United Fresh 2011: Notes from the show floor

05/10/2011 02:15:00 PM
The Packer Staff

Leafy Greens Council

The Leafy Greens Council, St. Paul, Minn., is expanding its promotion of leafy greens served in the Denver public schools.

Ray Clark, the council’s executive director, said the soup and salad campaign serves 3,500 children through 80 salad bars.

Clark said the school district plans to expand the school-funded promotion. He said the council provides foodservice workers materials. Children vote on their favorite dishes in the program, which started four years ago.

“If we can present to children foods that are fun and enjoyable to eat, and more children every year eat the foods, it will be successful,” Clark said. “This program kind of eases the negativity associated with certain foods, like spinach.”

Merieux NutriSciences

Silliker Group Corp., Chicago, has become Merieux NutriSciences Corp.

The company continues to provide scientific expertise to those in the produce industry who need testing and auditing services.

About two months ago the name changed to reflect two other divisions of the operation, said Jessica Sawyer-Lueck, director of marketing and communications.

The food safety/quality division retains the Silliker name. Joining it under the Merieux umbrella are BioFortis, which does contract research about innovations in nutrition, and BioAgri, which is a research laboratory in Latin America for environmental, pharmaceutical, chemistry analysis and food technology.

Metz Fresh

After years of testing, Metz Fresh LLC, King City, Calif., is publicizing its “test and hold” food safety program.

The spinach, arugula and spring mix grower-shipper and packer uses primuslabs.com to test every lot of lettuce for salmonella and E. coli, said Jeanette DeConinck Hertzler, director of sales development.

“We want people to know,” she said. “The industry can’t quite get its arms around it. It’s taken three years to fine-tune this.”

In the past, such testing required three days. Today, it can be accomplished in 19 hours, DeConinck Hertzler said.

Monterey Mushrooms

Monterey Mushrooms Inc., Royal Oaks, Calif., plans a summer portabella promotion to run May 25 through Sept. 7.

Director of sales for the western region Mike Reed said consumers are familiar with buying portabellas for grilling, but the summer promotion highlights other uses.

Reed said part of the program encourages retailers to offer portabellas by the each, which gives lower price points than by the pound, which gives consumers a lower price point to get into the category.


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