Inside this Food Report

VOLUME 4
ISSUE 9


September 1, 2013

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Hello Everyone,

Sweet corn season in the United States is well underway with 50 % of the crop already in the barn.   Please see more in our crop news below.  

While the weather conditions in the Northwest section of the United States is fairly stable it is not so in other parts of the country.   The Midwest experienced above normal temperatures in August and while this has helped move the corn crop along with no rain in site it could mean reduced yields for Midwest corn, especially America’s field corn.  The states of Minnesota and Colorado actually decided to shut down some schools as the heat made it impossible for students to concentrate. Wild fires are ranging in California ‘s Yosemite Park and parts of this National treasure has been destroyed.  

As we wait to see how our crops will fair, Noon team members are busy moving from Northwest to Midwest to watch our contracts being processed.   So much work and effort goes into each and every pound of vegetables and fruits we sell and it is always this time of year we like to thank our many growers and processors for a job well done!

Until Next Time,

Betty and the Noon International Team

 

CropVeggiesUnited States:   It has been an unusually warm and sunny summer in the Northwest (Washington/Oregon) .  Crops have been coming on quickly.   Pea season is completed and it is being reported by processors that yields are down 15% - 20%.   Spring plantings were delayed due to rain, some fields suffered frost and hail damage and coupled with extreme heat brought the pea crop on very quickly.   Limited amounts of high quality A grade product available.    Sweet corn harvest is approximately 50% completed.   It is an average crop year with good yields and good quality.   No adverse conditions to report.   Midwest sweet corn production was delayed by about two weeks due to very cool night time temperatures which slowed down crop growth.   Temperatures at end of August have heated up and this coupled with no rain may result in lower yields.   Washington potato harvest underway now , however a series of spring frosts and current high temperatures may hurt yield potential.

Blueberry harvest is in full swing in the Pacific Northwest.  Expectations are a record year in total volume.  Two years ago 60 million pounds were harvested which was a record year.  Favorable weather conditions could result in an 80 million pound harvest for the Northwest area alone.  Blueberry prices are down this year compared to last season.
 Washington’s apple harvest is underway and many growers are expecting a bumper crop which is estimated at 4.8 billion pounds this year!

Canada:   Canada’s wild blueberry harvest was poor this season.    Mostly the crop in Quebec suffered due to a frost during the blooming stage.   It is reported that demand will exceed the supply with no carryover from 2012 crop in hand and an approximate 25% reduction in 2013 production.

Mexico:  Heavy rains in July caused low yields of both broccoli and cauliflower .   Normally August is the rainiest month in Mexico , however this year August rain was less intense which has resulted in improving yields and quality. 

Guatemala:   Peak season broccoli production is now underway with excellent quality and high volume.

Peru:   Avocado season is now completed.   Quality and yield was good.
Asparagus season will begin this month with nearly all contracts already secured.   Growers are trying to increase acreage of asparagus to keep up with global demand. 

Chile:  Asparagus harvest is set to start middle September in small volumes.  Peak season should be in full swing by early October .   Early indications are for little change in prices compared to last season.   Global demand for asparagus remains high.   Even with Chile’s non fibrous product , cheaper prices from China will continue to offer strong competition.

Europe:  A cool wet spring resulted in a late start to most European vegetable crops.   Beans are expected to be harvested through end October which is a bit risky due to frost.   Pea harvest although late is expected to be good .   Brussels spouts stocks are exhausted and the new harvest is expected to begin by middle October.
High heat has been hurting the raspberry crop in Serbia .

Philippines:   Two typhoons have affected the 2013 banana crop .  Year to date production volume is down by 8.1 %.

South Africa:   Overall citrus exports have increased this year .  The largest gain has been seen in grapefruit.

China: 

Zhejiang Province:  High temperatures and drought conditions are affecting the fall crop broccoli and cauliflower crop preventing the seedlings from growing.    Other vegetables such as lotus root and gourd as well as fruit/grapes has suffered with lower quality.
Tea farms in Hangzhou, Huzhou and Lishui cities have been the worst affected by the drought and high temperatures.   Approximately 27,000 hectares of tea gardens have been harmed which will have a dramatic impact on tea output.   The drought has touched many parts of east, central and south China causing losses to crops and drinking water shortages to millions of residents.

Fujian Province:  Okra is now being processed and reports show yields and quality down due to high temperatures and heavy rain.

Shandong Province:   Asparagus season ended 10 days early due to heavy rains in the region.


New Labeling Requirements for Gluten Free

The term “gluten-free” seems to be everywhere these days – in supermarkets and restaurants, and on TV food shows and recipes. The term recently made headlines when the US FDA officially defined it, turning a hitherto unclear term into a specific guideline – more on that later. But first, what exactly is gluten?

It is a protein (consisting of two different components – gliadin and glutenin) found in wheat and other grains from the “grass family” such as rye, barley and even oats. It is due to gluten that bread gets its elasticity and chewiness; it helps bread rise and hold its shape. However, some people have difficulty digesting foods that contain gluten; about 1 in 133 Americans suffers from gluten intolerance or Celiac disease, which is a genetic autoimmune disorder.

When people with Celiac disease eat gluten-containing foods, their immune system attacks the lining of the small intestine, causing pain, diarrhea, and other abdominal symptoms and preventing proper absorption of nutrients from the intestine. There could also be more serious consequences such as malnutrition, infertility,  and intestinal cancer.  The only way to manage Celiac disease is to incorporate a gluten-free diet in one’s routine, as Celiac disease has no cure.

Until recently, even though many foods were labeled “gluten-free”, there was no proper definition to the term gluten free.  On August 5th this year, the US FDA issued a ruling that the “gluten-free” label indicate 20 parts per million (ppm) or less of gluten, thereby ensuring a standardized guideline for the label.

