Organics must modernize

Mar 24, 2017 by The Packer
Hydroponic fresh produce growers who label their products as certified organic continue to operate in an anxious existence, and that's a shame.

Government should fund FSMA

Mar 17, 2017 by The Packer
Donald Trump the candidate promised to be a more business-friendly leader, and so far President Trump has begun to deliver, and he has promised even more red-tape slashing.

EWG leaves its own residue

Mar 10, 2017 by The Packer
The Environmental Working Group released the 2017 edition of the "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce," also known as the "Dirty Dozen," to more of a fizzle than fanfare.

Revised Dirty Dozen list panned

Mar 09, 2017 by The Packer
The Environmental Working Group has again released a version of its Dirty Dozen list, prompting industry objections that the list has been discredited by scientists, is not based upon risk and has now been shown to poten

Immigration angst only the beginning

Feb 27, 2017 by The Packer
While it may be a salve to the white middle class soul, President Donald Trump's efforts to boost immigration enforcement are not particularly soothing to growers and their workers.

Get ready for food safety inspections

Feb 21, 2017 by The Packer
Before official produce safety rule inspections begin in 2018 and later, many states are expected to offer a kind of dress rehearsal to help fruit and vegetable growers see how their operations align with food safety reg

Hot peppers - the key to long life?

Jan 10, 2017 by The Packer
Yes, hot peppers lead to long life. For the second time in two years, researchers have published a study that suggests that people who consume hot peppers live longer than those who don't.

Encourage ideas from employees

Mar 15, 2017 by The Packer
British novelist Penelope Fitzgerald once said, "The important thing is that a new idea should develop out of what is already there so that it soon becomes an old acquaintance."

Prewrite your Easter schedule

Mar 07, 2017 by The Packer
The late comedian George Carlin took some good-natured jabs at terms that began with "pre." As in preboarding. "What is that?" he asked. "Boarding a plane before you get on a plane?"

What’s your sales threshold?

Jan 25, 2017 by The Packer
"You’re missing sales.” A produce supervisor may have levied this statement, however direct or harsh, while walking your department. Perhaps it was your store manager making the remark.

Be willing to invest in your department

Jan 05, 2017 by The Packer
I was enjoying a quiet morning cup of coffee when Russ T. Blade pried himself out from the top drawer of my desk. ‘Rusty,’ as readers know, is the miniature and imaginary produce manager who drops by on occa

Kid-friendly? How about EVERYBODY-friendly?

Sep 08, 2016 by The Packer
Thank you, Giant Food for making fresh fruit samples for kids an official policy.

The Landover, Md.-based retailer launched a program to offer a complimentary banana or easy-peel to kids in all 169 stores as of Sept. 8.

On-farm visits helpful

Aug 11, 2016 by The Packer
In the kind of outreach that should happen more often, senior staff with the Food and Drug Administration toured two produce farms Aug. 5.

Trump's ag advisers

Aug 19, 2016 by The Packer
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has appointed a group of agricultural advisers, and that fact alone is worthy of praise.

When the market doesn't work

Aug 19, 2016 by The Packer
If you have the idea that some invisible hand of the market place is somehow guiding consumers and retailers to where they need to be, recent news out of the United Kingdom is a little unsettling.

Another bad California law

Sep 02, 2016 by The Packer
California fresh fruit and vegetable producers have overcome their legislators' economic ignorance before, and they're going to have to do it again.

Trump moves fast

Jan 27, 2017 by The Packer
The only thing that should surprise the produce industry about President Donald Trump's first week in office is that he started implementing the policies he ran on quicker than we thought.

Feeling good and eating fruits and veggies

Feb 14, 2017 by The Packer
My oldest son, in his early 30s, is a pescetarian. For the uninformed ‑ as I counted myself until mere weeks ago ‑ the web tells me that pescetarianism, or pesco-vegetarianism, means being vegetarian while

Flat consumption hurts

Feb 17, 2017 by The Packer
The past few years have seen several produce trends take off and lead to more sales for growers, shippers and retailers.

Rising global income will boost fruit demand

Feb 17, 2017 by The Packer
A rising tide lifts all boats, and some apparently more than others.


A new study<p></p> from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service examines how changes in income affect changes in demand

Wait, kids like vegetables? Inconceivable!

Mar 13, 2017 by The Packer
I grew up in a family where the general rule in place at the dinner table (yes, we all sat down for dinner together, an alien concept to some of my peers even then) was to eat what was served to us, including vegetables.

Stuff you should know about produce

Nov 10, 2017 by Tom Karst
We all love the podcast “Stuff you should know” and other like-minded productions such as “How Stuff Works” and “Stuff you missed in history class” and so on.

