Inside this Food Report



VOLUME 7
ISSUE 3


March 1, 2016

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Hello Everyone,

Time passes so quickly….The American Frozen Food Institute Convention (AFFI), for me, is always a reminder of that. We hear the same each year at AFFI, “pea plantings began a week ago” and every year it is a jolt. Really, already? Oh my goodness another growing season almost here and before you know it we will be in the middle of it!

With that said most Northwest suppliers cannot wait for the season to begin. Pea inventories are very short and dwindling fast and all processors are hoping to start pea processing sooner than later. Corn seems to be still a soft market with inventories available and most processors reported that contracted acreage for corn will be slightly down or the same as last season with grower prices reduced slightly.

“Organic” was the buzz word at AFFI and everyone is either growing/processing more organics or looking to buy organics. The U.S. organic food market has approached 7 billion dollars annually with no sign of slowing down and organic food growers are watching demand explode and scrambling to secure more organic land. We will be writing about organics in the U.S. market in more detail in one of our upcoming newsletters so be on the lookout.

It was sure nice to see all of our old friends and meet many new ones at the AFFI in San Diego last month. Thank you for your time and efforts and we look forward to working with you all in the months ahead.

Happy Spring!

All The Best ,

Betty And The Noon International Team



CropVeggies

United States: Green Pea plantings in U.S. began about 2 weeks ago. Grower prices for corn in the Northwest expected to be slightly down. Some processors have reported a slight reduction in corn acreage while others report to remain same as last season. Corn market still soft in U.S. while peas continue to remain a strong market due to last seasons hot weather which resulted in reduced yields. Some Northwest suppliers looking to buy green peas to fulfil their contracts, hoping to get through until the new seasons starts up in June.


Almost Time For Pea Harvest!
Potato plantings have also begun. Freezer stock buildups of frozen potatoes remain low. Exports from North America to Japan continue to decline while EU frys continue at a brisk pace with over 10% more volume being sent into Japan than a year ago.

Regarding the overall state of affairs in the U.S. agricultural section, commodity prices for corn, soybeans and wheat will take a three year plunge in price which will result in the lowest farm income in a decade and a recession in parts of the Midwest region.

Mexico: Brussel Sprout season has commenced in Mexico. Broccoli and Cauliflower are in peak season with excellent quality and good volume. The past few months have been cooler than usual so crop growth was slowed down on some crops, however recent warmer temperatures have improved the situation.

Guatemala: Cantaloupe and Honeydew melon season continues through May. It was a disappointing season for both Sugar snap pea and snow peas. Yields are down and volumes low due to earlier wet weather. Broccoli continues to be processed in smaller volumes through the end of this month.

Chile: Corn season is underway. Weather has been unusually hot and dry which may affect the corn yields.
Pea season is completed and no adverse conditions have been reported.

Taiwan: Due to a cold snap that went through Taiwan back in January many crops were affected and losses are reported at about US$ 12 million. It has been reported that the strawberry crop was the hardest hit.

Egypt: Cold and rain in parts of Egypt has affected the strawberry crop there. Harvest is about two weeks later than usual and yields could be affected by about 25%. As a result, grower prices are higher than normal so expect prices on strawberries ex Egypt to increase.

New Zealand: Farmers in New Zealand are expected to feel the impact of El Nino for months. The ongoing heat and dry weather may affect New Zealand’s pea yields and quality. Suppliers are quoting but only based subject to the crops performance.

China:

Zhejiang Province: Broccoli and Cauliflower harvest will be completed this month. Reports from the fields are that quality and yields are not very good and prices have gone up. Pea Pods and sugar snap peas have been affected by the cold weather and the outlook is still pessimistic for a decent crop. Rape flower yields decreased this season and prices of raw material is twice as high as last season. Domestic demand is very strong.

Fujian Province: Now processing water chestnuts. Quality is average and prices have declined slightly. Processing will run through March.

