Mart, insurer Humana, partner to give 5% savings on healthful food ...

OCTOBER

Chiquita Brands International decides to leave the deciduous fruit business ... Kroger stops selling sprouts ... Green Giant Fresh is adding 15 fruit and vegetable products to its retail line and drops clamshells in favor of pouches ... Bryan Silbermann envisions a global future for PMA at another successful Fresh Summit (with attendance records) that was hurried along by Hurricane Sandy, ... The two biggest blueberry exporters in South America are now joined, and that should bring many more imported berries under Naturipe’s sales banner in the U.S. as Hortifrut SA, one of the partner-owners of Naturipe, merged with Santiago-based Vital Berry ... Growth in its global fresh-cut business helps Del Monte Fresh Produce Inc. post third-quarter gains ...

NOVEMBER

Ready Pac Foods Inc., Irwindale, Calif., has begun shipments of new fresh-cut fruit products featuring pears, oranges and kumquats, among other commodities ... East Coast Brokers and Packers Inc., one of Florida’s largest tomato grower-shippers, bows out of the tomato business amid mounting creditor claims ... Sun Pacific Cos. wins exclusive sales rights for the Cuties brand its legal battle with Paramount Citrus ...

DECEMBER

United Kingdom-based retailer Tesco weighs its options after acknowledging its Fresh & Easy format hasn’t worked in the U.S. like it had expected ... Total Produce Plc will acquire a majority interest in the Oppenheimer Group in two transactions over the next four years.



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