Chiquita expands port presence

Chiquita Brands International Inc., Charlotte, N.C., expanded and renovated the port at Terminal Ferroviaria de Puerto Barrios, Guatemala.

A celebration on Sept. 11 marked the inauguration of the new facilities.

The $30 million project was completed in partnership with the government of Guatemala and is part of Chiquita’s reconfiguration of shipping rotations.

“For more than 100 years Puerto Barrios has been a strategic point of embarkation and entry for Chiquita and Guatemala. We are very grateful to the people of Guatemala and delighted to join with President Otto Perez Molina, whose participation has made this expansion possible,” Ed Lonergan, Chiquita’s president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.

The company also returned shipping operations to Port of New Orleans earlier this year after nearly 40 years.

“We at Chiquita are thrilled to return to the port and the great city of New Orleans as we implement a new shipping configuration,” said Mario Pacheco, senior vice president.

Chiquita plans to ship 30,000 to 39,000 TEUs of bananas and other fresh fruit into the Port of New Orleans, as well as 30,000 to 39,000 TEUs of various outbound cargos with shipments in New Orleans expected to begin by the first quarter of 2015, according to a news release.

 

Del Monte ripens

fruit in Toronto

Del Monte Fresh Produce, Coral Gables, Fla., opened a multipurpose facility in Toronto, which started ripening bananas in February.

Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing for Del Monte, said the new location houses a fresh-cut fruit and vegetable processing plant and is designed to service all channels including conventional retailers, supercenters, convenience stores and foodservice customers.

“We will be utilizing the facility as a banana ripening center as well as a forward distribution center for a variety of our fresh products,” Christou said.

 

Dole banana tour

‘peels the love’

Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Food Co. continued its Peel the Love promotion into 2014 with good results.

“From the number of recipes offered to dual nationwide Dole Peel the Love Banana Cabana tours stopping at more retailers across the country, we expanded every aspect of the campaign this year and the response has been tremendous,” said Bil Goldfield, director of corporate communications.

Goldfield said the company has received great feedback and said the company’s retail partners were able to benefit from integrated marketing and social media programs, which announced and promoted retail tour stops in advance, helping increase traffic directly to stores.

The company is already considering the program, which launched in 2013, for next year as well.

“Looking to the future, our goal will be to expand the spirit of Peel the Love in 2015 with more in-store promotions, sampling and other tangible ways for consumers to connect with the brand and unwrap the potential of America’s favorite fruit,” Goldfield said.

 

Oke USA bananas enjoy growth

The Equal Exchange banana program, Oke USA, grew last year.

Jessica Jones-Hughes, vice president of West Bridgewater, Mass.-based Oke USA and produce coordinator for Equal Exchange, said the banana conference in Boston in March was part of this growth, among other efforts.

“The Equal Exchange banana team traveled to new banana distribution areas in North Carolina for promotion of bananas in early September and will travel across the U.S. during Fairtrade month in October to promote Equal Exchange bananas and avocados,” Jones-Hughes said.

She expects a strong end to the year, especially as natural food stores and independent retailers continue to thrive in a market where consumers are seeking an alternative to the more conventional options.

The banana program continues to be supplied by small banana farmers in Peru and Ecuador.

 

Organics Unlimited boosts GROW label

Mayra Velazquez de Leon, president of San Diego-based Organics Unlimited, said the company has expanded its GROW-labeled bananas to the East Coast.

“We started in Philadelphia last year and it’s going very well. We’re expanding little by little,” she said.

In addition, the company featured its GROW label during September.

“We give away banana bags to distributors and promote the social responsible aspects of the brand. POP materials are online for retailers as well,” Velazquez de Leon said.