Inside this Food Report



VOLUME 5
ISSUE 11


November 1, 2014


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Hello Everyone,

I hope you all enjoyed your Halloween this year. Everyone at Noon certainly did!

We consumed lots of candy and had a blast passing out treats to all the children dressed in costume in the neighborhood where our office is located.

And speaking of neighborhood and office we have some exciting news this month. Noon International’s Seattle division is expanding and moving to a new location effective November 11th!

Our new neighborhood will be in the Georgetown area of Seattle. Georgetown is one of the oldest communities in Seattle founded in 1850. It has recently gone through a renaissance of sorts with many trendy cafes, breweries and art galleries popping up all over. We will be sending out announcements soon with the address of our new location so please be on the lookout.

Our Chad Watson and Steve Dole just returned from the Sial Food Exhibition in Paris, France and they both came back with many exciting ideas of new and interesting food products. Some of the trends highlighted at the exhibition were foods that are fresher than fresh, meaning “alive” and growing in your own kitchen. For example one item was gourmet mushrooms growing out of a box. Food that protects the body by improving our health and functional foods linked to longer life expectancy along with local products and foods, which have a low environmental impact, were also trending.

Corn season is over in the Pacific Northwest and by all accounts it was an excellent crop. We are hearing reports that there is plenty of inventory out there so give us a call if you are looking for sweet corn!

Enjoy your November and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Betty and The Noon International Team



CropVeggies United States:

Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho) sweet corn crop is now completed. For the most part yields were high and packers exceeded their budgets. Slightly warmer summer temperatures this season resulted in higher-grade profiles as well as excellent taste especially for super sweet varieties.

Diced carrot production in now underway in the Pacific Northwest.

High summer temperatures resulted in lower yields, lower solids and increased defects for the Columbia Basin potato crop this season. Growers in the North of the Basin experienced more damage than in the South Basin. The lower quality is causing poor recovery rates for the fry plants and many are looking to purchase potato’s outside the area, including Idaho, to keep the factories operating.

Idaho saw an unusually rainy August with more rain towards end of October. It has been reported there are concerns regarding storability of potatoes. Fry factories are being selective about which crops are stored and which are run directly from the field to plant in order to prevent a chance of potatoes softening in storage due to moisture.

Midwest corn for the most part came in on budget. Rain and cooler weather experienced at the tail end of the harvest resulted in some areas experiencing lower yields of about 15%. Overall quality is very good and contracts are being fulfilled.

California is reporting the smallest crop of peaches in 50 years - a 12% decrease from last season.

Mexico: Rainy season in Mexico is coming to a close. Quality and yields for both broccoli and cauliflower is improving daily. The Bajio Valley harvest is scheduled to begin this month.

Guatemala: The lack of rain back in August did affect the volume of October/November broccoli harvest, however the now normal weather patterns are improving yields and quality. Edamame harvest has commenced and to date yields and quality are good. Okra season is also underway and going well.

Ecuador: Broccoli supply conditions in Ecuador are slowly improving as suppliers are catching back up with back logged orders. Demand is anticipated to remain strong.

Costa Rica; Low season will continue through December with the dry season in January bringing about larger volumes of pineapple. The Philippine’s continue to be short on raw material putting a lot of pressure on Costa Rica . Pineapple growers similarly are feeling the pressure to supply and as a result raw material prices are very high. Most suppliers are holding out for some time to settle annual contracts until the raw material situation settles down. In the meantime inventories will be tight in November and December with longer lead times than usual required for frozen pineapple products.

Thailand: Pineapple is short in Thailand. The summer crop was down due to reduced plantings and although winter crop will begin it is not expected to alleviate the shortage as most suppliers have back orders to fill.

India: Lack of rain in India is hurting many crops there.

Guava fruit especially is experiencing small fruit and low yields.

Chile: Fall weather in Chile has been a bit cool and in some spots freezing temperatures occurred for a short time. Blueberries, kiwi and apples may be affected however nothing as severe as the freeze damages which occurred last season. Berry crop should be underway in December.

Due to high grower prices for raspberries farmers are investing in more raspberry acres, which may increase yields going forward. Early indications point to higher raspberry prices this season coming out of Chile.

Asparagus harvest is underway with normal conditions being reported. To date the El Nino has not affected the asparagus crop in Chile.

Peru: The agricultural industry continues to see the ramifications from El Nino. Asparagus harvest is being pushed back further to early/mid November with most spears coming in with smaller specifications. Combined with El Nino and the natural low point in the mango cycle, this year’s mango harvest is anticipated to be very short. Some suppliers are reporting more than a 50% reduction in final volumes in comparison to last year. As a result inventories will be tight with prices on the high end. Pepper harvest continues in the north region of Piura through the end of the year when it will move further south.

Europe:

September and much of October enjoyed good weather with little rain across much of Europe including the potato rich Benelux region. Belgium, Netherlands and Germany experienced a good potato crop with abundant yields and good quality. Spot grower prices are low and it has been reported that some farmers will not be able to recover their costs. There is now anticipation that acreage will be reduced next season and prices will go back up . Spot pricing went down from May reaching a historical low. Potato prices coming out of Europe are extremely low but most feel that these low prices will not be sustainable.