Shandong Province: Some factories are processing burdock and the next main crop coming up will be spinach.

Easing Menu Labeling Requirements

As a requirement of the Affordable Care Act which Congress passed in 2010, many resturants have already commenced complying with labeling regulations which many feel is a major piece of protecting public health and safety. The law states that by December 2016, the FDA will require that all chains with 20 or more locations provide calorie and nutrition information on all menus.

However, early last month, the US House of Representatives passed a bill designed to make it easier for restaurant chains to label food. Passing by a wide margin, the bill now goes on to the Senate, where it could face opposition. But advocates say it will make required labeling smarter and more effective, allowing restaurants and convenience stores to label food depending on their customers and serving sizes.

According to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, she sponsored the bill because, “prudent, effective labeling standards don't come in the form of one-size-fits-all rule set forth by unelected bureaucrats.”

Her bill allows restaurants to provide calorie information online rather than in stores, a change designed with businesses in mind who receive more orders by phone or online. It would allow for labeling based on serving sizes, rather than entire products. An example would be pizzas, which would be labeled by slice rather than entire pizza. The bill will also allow for convenience stores and supermarket delis to post calorie counts on menu boards instead of labeling each product separately.

Kale, King Of The Leafy Greens!

With low calories and high fiber, kale has become one of the most popular greens on the planet! It is also high in vitamins C, K, and B6, potassium, phytonutrients, and omega-3s. It helps cut the risk of cancer and arthritis, boosts the immune system, and helps your heart. It also helps detox, keeping your liver happy and healthy.

If you go into any supermarket in the U.S you can see fresh kale in large bags lining up the shelves. Many of us have been there: We find ourselves with more salad than we can eat and put it in the regfrigerator assuming we will eat it later. But leftover salad can be a tricky business, especially when one wants to get the most nutrients out of their leafty greens. In a recent “Ask Well” blog post at the New York Times , the mystery of at least one such green was answered. Kale as it turns out can handle the extra day or two in the fridge and can be frozen as well!

It is true that some of that nutritional value is lost when kale is left in the fridge. According to the article, ten percent of vitamin C is lost after six days. Kale that’s been chopped, which breaks cell walls and starts oxidation, will lose more than whole kale.

Since kale is a hearty green, it can stand up to temperature changes and last longer than other greens. And this heartiness also makes it an ideal frozen vegetable. For all of us in the frozen food industry we know that frozen is better than fresh. Kale, frozen at the time of harvest, will retain the most nutrients and health benefits. So why not pick up a package of frozen kale in your grocers frozen food aisle today!



French Law To Stop Food Waste

Last month, the French senate passed a law aimed at combating both food waste and hunger. Under the new law, the first of it’s kind, supermarkets will be required to donate edible food that isn’t purchased to charities and food banks, or face a fine of €3,750.

The law started as a bill introduced by former food industry minister Guillaume Garot, which drew international attention immediately when it was proposed last spring. Along with campaigns led by Arash Derambarsh, Garot’s bill made strategies to fight food waste a central conversation in France and in other countries facing growing rates of food waste and hunger.

Under the new law, supermarkets over 4,305 square feet will be required to sign donation contracts, and are banned from destroying edible food. Lawmakers and advocates hope the measures will cut down on the estimated 7.1 million tonnes of food thrown away in France each year, and help provide millions more of meals for families in need.

“Most importantly, because supermarkets will be obliged to sign a donation deal with charities, we’ll be able to increase the quality and diversity of food we get and distribute,” head of food bank network Banques Alimentaires Jacques Bailet told The Guardian. “In terms of nutritional balance, we currently have a deficit of meat and a lack of fruit and vegetables. This will hopefully allow us to push for those products.”

But activists aren’t resting now that the bill has been passed in France. They hope to encourage the EU to adopt similar measures and to extend the law to resturants, bakeries, and school and company canteens. Each year over 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted worldwide.




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