Inside this Food Report



VOLUME 8
ISSUE 2


February 1, 2017

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Hello Everyone,

Here we are in February already! Wow, time is going fast…

The New Year began with some of us heading off to the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, California. With over 1400 food purveyors from all over the world this show is delicious! It’s was difficult to choose a top trend but if I have to pick one I would say “beets”. They were everywhere, in smoothies, dried, pickled, in chips, salsa and snack bars.

In our January issue we mentioned “use it all cooking” as a top trend for 2017, and we noticed a company using the leftover grain and hops from beer making and turning that into snacks such as granola bars. There was seaweed covered in chocolate and lots of blueberry and raspberry fruit products.

This month will take us to meetings here in the U.S and abroad to South America and next month we will be heading down to San Diego for the AFFI Convention. We have a few time slots still available so please contact Jose or Betty if you would like to meet.

Noon International will have sugar snap peas and snow peas available from China this season. The sugar snap pea market is tight with no inventories available. China will begin processing in April/May and prices should be available towards end of March. If you need help with your supply, we would love to work with you so please give us a call!

Looking forward to seeing you in San Diego soon.

Betty Johnson and the Noon International Team.


CropVeggies
United States: Drought conditions in the United States are much improved, especially with January rains in California, that state is slowly coming out of it’s 5 year drought. Here is a brief overview of the U.S. summer season,

The Northwest experienced a very favorable Sweet Corn season with high yields and excellent quality. Midwest processors struggled at the tail end of the season with rain so yields are down a bit in this area. However, overall it was satisfactory season for U.S sweet corn.

Green Bean harvest did extremely well this year with high yields and excellent quality.

Diced carrot production now completed and reports indicate it was a good season.

Potato Reports in regarding Colombia Basin area are that the early variety potato yields were good, however some later varieties had smaller yields. In general, overall yields ended more favorable than anticipated and in some spots the season ended a few days early. The success of the season was due in large part to early spring weather which was conducive to bringing on the potatoes early and summer was cool enough that it continued with favorable conditions for the plants. In fact there are some reports that processors will have enough storage potatoes to see them through the early processing time period for 2017 crop. All processors are running at capacity and frozen potato demand remains very strong.

It was announced recently that Cavendish Farms will be building a new factory in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada which should double its capacity in that province.

In addition, it was announced that McCain Foods will also increase its North American French fry capacity with more details to come later.

Berry season in the U.S. completed. It was a very satisfactory year for blueberries with record crops in Oregon and Washington. In the state of Maine, despite the drought conditions this season the wild blueberry crop produced its highest yields ever – 93 million pounds.

The Washington Red Raspberry commission reported that this seasons raspberry crop was 48% higher than the 2015 season.

A reported harvest of nearly 78 million pounds was completed. Increased acreage and very favorable weather conditions contributed to the record high harvest.

The cherry season in Michigan was also very good, with higher than expected yields and good quality fruit.

Oregon’s blackberry harvest came in at approximately 45 million lbs. which is higher than the 2015 season.

Mexico: Rainy season lasted longer than usual this year and the ramifications of the longer rainy season did affect yields and quality of both broccoli and cauliflower. However, at present broccoli and cauliflower harvest is now coming in at a good pace with excellent quality and yields.

Guatemala: Broccoli season will begin to wind down with limited volume now being processed. Snow peas and sugar snap pea harvest is now underway, however adverse weather conditions have affected yields and it seems at this moment Guatemala will be short of both snow peas and sugar snap peas. The season should run through February.

Peru: Mango season in Peru is expected to be better than last year due to the cooler weather. Flowering went well and the harvest has commenced.

Peru’s Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation announced in October that Peru will become the largest exporter of fresh blueberries within the next few years due to the country’s increased production of this crop.

Chile: Asparagus season completed. Raspberry season underway and quality expected to be good, however prices recently have been stagnant due to decreased demand. Stone fruit has been ripening very quickly due to high temperatures and some canners have been unable to keep up with the influx of raw material. Consequently, production figures are expected to be down.

Chile has been suffering through the worst wild fires in its history. Approximately 100,000 hectares of forest and pasture have been destroyed in its Central South region. The fires have been fed by a prolonged drought and temperatures topping over 100 degrees F. Smoke has shrouded the capital city of Santiago.

Europe: Most vegetables are in tight supply and offers limited due to a poor growing season caused by cooler weather and rain. Green Bean and Brussel sprout harvest were delayed in some areas due to the plants not developing enough. Some Belgium suppliers are estimating a loss of the Brussel sprout crop of nearly 35% to 40% overall. Inventories of Brussel sprout are limited or non existent.

Potato reports coming out of Europe mention raw material will be tight and processors may not be able to meet their expected sales expansion goals. Although growers planned for major expansion in Belgium The North-western European Potato Growers suffered a cold and wet spring which delayed plantings. Summer season brought very hot dry weather and many growers were holding off on digging due to the harden soil. Rain in October accelerated the harvest in Belgium as soil softened however yields did drop approximately 63 cwt per acre which will result in difficulty for Europe to meet growth levels for global demand. Some fry processing factories may take in raw potatoes from Poland to keep up with demand.

New Zealand: Weather in New Zealand has been wet which has delayed the plantings of various vegetables. Corn plantings began about 10 days behind schedule compared to last season. Green Pea crop is winding down. The quality and yields of the pea crop this season is reported to be very good.

Australia: A wet year in Australia with flooding in the East and frost in the West will hurt Australia’s grain market. As well some fruit crops have been affected by hail and rain. The cold and wet winter has also led to a tight potato market.