Leaf vegetable processing wrapped up in Belgium mid October moving to the second cauliflower crop , carrots and other early fall crops. Similar to the US , Europe had a strong green bean harvest with high yields. Suppliers are siting on large inventories and have product to move with competitive prices. Cauliflower crop was reported with slightly above average yields while carrots are expected to produce lower yields this season. Heavy rain at the end of October washed the top soil from carrots which resulted in exposure and black spots. Leeks are set to begin first week of November and Brussels spouts late November. Growing conditions to date have been favorable.

Greece: Peach yields will be down this season by approximately 2 million cases. Hailstorms and heavy rain during the crop season resulted in peaches falling off the trees.

Italy: Heavy rains in Northern Italy will hurt the grape harvest. Apples and pears will also be affected.

China: Increased plantings on broccoli and cauliflower were schedule for the Zhejiang province area this season , however rains in September/October affected the transplanting’s so total yields are expected to be same as last years and yields will not increase. In Shandong province broccoli quantity is limited and most of it is going to the domestic fresh market.

In Shandong province Taro production has begun. Planting area increased although due to the dry weather conditions yields are not expected to be good and prices have increased by approximately 10 – 15% compared with last year.


McDonald's Troubles

A recent food scandal in China has lead to a significant drop in sales for McDonald’s in Japan, where the global fast-food giant was already struggling. The sale of unsafe meat by Chinese distributor Shanghai Husi Food and the meat processor OSI was a large scandal in China, where fast food was seen as safer than local options. But Japan, where food safety scandals are not as ubiquitous as in China, saw a sharp public reaction to the news in light of McDonalds Japan importing and using meat from the same Chinese distributor and meat processor. McDonald’s experienced a 25% drop in business following the scandal, and it’s unclear if the chain can bounce back anytime soon.

McDonald’s was already struggling in the Japanese market, where convenience stores and fast food restaurants are in stiff competition. Consumers were already concerned about fast food practices, and the Shanghai Husi Food scandal served to underline those fears. McDonalds has recently forecasted a net loss of 17 billion yen ($156.7 million) for 2014. This is McDonalds first loss in Japan in 11 years.

McDonald’s Japan CEO Sarah Casanova has acknowledged the concerns of the public and has taken personal responsibility for the poor outcome, however it is not clear what steps will be taken moving forward.

McDonalds is also under pressure in Russia where regulators have closed a number of it busiest locations citing food safety violations. Many say the actions are motivated due to the political response to U.S. and E.U sanctions on Russia for its actions in provoking the crisis in Ukraine.




A Tree With 40 Fruits!

Stone fruits are a diverse and highly popular type of produce, perfect for pies and snacking on the go. Including cherries, apricots and peaches, stone fruits are rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants. Stone fruits also contain potassium and Vitamin K, as well as fiber and eye-friendly carotenoids. These hand-held fruits may be small, but they don’t slouch when it comes to health benefits.

Not only are stone fruits delicious and healthy but now they are being used as art! Sam Van Aken, a Syracuse University professor and artist, has found a very unique way to use stone fruit trees as art. The Tree of 40 Fruits looks like any other fruit tree until spring, when the branches come alive with blossoms in different shades of pink and red. A wonder to behold, as the season continues, the tree produces 40 types of produce, including stone fruits and almonds. The trees are planned so that the entire tree does not ripen simultaneously, providing a long harvest and an ever-changing selection of fruit including and preserving heirloom, antique and native fruit varieties.

To create his Tree of 40 Fruits, Van Aken grafts together numerous types of varieties of different stone fruits to the tree. He has placed trees in 16 museums, universities and other spaces to create homage to local agriculture. One tree can take up to five years to complete, due to the high amount of planning and careful work needed to ensure all species being grafted together remain viable.

Van Aken sees his trees as artwork first, although having grown up in rural Pennsylvania provided him with a unique sense of the interconnectedness of art and nature. There is no denying the beauty of the trees in bloom, and the delicious fruits grown on the tree make it an interactive exhibit of sorts. Van Aken gives away most of the fruit grown on his trees, and hopes to develop an idea for orchards in urban spaces.

The Tree of 40 Fruits, though intended to be an art project, is an exciting and unusual way for the public to interact with food production and agriculture, and Van Aken hopes it inspires the viewer to ask questions about the food they eat on a daily basis.




Woolworths and Coles Vying for Convenience Sector

Coles and Woolworths, the two largest supermarkets in Australia, have announced that the chains will be opening small-format convenience stores in cities across the country. The move comes on the heels of significant growth in the convenience store market, spurred by the lack of supermarket-sized spaces available in cities like Sydney. The “corner store” format will allow the supermarket giants to capitalize on limited space with limited ranges of products, while serving as feeder stores for medium and large scale stores owned by the companies.

The decision to move into the convenience store market puts Coles and Woolworths in competition with 7-Eleven, which is the largest convenience retailer in Australia with 600 locations. Recent reports suggest there is enough room for all of them; the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores announced a 4 percent growth in the industry in the first half of 2014. But with big names moving into the convenience store industry, it is unclear if independently owned operations will be able to compete.

There is growing concern about the power of Woolworths and Coles; the two large chains. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been outspoken in their decision that the move will not violate competition regulations, but it does raise question about the ability for small convenience stores to keep up with these two major supermarket groups.




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