The produce night shift

Nov 10, 2017 by Armand Lobato
We turn to the reader’s file this week. I received an inquiry from a chain merchandiser, looking for tips to better handle the winter holidays. New Year’s Day and Christmas are very busy weeks in the produce aisle.

Buying tax reform and optimism

Dec 05, 2017 by Tom Karst
If the old expression “buy the rumor, sell the fact” holds any credence, then the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s impressive run-up to 24,000-plus on Nov. 30 might leave investors nervous.

Biotech’s health food

Dec 15, 2017 by Joe Guenthner
“Scientific studies have overwhelmingly demonstrated that foods obtained from GE (genetically engineered) crops are as safe and nutritious as foods obtained from conventional crops.”

Season of Hope

Dec 25, 2017 by The Packer staff
This is the season of dark, cold and drabness in much of the country. But it also is the season of hope, renewal and joy.

Brexit’s effect on UK, U.S.

Jan 01, 2018 by John Giles
The general industry wisdom in the United Kingdom is that post Brexit, farmers will need to up their game, almost regardless of what sort of deal we end up with the rest of Europe.

Six more retail goals for 2018

Jan 16, 2018 by Armand Lobato
Produce departments thrive with detailed goals. As promised, here are the second of three sets to help forge into the New Year, which I call “Eighteen goals for 2018.”

Hafta NAFTA? 

Jan 15, 2018 by Tom Karst
Despite the bluster of President Donald Trump about the renegotiation of the  North American Free Trade Agreement, I’ve always thought that, in the end, a deal would get done.

Final retail goals for 2018

Jan 22, 2018 by Armand Lobato
Good produce managers and their crews achieve more with detailed goals. As promised, here is the last of three sets to help forge into the New Year, with what I call “18 goals for 2018.”

Industry equipped for organic obstacles

Feb 02, 2018 by Ashley Nickle
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Organic produce looks poised to continue its steady growth, buoyed by “true believers” that market organic exclusively and by grower-shippers who simply want to meet the full spectrum of demand.

5 a Day. Did simple goal-setting work?

Feb 05, 2018 by John Sauve
Ever since the introduction of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans basically doubled the recommendation on fruits and veggies, the Total Daily Per Capita Consumption for Americans has gone nowhere.

Keep ’em coming back

Feb 14, 2018 by Armand Lobato
I think about repeat sales, especially in so many walks of life, such as when I get my hair cut. My neighborhood barber shop (Louie’s) is always there for me and countless others, to trim and tidy up what nature grows.

The ‘hippies’ have won

Feb 26, 2018 by Tim York
Scan women’s online dating profiles — which I have done as a recently single man — and you will be struck with the commonalities.

In celebration of apple growers

Mar 19, 2018 by Jim Bair
This National Agriculture Day, March 20, we honor those who work tirelessly to put the nation’s most popular U.S.-grown fruit into the hands of our families and friends.

The rise of the virtual restaurant

Mar 23, 2018 by Tim York
Pizza delivery has been common for decades, but today pizza is peanuts compared to the countless options available via third-party delivery apps like UberEATS, DoorDash and Postmates.

Dealing with the Dirty Dozen

Apr 16, 2018 by Pamela Riemenschneider
Before I get to my point, I want to make this clear: I don’t agree with the Environmental Working Group’s “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” also known as the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15.”

The early morning produce walk

Apr 18, 2018 by Armand Lobato
Greek philosopher Plato once said, “The beginning is the most important part of any work.” This is true for deep thinking, and it’s equally important for a produce manager.

One bite at a time

Apr 23, 2018 by Tim York
Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak burst on the scene earlier this month as the new head of Produce for Better Health Foundation with an ambitious goal to double produce consumption.

Allow organic referendum

May 21, 2018 by Tom Karst
The U.S. Department of Agriculture pulled the plug on the proposed organic marketing board before the drama of a referendum could unfold.

Test your company’s DNA

May 21, 2018 by Tim York
A company’s DNA can’t be measured with a blood test or saliva sample. Rather, it’s measured in actions by its people from the C-suite to the front lines.

The traceability fail

May 28, 2018 by Tom Karst
We all love “fails” on the internet, as long it is not us. Bloopers, slips, falls — it is all too funny.

Meat and dairy aren’t produce’s enemy

Jul 02, 2018 by Gregory Johnson
CHICAGO — Sales of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are up 8% over the previous year. Produce companies should ask themselves if this is a trend they should partner or support. For most, I’d advise against it.

Beat the summertime blues

Jul 10, 2018 by Armand Lobato
I was sitting at my desk when Russ T. Blade poked his head out from behind my computer, wearing zinc oxide on his nose and sporting a nice, mid-summer tan.

