Year in Produce: Top company news

12/23/2011 09:59:00 AM
Dan Galbraith

Listed in no particular order.

  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark., buys more products directly from growers. The retail giant also increases its presence in big cities and revisits its stance on reusable plastic containers.
  • Vero Beach, Fla.-based Seald Sweet International moves into the tropical fruit business, adding pineapples, mangoes and other items to its supply list.
  • Southern California’s Oceanside Pole Tomato Sales Inc., one of retail’s largest vine-ripe tomato suppliers, shuts down after financial burdens prove too much.
  • Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers, acquires Renaissance Food Group LLC and its Garden Highway Brand.
  • Costco Wholesale Corp. begins to mandate fresh produce testing by its suppliers, the first such requirement of its kind, although other large suppliers say they were already conducting these tests.
  • McDonald’s USA starts automatically including apple slices in addition to french fries in its Happy Meals, beginning in September, starting a wave of fast-food chains adopting similar measures aimed at improving the nutritional value of children’s menus by increasing fresh produce.
  • C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Eden Prairie, Minn., expands its melon program by acquiring Timco Worldwide Inc., Davis, Calif.
  • Banana giants Chiquita and Del Monte report worse-than-expected financial results and later move to limit their exposure in the melon category, where sales drop off about 20%.
  • Chiquita Brands International signs exclusive agreement to supply Burbank, Calif.-based Walt Disney Co. theme parks, resorts and cruise ships with fresh fruit. The company also announces plans to move its headquarters from Cincinatti to Charolotte, N.C.
  • To increase its berry category presence, Dole Food Co. Inc., acquires SunnyRidge Farm Inc., Winter Haven, Fla. Dole also uses the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit to roll



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