Fall avocados business updates

08/15/2013 10:33:00 AM
Jim Offner

Calavo Growers hires two salesmen

Santa Paula, Calif.-based avocado grower-shipper Calavo Growers Inc. has hired two salesmen in recent months, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing.

The newcomers, Stephan Eckel and Joe Nava, bring previous sales experience in the avocado business, although Wedin declined to say from where.

Calavo also has implemented a new software system this year, Weden said.

Commission serves breakfast suggestions

The Irvine-based California Avocado Commission is turning to breakfast in some of its promotions, said Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing.

“We stepped up messaging about promoting for breakfast applications and consumer direct messaging, so we just want to elevate tying in avocados with breakfast,” she said.

The commission also reported having had its “most successful Fourth of July promotion ever,” in which members moved 98 million pounds of fruit.

“We’ve had good success in building the Fourth as a consumption event,” DeLyser said.

In 2013, the commission reported. California shipped 100.4 million pounds for Super Bowl promotions and 100.1 million pounds related to Cinco de Mayo.

Chilean importers group picks director

Karen Brux is the new director of the Chilean Avocado Importers Association, having taken over for the retiring Tom Tjerandsen as director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association in January.

Brux, who is based in San Carlos, Calif., took over as CAIA’s leader in June.

She had been vice president of communications for the California Table Grape Association, Reedley, in 2010-11. Brux had spent nearly 20 years with New Zealand-based fruit marketer Zespri.

Giumarra covers U.S.  with distribution centers

Escondido, Calif.-based Giumarra Agricom International has expanded its reach across the U.S. The company now has 20 distribution centers that are “strategically placed” in order to meet the needs of retail and foodservice customers across the country, said Gary Caloroso, marketing director.

“Because we view our customers as full-fledged partners, we provide customized marketing programs that help them drive sales and increase consumption,” he said.

Henry Avocado to add ripening rooms

Escondido, Calif.-based Henry Avocado Corp. plans to add ripening rooms to its complement of 54, said Phil Henry president.

“We’re going to be adding a few more of them coming on in the fall,” Henry said, although he said the company wasn’t sure how many new rooms would be built.

Each of Henry Avocado’s ripening rooms has a capacity of 10-12 pallets, Henry said.

Index Fresh relocates HQ to Riverside, Calif.

Index Fresh Inc. has moved its corporate administrative and sales offices and headquarters from Bloomington, Calif., to Riverside, Calif., although its packing operation remains in Bloomington, said Dana Thomas, president.

The company moved into a 6,000-square-foot office building in downtown Riverside May 2013, he said.

“That allows us to have more room at our packinghouse,” he said.

The move also allowed for expanded production space in the packinghouse, he said.

Index Fresh also hired Tim Threadgill to its sales staff. Threadgill first joined the company as an intern while he was finishing an agriculture business management degree at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

“Over the last nine months or so, he’s worked himself into the sales position,” Thomas said.

Index Fresh also has hired Luis Avila as production director. Avila came to the company with production experience at Ready Pac Foods in Irwindale, Calif., and the former Wild Rocket Food in Riverside.

Avila most recently had worked at New York-based Sugar Foods Corp., Thomas said.

Avocado specialist joins Interfresh Inc.

Fullerton, Calif.-based Interfresh Inc. has hired Ken Vida as a salesman for its avocado program, said Chris Puentes, president.

Vida, came to Interfresh July 18 from Goroda Imports, a Mexican avocado importer, Fuentes said.

“He’s got extensive experience in avocado sales,” Puentes said,

Vida also had worked with Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. and has about 11 years in the produce industry, he said.

Vida filled a position created to handle an increase in avocado sales, Puentes said.

“We do have a couple of guys focused on avocados, but the amount of fruit coming just boggles the mind,” Puentes said.

M&M Tropicals’ boxes now interlock

Miami-based M&M Tropicals has gone to an interlocking box design, said Manny Hevia, president.

“We have gone to a different model box that interlocks and is stronger than our previous design,” he said.

If the design works as planned, it will allow for stacking “at least two more layers,” Hevia said.

M&M also has added to its conveyor line, “which has made our overall packing flow much, much more efficient,” Hevia said.


New Limeco bumps up acreage

Princeton, Fla.-based avocado grower-shipper New Limeco LLC added 40 acres this year, said Eddie Caram, general manager.

The company, which ships about 400,000 cases of avocados per year, now owns or manages about 600 acres, Caram said.

“We’re the only packers here who are Primus (Labs)-certified from picking to table,” Caram said.


Oppenheimer partner opens packing plant

Mevi Avocados new packinghouseCourtesy Oppenheimer GroupOppenheimer Group avocado category managers Jeff Walker (left) and Mike Kostick attend the grand opening of Mevi Avocados new packinghouse in Jalisco, Mexico. The Oppenheimer Group markets the company’s fruit, which is not yet allowed in the U.S. The facility officially opened July 13, and its 35-container-a-week packing capacity is expected to expand when Mevi finishes construction of a second packing line in several months, according to a news release. Pharr, Texas-based-based Mevi Avocados Inc., which has avocado production areas in Michoacán, Mexico, and is a partner of the Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group, opened a new packing facility in mid-July in Jalisco, Mexico, said Karin Gardner, Oppy’s marketing communications manager.

 

West Pak moves into new facility

West Pak Inc. opened a 115,000-square-foot packinghouse in Murrieta, Calif., and moved its headquarters there at the beginning of 2013, said Dan Acevedo, business development director.

The company had been packing and operating its base in Temecula, Calif., about 5 miles away.



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