Organics and optimism on display in Chicago

06/26/2009 09:10:24 AM
Dan Galbraith

CHICAGO — Fresh produce-related companies provided more than their share of news at a historic All Things Organic Conference & Trade Show June 16-18 at McCormick Place.

Dan Galbraith
Sections Editor

At the event highlighted by the monumental agreement between the U.S. and Canada to continue the free flow of organic trade in North America, plenty of companies with fresh produce tie-ins unveiled their own new products and plans to not only maintain the success of organics, but continue its growth despite tough times.

The event also proved historic for The Packer, marking the first time using Twitter to help us disseminate headlines, blurbs and links to full stories to our rapidly increasing online audience.

Citing the poor U.S. economy and a different show set-up, the All Things Organic Conference & Trade Show didn’t get the foot traffic it had

In case you missed Dan Galbraith’s Twitter coverage of All Things Organic, here are some highlights from his personal Twitter account and The Packer’s:

6_packer  looking forward 2 talking about mushrooms &retail& media &PR w/ @lexiedanae in Chicago soon, but I’m shooting craps on Cubs/WS tickets ARGH! 5:34 p.m. June 16.

thepacker  Kathy Means stresses PTI’s elements: GS1 standards, data synch, reading/storing case info, farm2store. 11:26 a.m. June 17.

thepacker  A.P.E.A. hopes to expand asparagus imports to U.S. through Albert’s Organics, Bridges Produce and others. 1:23 p.m. June 17.

thepacker  Canadian, U.S. officials formally signed organic trade agreement at 3:45 p.m. central time. 3:53 p.m. June 17.

thepacker  Most in U.S., Canada thrilled about organic equivalency pact. Canada producers’ hesitations addressed by nitrate exceptions. 11:33 a.m. June 18.

in years past.

No, it didn’t have the residual traffic from the United Fresh show that used to be held in conjunction with the organic show, but showgoers and exhibitors remained optimistic.

They have good reason. Statistical data from reliable sources point to the organic industry in general actually becoming more profitable in the recession. According to information released by the Organic Trade Association at the show, organic products are recession-resistant, with 73% of all households buying organic products, including fresh produce.

That bodes well for the fresh produce industry, especially when so many companies invested time, money and effort to tell the show audience that they’re progressing.

——

Albert’s Organics announced it is sourcing asparagus from Argentina to get closer to making asparagus available in stores on a year-round basis and formation of its new distribution center in Charlotte, N.C., at the organic show.

“We’re continuing to fill the pipeline and fill the voids on asparagus, and the new distribution center in Charlotte, our eighth location, gives us the opportunity to consolidate more local growers,” said Scott Dennis, vice president of business development for Albert’s Organics’ corporate division in Bridgeport, N.J.

The company is also working on a few new packaging programs.

——

At the end of its first summer season for a squash and melon program from west Mexico, Portland, Ore.-based Bridges Produce plans to expand the deal, said Ben Johnson, growers agent.

“We have a fall season for west Mexico melons and squash that starts around Oct. 1 and a spring season that starts about April 1,” he said in an e-mail following up from a live interview from the show floor in Chicago.

“The big news is that we are just about to get under way with our cherry and stone fruit season out of Columbia Gorge in Hood River, Ore. We are celebrating our 20th year of being certified organic (there),” Johnson said.

“They were one of the pioneers in the organic industry that helped develop a lot of the techniques that helped growers go organic.”

——

I enjoyed my first time covering the organic show. Among my few regrets: I missed the booths with the banana-flavored walnut (Waymouth Farms Inc.’s Good Sense) salad toppings and watermelon, pear, sour cherry and quince juice (Iron Horse Beverage Elite), billed as 100% natural.

Another regret: I wish I’d tweeted more. Forgive me ... I’m a twitterer-in-training.

Dan Galbraith tweets daily at www.twitter.com/6_packer and is one of many contributors to The Packer’s Twitter site, www.twitter.com/thepacker. E-mail him at dgalbraith@thepacker.com.

What's your take on the All Things Organic Conference and Trade Show? Leave a comment and have your say.



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