Keep the conversation going

Jul 20, 2018 by Tom Karst
It was heartening to receive encouraging and congratulatory notes from many longtime friends upon my recent promotion to editor-in-chief at The Packer.

Don't think you're immune from food safety issues

Jul 23, 2018 by Tim York
The eastern part of Salinas is rife with gang violence, drug activity, and hundreds of shootings every year. Yet, if you don’t live on the east side of town where most of the violence occurs, it's easy to feel immune.

EFI should adhere to its own message

Jul 30, 2018 by George Radanovich
The Equitable Food Initiative is a third-party food certification proposal to “bring greater transparency to the supply chain” by convincing retailers to force suppliers to adopt its certification program.

You can learn a lot from other's tech mistakes

Aug 24, 2018 by Tim York
As consumers become increasingly distrustful on big tech companies, produce companies and organizations need to consider carefully how collection and use of consumer data affects trust and brand reputation.

Trade obstacles remain for Trump

Aug 31, 2018 by Tom Karst
A reworked North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico — or whatever name that President Trump wants to give the deal — is a positive sign for U.S. growers slammed by retaliatory tariffs.

Produce attitude adjustment

Sep 05, 2018 by Armand Lobato
One of the best things a produce manager could say about a clerk, wasn’t that the person was the fastest stocker. Or that the person was thorough or neat or prompt — although these are certainly desirable traits.

The future of e-commerce

Sep 14, 2018 by Ashley Nickle
Some people interpret the limited adoption of online grocery ordering as a sign that most shoppers simply are not interested in pickup or delivery and probably won’t be in the future either.

Learn a lesson (or two) from Aldi

Oct 08, 2018 by Bruce Peterson
Aldi is a company that I have always been fascinated by; with over 1,800 locations in 35 states, it has a revenue projection by retail analysts just north of $11 billion in 2018, yet they largely fly under the radar.

Strategize for success at Fresh Summit

Oct 09, 2018 by Wendy McManus
Fresh Summit is fast approaching. In the hustle to arrange booth plans, meetings and travel, it’s easy to lose sight of what you want to accomplish. Fresh Summit is about more than closing a deal.

Quit that micromanaging

Oct 24, 2018 by Armand Lobato
U.S. industrialist Kenneth Iverson once said, “The real impediment to producing a higher-quality product more efficiently isn’t the workers, it’s management.”

A glimpse of the future of retail

Nov 09, 2018 by Ashley Nickle
LAS VEGAS — Retailers and consumer packaged goods companies have been making major investments to be relevant in the increasingly important online space, and new event Groceryshop showed how they are doing it.

The star of the show

Nov 15, 2018 by Armand Lobato
Forty thousand is what at least one consumer group estimates is the average number of stock-keeping units in a grocery store.

Reflections on retailer responses to romaine

Nov 29, 2018 by Ashley Nickle
I visited 12 grocery stores in the Kansas City area the evening that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked another E. coli outbreak to romaine, and the Nov. 20 trip was far more revealing than I expected.

Looking for the thousand points of light

Dec 10, 2018 by Tom Karst
In the wake of the food safety travails of romaine lettuce in recent weeks — and industry navel-gazing about whether health authorities overreacted — I ask this question: What about the good news?

I trust you (almost) completely

Dec 12, 2018 by Mike Aiton
It was always interesting, when trying to explain how our business works to someone, that they were shocked at the way agreements between buyer and seller are reached.

The 12 days of holi-daze

Dec 18, 2018 by Armand Lobato
Holi-daze. As the year’s end fast approaches, and two holiday waves are about to crash into the produce aisle, I’m reminded of doling out a few tidbits of advice to new produce managers flush with stress.

Season of hope

Dec 24, 2018 by The Packer staff
This is the season of dark, cold and drabness in much of the country. But it also is the season of hope, renewal and joy.

Chipotle caters to food tribes

Jan 07, 2019 by Amelia Freidline
I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for end-of-the-year predictions about what the new year will bring — especially when it comes to culinary trends or bets on what produce item will become “the next kale.”

Smart moves in retail

Jan 11, 2019 by Ashley Nickle
Kroger is piloting the latest and greatest in digital shelves, Publix is starting online cooking classes, and both developments create opportunities for produce marketers.

Winning the information game

Feb 04, 2019 by Mike Mauti
You sit down to negotiate with your trading partner, perhaps to finalize a new annual contract or maybe just a weekly ad opportunity, and you think to yourself, “I’m as prepared as I’m ever going to be.”

How to avoid expo burnout

Feb 19, 2019 by Amy Sowder
After seeing in three short months the busy pace that produce industry professionals keep up — especially at the expos and conferences — it’s no wonder that there’s a high risk for burnout, no matter who you are.