This is a step forward for the approximately three million Americans who require strictly non-gluten diets due to medical reasons. Now they can shop with confidence without worrying whether a product touted as being gluten free is really so.  According to the FDA edict, all food products professing to be gluten-free will have to fulfill the condition of containing no more than 20 ppm gluten.

Various consumer and medical groups have lauded this announcement, claiming it will help them make better, more informed choices when shopping for food.

Apart from those food items tagged gluten free, there are ways to have a diet that excludes gluten. Many people are just allergic to gluten, though they may not suffer from Celiac disease. Others find that eliminating gluten from their diets leads to weight loss. Whatever be their need, today consumers can find various substitutes for gluten-containing grains. For example, in place of wheat flour or starch, one can use flours made out of legumes (peanuts, soybeans, chickpeas), seeds (flaxseed, quinoa, amaranth), tubers (potato, sweet potato, tapioca), nuts (almond, walnut, chestnut) or other grains (sorghum, rice). Breakfast cereals are available with rice, corn, soy or other gluten-free grains, without malt flavorings (malt is made from barley, which contains gluten). Even in main and side dishes (pasta, bread, and noodles), legumes and other grains such as the versatile rice can satisfactorily replace wheat.

Today, more than ever, it is easier and simpler to follow a gluten-free diet.



The Healthiest Habitats!

It has always been our goal to bring you the latest not only in the areas of nutritious foods but also in  healthy lifestyles. We want to inspire and motivate our readers to strive towards an active and fit way of life. To this end, we thought we would share a recent study we came across that analyzed major metropolitan areas in the United States to determine which areas had residents leading active and healthy lifestyles. The study, called the “Healthiest Habitats Study” was conducted by Russell Brands, LLC  which manufactures and supplies uniforms for a wide range of sport teams. The study took into account factors such as residents’ body mass index, number of biking/hiking trails, and number of fitness centers to name a few of the criteria.  It then compiled a list of the top 15 areas that promote active and healthy living by means of providing their residents with options for indoor-outdoor workouts, retail outlets for health foods and gym equipment.
It is not surprising that the Northern California Bay Area – San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland – came out on top as “the most active area in the country”. It has always been sort of a Mecca for the “fit and fabulous”. Famed for its natural beauty and glorious weather, this region apparently gives its inhabitants plenty of opportunities to get out and get going. Curiously, the number of gyms in this area is comparable to other regions; it appears that it is the outdoors that gives the Bay Area dwellers the edge!


In Noonís Seattle office both
our Steve and Chad
bike to work!

Not just the Bay Area but other West Coast locations,  Seattle-Tacoma (WA), Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton (OR-WA), and San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos (CA) also scored high (2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively) on the top 15 healthiest areas in the US. Boston, MA was the only eastern region in the top five of the list.
Other findings included the most bike-friendly area (Portland, OR), city with highest percentage of residents getting exercise (Minneapolis, MN) and several more interesting nuggets of information. While it may astonish some that Los Angeles, CA – that automobile hotspot – has a very high concentration of hiking trails, it was no great surprise that Portland, OR had a high number of its workforce ditching the car and commuting to work by bike.

This study indicates that the rest of the US still has some way to go in terms of catching up on the fitness and athletic levels of the West Coast. You could blame it a little on the not-so-cooperative weather, but surely, there are ways for areas on the East Coast, South and Mid-West to improve upon their standing.   Noon International is thrilled to learn that the two locations in which Noon has their U.S. offices (Northern California and Seattle, WA) are the top two cities for healthy habitats!

Read the entire report here: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/russell-athletic-dri-power-360-healthiest-habitats-study-finds-northern-california-bay-area-most-physically-active-in-the-nation-155966935.html




Rise and Shine, Chinaís On Line!


Online grocery shopping has been growing steadily worldwide over the last few years and is predicted to grow even more in the coming years. While in markets such as the United States and the United Kingdom, grocery and other food sales have been marketed online for some time now, new markets such as China show tremendous potential for growth.

Traditionally, the Chinese have bought their food – be it fresh produce, meat or packaged foods – from supermarkets. But with an emergent, well-off, middle-class segment that consists of young professionals, there is a growing demand for these items online.

 It is not just the convenience of getting groceries at the click of a mouse that is the motivation for buying food online.  Contamination of rice with cadmium, baby formula powder with melamine, dumplings with aluminum, bean sprouts and long beans with pesticides and more such episodes have caused alarm and outrage in the general population. Add to that, the repeated bird flu incidences and consumer confidence in buying food from supermarkets or individual shops has eroded.

Online retailers have cleverly used this apprehension to market their wares online, touting them as pure and safe since they are delivered directly from the farm to the consumer. They claim to do away with middlemen and thus reduce costs for the customer.  The ploy seems to have paid off. People are ready to pay a little extra for the peace of mind they derive from the thought that they are buying healthy food.

Companies such as COFCO (which sells via Womai.com) and Shunfeng Express maintain that they envision a lot of people preferring safe online food to dubious items from a supermarket or store. While some analysts boldly predict an increase of almost four times the current online food sales in the next five years, others are more cautious but still affirm that growth in food-related ecommerce in China will overtake that of major markets worldwide.

Formerly, large food e-retailers such as Yihaodian and Jingdong Mall routinely sold prepackaged food and produce with long shelf lives. But now, with the rise of the affluent, urban, Internet-savvy consumers, these stores are aiming to introduce high-end, high-quality products such as exotic fruits and vegetables, placing a premium on freshness and purity. Apart from local produce, meat and seafood, they also offer imported products such as wine, chocolates, baby formula and more.

Just for fun

Have you ever been in a situation where you could not decide whether to order a burger or pizza. Click here to see Japanís solution!.

 


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