Inside this Food Report



VOLUME 7
ISSUE 10


October 1, 2016

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Hello Everyone,

Autumn has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere!   My favorite time of year….crisp cool air, pumpkins and trees showing off their beautiful colors of orange, red and yellows.  

Harvest season in the U.S. is almost behind us and time for everyone to relax and breath…..it has been a very good one this year with the exception of the pea harvest which came on very quick and progressed fast due to the unusual heat we experienced in May and June. Pea inventories are still tight with prices firm.  Other than that challenge, we have had a fantastic corn and fruit season in the U.S.  Sweet corn quality and yields have been very good.   This along with a favorable pack on all fruits should leave no one complaining!

Noon International will be on their way to the Sial Exhibition in Paris, France, October 16th – October 20th.  The exhibition promises to be a “Global Source Of Food Inspiration”! I am sure it will not disappoint and we look forward to seeing many of our suppliers and clients in Paris soon!

Until next time, enjoy your October and take time to pay attention to the beautiful autumn weather and the changing of nature – its good for your soul!

All The Best,

Betty And The Noon International Team



CropVeggies

United States: Sweet Corn season winding down in U.S.  Midwest processors are now finished which is earlier than usual due to the early start of the season.  Northwest processors should be winding down about middle October. All in all the weather cooperated this season in both regions and quality and yields are reported as very good for this seasons sweet corn.

Diced carrot production began this week in Oregon and Washington and reports are for a good harvest.

Potato harvest is moving along however there are some reports of smaller size potatoes in the Columbia Basin area which may result in lower yields and tight supply.

Berry season in the U.S. completed. It was a very good 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 cherry season in Michigan was also very good, with higher than expected yields and good quality fruit.

Mexico: Rainy season in Mexico has continued causing a slow start to peak cauliflower and broccoli season.  However, reports are showing the rain slowing down with more sun in the forcaste.  This should help to improve the progress of the crop.

Guatemala: Broccoli season is doing very well with good yields and quality. Currently Guatemala is producing broccoli, okra and a small amount of cauliflower.   Conditions are good for all crops.

Peru: Mango season in Peru is expected to be better than last year due to the cooler weather. Flowering went well and the harvest will begin in November. Asparagus season now underway.

Chile: Asparagus season now underway in Chile.

Europe: Still uncertainty in the European vegetable market. Most vegetables are in tight supply and offers limited due to a poor growing season caused by cooler weather and rain.  Green bean harvest is delayed and most are now worried about early frost. 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.

Japan: Japan still feeling the effects of the typhoons that ripped through Japan’s Hokkaido area last month. All vegetables grown in this region, including corn, potatoes, carrots and onions will be in tight supply.  Japan is now looking to others to supply many of these items. 

Thailand:   It seems the Thai sweet corn supply has been improving. Heat and drought created a very tight supply situation during May/June/July. However much needed rains in August have helped to normalize and improve supply.  

Pineapple processors are still struggling due to weather conditions throughout the year and volumes of pineapple are expected to be low.

The season should begin this month and pick up to peak production in November however the outlook for volume and quality is not good. Due to lack of rain the fruit has matured very slowly.

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 will commence in January 2017 and a better crop is anticipated.

China: 

Shandong Province: Edamame harvest is now completed.  Quality and yields are reported as good with stable price. Broccoli season should begin at the end of the month.

Zhejiang Province: Edamame harvest is completed; however, some factories are processing mukimame.   Although a typhoon went through the Zhejiang area broccoli and cauliflower were not damaged and transplanting is moving forward.  To date conditions are good. Lotus root now being harvested. Conditions and prices remain stable.

Fujian Province:  Unfortunately in this area the typhoon caused major damage to many factories. Some were forced to close temporarily to repair damages. The autumn crop of edamame was seriously damaged and yields will be limited. As well, okra yields will decline sharply due to the recent typhoon.


Another Case of Hepatitis A

When we think of frozen berries, we normally think healthy and a convenient and easy way to add some fruit to your diet. But last month an outbreak of hepatitis A was a reminder that even frozen fruit can be susceptible to toxins. It was also a reminder that we must be extremely vigilant on the safety and sanitary conditions of manufacturers we purchase products from.   