Japan: Japan still feeling the effects of the typhoons that ripped through Japan’s Hokkaido area in September. All vegetables grown in this region, including corn, potatoes, carrots and onions are in short supply. Reports from the USDA FAS in Japan estimates a 20% - 25% yield loss. About 10% of the seed potato was lost to the typhoons as well. Farmers had to plow under potato fields due to flooding and some processing factories have been closed due to damage. It is uncertain whether or not they will reopen for next season. As a result, there is high demand from Japan for potato products.

Thailand: Heavy rain and flooding hit Thailand’s Southern province in early January. It has been reported that the rains in January were the heaviest in 3 decades. Many pineapple canners in the area had to shut down operations. Canners have delayed shipments however the worst is expected to be over. The verdict is still out on overall damage to the pineapple crops.

Taiwan: Lychee fruit is in tight supply. Poor weather last winter, including cold and heavy rain caused low pollination and a poor crop resulting in only 20 % of the fruit being harvested. New season has commenced and a better crop is anticipated.

South Africa: South Africa is expecting a favorable cling peach season. Even with drought conditions outlook is okay with trees full, however fruit smaller. The season is ongoing and will finish end of this month.

China:

Shandong Province: Edamame harvest is now completed. Quality and yields are reported as good with stable price. Broccoli season suffered cold temperatures and adverse weather conditions which resulted in low yields and quality. Most of all production in this area is completed and will start up again in March /April.

Zhejiang Province: Abundant raw material now available for broccoli and cauliflower resulting in some lower prices. Peak production will be this month. Due to low temperatures lotus root quality has declined and production is winding down. Sugar snap peas and snow peas will commence harvest in April. To date growth conditions look good.

Fujian Province: Water Chestnut production is underway and quality is stable, however prices have increased slightly compared to last season. January and February are the peak producing months with the highest quality.


FDA Holds Public Hearing on Imported Food Safety

As the Food Safety Modernization Act comes into force, the Food and Drug Administration is working to ensure that the public is aware of all the steps being taken to ensure protection against food-borne illness. Last month the FDA issued updated draft guidance on ready-to-eat (or RTE) foods. This month, they will hold a public hearing concerning strategic partnerships to enhance the safety of imported foods.

The hearing, which will be held February 14th and 15th, will also be focused on finding new ways partnerships can be used to keep imported food safe. According to the FDA, this includes information on how partnerships can be used, “to build food safety capacity in other countries; to help operationalize the concept of “same level of public health protection” in relation to FDA’s hazard analysis, preventive controls and produce safety requirements”; and to enhance risk-based decision making through the consideration of private standards, the recognition of commodity-specific export programs, and the implementation of the existing systems recognition program.”

The information gathered at this hearing will be used to support efforts to expand and refine partnerships with federal, state, local, territorial, tribal, and foreign regulators. The hearing is open to the public, and more information can be found at fda.gov.

New Transistional Certificate Program For Organics

In the past decade, demand for organic produce has launched a boom in certified organic farms. But the process for receiving certification through recognized state, federal, or private organizations is costly and time consuming, with many farmers struggling to make the high upfront cost work. Last month the federal government took steps to help alleviate the burden of transitioning to organic farming with a new transitional certification.

The National Certified Transitional Program (or NCTP) was developed by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and approved by the USDA in mid-January. The program will provide “transitional” certification to producers who are in the process of switching from conventional farming methods to organic methods. Certification will be available from numerous bodies accredited to certify organic producers.

“The transitional certification program developed by OTA reflects perspectives from across the supply chain, and will provide an on-ramp to producers while safeguarding organic as the gold standard of food label claims,” said Farm Policy Director for OTA Nate Lewis.

Simply put, farmers who are not fully organic will be able to sell their products as “transitional organic” thereby building a foundation for a potential market for transitional products. The transition to organic methods can take thirty six months, a period during which they cannot sell their product as organic. The new NCTP will allow them to sell their products, although it is still unclear what the labeling will look like for produce grown on transitional farms. But even with some questions remaining, according to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Elanor Starmer, NCTP is seen as a way to help bolster organic growth.

“This program will help those transitioning to organic agriculture, encourage domestic production of organic products, and ultimately support the continued growth of organic agriculture in the United States.”



GMO Apples Arrive

Canadian produce company Okanagan Specialty Fruits will begin selling genetically modified fresh apples for the first time in Midwestern supermarkets. The company will be offering sliced and packaged Golden Delicious apples, sold in grab-and-go pouch bags. It marks the first time GMO apples are being offered in the United States since the USDA approved Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Fuji varieties.

GMOs have been a source of considerable controversy in the United States, with some concerned that the altered edibles could have negative health effects. But so far scientists have found no reason for worry, and all research suggests that GMOs are safe for consumption. Even so, many believe that GMO products should be labeled clearly so that consumers can decide for themselves if they want to buy them. The Okanagan Specialty Fruits apples, being sold under their Arctic brand, will not have GMO labels, but do have a QR code on the packaging that takes consumers to a website with GMO information.

“We’re very optimistic with respect to this product because people love it at trade shows,” company founder and president Neal Carter said. “It’s a great product and the eating quality is excellent.”

The apples were engineered to have a reduced amount of the enzyme polyphenol oxidase, which means they will not brown for up to three weeks after being sliced. Achieving this through genetic modification means that no chemical additives, that can alter the taste of the produce, need to be added to the fruit.

In February and March, Arctic brand sliced apples will begin to sell across the Midwest. The company is selling five hundred forty-pound boxes of the packaged apple slices this year, and hopes to increase that number by up to 6,000 next year.



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