The US Food and Drug Administration is investigating frozen strawberries from Egypt as a possible source of the outbreak, and is working with the Egyptian International Health Regulations

National Focal Point as part of the investigation.

As of end September, the FDA has reported that 129 people had become ill with hepatitis A, a liver disease commonly spread through feces. It can become severe, although some cases last a few weeks and are relatively mild, causing abdominal pain and fatigue among other symptoms. Cases of hepatitis A were found in Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Oregon, Wisconsin, and West Virginia, and 47 had cases severe enough to require hospitalization.

The vast majority of those who became ill reported drinking smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Cafe, a national chain, within a month before they started showing symptoms. Over fifty of them consumed a smoothie that included strawberries, and all of whom bought their smoothies in the Virginia area. The locations where possibly contaminated smoothies were sold purchased their strawberries from Egypt. All frozen strawberries have been removed from Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations across the country.

At this time the investigation is still underway to determine at what point contamination may have taken place. Egypt’s Minister of Agriculture has also launched an investigation into the frozen strawberry industry, a market the country dominates in the Persian Gulf. Random samples hadn’t turned up any contamination by early September, but the General Organization for Export and Import Control and Health Ministry are working with the Agriculture Ministry to shore up food safety.


Organic Farming On The Rise

Organics have taken the way we eat by storm!  In just a few years, organics have gone from a health food niche to a supermarket staple, have changed the way we think about healthy eating, and is reshaping agriculture. But organics are more than a trending buzzword: In 2015, multi-year upward growth continued as organic sales topped $43 billion, up eleven percent from 2014.

The latest numbers continue on a near decade of growth with the total sales nearly doubling between 2006 and 2015. Organic sales grew $4.2 billion between 2014 and 2015, adding millions in new sales over the increase between 2013 and 2014.  In year 2015, 5% of all food sold in the U.S. was organic.

Keeping up with demand for organic produce hasn’t been without challenge.  Fruits and vegetables are the largest category in the organic industry, selling $14.4 billion worth of product and seeing an increase in sales of over ten percent last year. Organic fruit and vegetables makes up thirteen percent of all produce sold in the US. But with tight restrictions and often significant startup costs, providing certified organic produce has been a struggle for the supply chain. Companies that rely on organic farmers, such as Annie’s and Organic Valley or chains like Chipotle, are investing in organic farming to help farmers to meet the growth.

As of 2016, the US Department of Agriculture found there are 14,540 certified or certification exempt farms in the United States. While organic farming can be cost prohibitive - the vast majority -- some seventy-eight percent -- of farms told the USDA that they would continue or increase organic production. And if the past decade is any indication, there will be plenty of demand for their organic supply.




Technology Tackles Food Waste

Food waste is a global problem that many countries have been working to tackle more aggressively in recent years. From laws on how edibe food can be disposed of by supermarkets in France to discounted boxes of imperfect produce in the UK, innovative solutions have already saved many tonnes of food from landfills. Now, technolgy is getting into the food-waste game, with apps helping people coordinate and save food from the trash.

In the United States, forty percent of all food is uneaten, a huge percent that obscures the struggle many families face in putting food on the table. Much of the food that ends up in the landfill is safe to eat, but imperfect or otherwise deemed “defective”. Efforts to address the amount of food that is thrown away before it even reaches the supermarket -- like misshapen squash or oddly colored apples -- are necessary for saving food before it reaches the landfill.

In the UK, the “Too Good To Go” app has a two pronged approach to the 600,000 tonnes of food tossed out by restaurants each year. At the end of the night users can order leftover food from restaurants or buy a meal for someone in need, all at a deep discount.  The idea began in Denmark but is now gaining traction in the U.K and other parts of Europe.

However, Too Good To Go isn’t the only app to get into the food waste solution.  In Spain, “Yo No Desperdicio” lets users swap and share extra food they would otherwise throw out, while the United States “Food Cowboy” helps distributors connect with charities to donate imperfect produce and other types of package foods that retail stores reject. It’s a great example of how food and technology can come together to find solutions to social issues.





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