Inside this Food Report



DECEMBER 1, 2011

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Hello Everyone,

Happy Holidays. Time has certainly flown by as we find ourselves quickly approaching the New Year!

The Seattle staff is preparing to travel to beautiful Monterey and Carmel California where we will meet up with our Danville and Australia counterparts to celebrate the holiday season. It is sure to be a fantastic weekend for everyone as we laugh, shop, dine and of course karaoke our way through the weekend!

We will also be honoring our dear and beloved accountant Louise Waram who at 94 years old has decided to retire! Her dedication and work ethic is an inspiration to us all and we will miss her although we are certain she will be visiting the office often and helping out when needed.

Noon International would also like to report that our campaign to raise money for the Japanese Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Effort is completed this month and it was a resounding success!! As we mentioned in our May issue Noon will donate a portion of the proceeds for each container shipped , April through December, to the relief effort. Thanks to all of our suppliers for their support and who continued to ship our containers on schedule and thanks to all of our customers who entrusted us with their business, as of this posting, we were able to raise well over UD$6,000.00 for the relief effort!! Our donation will be given to the Japan Red Cross to continue their tireless work for Japan's recovery.

In closing we want to wish everyone peace, joy, and many blessings this holiday season.

Lily, Betty, and the Noon International Team


United States: Northwest vegetable harvest is now completed. Peas, Corn, Carrots, and beans all began late this season due to cool and wet weather. For the most part yields and quality were average but reduced acreage and a few suppliers who needed to by pass some acreage due to extreme and sudden heat, will keep the corn and pea market tight. A few processers actually harvested corn through middle November.

Potato processors in the Northwest used up 29.6 million cwt of potatoes directly from the 2011 crop season. This early crop usage was up by 7.91 million cwt from last year. The increase of usage was due to low inventory of storage potatoes and a late and slow start to the potato harvest caused by cool and wet weather. Idaho processors also exceeded 2010 early crop usage by 23.5%.

Potato News reported that sales of French frys to Japan declined by 5.3 pct in the third quarter. It seems Japan is diversifying their supplies to Canada and Europe. On the other hand China continues to grow its demand for U.S French frys which could be due in part to China's expansion of quick service restaurants.

Europe: Belgium's crop of potatoes is experiencing large yields due to favorable weather conditions. The large surpluses are keeping Euopean potato prices low. Brussels sprout crop is now underway in Belgium and the Netherlands. Yields are expected to be good due to larger size sprouts this season, however the larger size is not suitable for freezing. To date broccoli and cauliflower crops in Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands are good.

No surplus of green beans in Europe and price to remain firm or rise slightly.

Poland, Italy and Austria are enjoying a surplus apple harvest.

Mexico: Broccoli and Cauliflower production are proceeding as normal, with average yields and quality.

Avocado production in Mexico fell last season. This has created high prices due to a large demand from U.S and also a lower production year in Chile. Although plantings in Mexico are increasing it will take some time before the product will be ready for market. Japan is increasing its demand for avocado as it is used in sushi and current trends such as using avocados in sandwiches including hamburgers.

Guatemala's Fresh Okra
Guatemala: Broccoli harvest continues, however volumes have declined a bit due to the start of fruit season in Guatemala. Snow Peas and Sugar Snap peas are expected to commence harvest end December/beginning January. Guatemala has expanded its export of Okra to the United States to 25.92 million pounds.

Chile: Asparagus harvest is still underway, however to date the yields are down by 35 % due to the cooler weather and rain. Rain limited access to the fields and the cool weather slowed down spear emergence. As a way to improve cash flow many growers have diverted product to the fresh market instead of to processors. This coupled with a large worldwide demand has kept the prices firm and product in short supply.

Blueberry harvest has seen a slow start and prices are expected to be a bit higher than last season.

Peru: Peru is experiencing same situation as Chile with a late start to asparagus season and cool and wet weather which has hindered the asparagus growth. Supplies will remain tight with prices high.

New Zealand: Pea season has been delayed by 1 to 2 weeks. Crop is expected to be normal. New Zealand is still struggling with the presence of PSA disease in their kiwi crop. Orchardists are trying to slow down the growth of this bacteria in order to find time to create a treatment and solution to fight this disease.

Thailand: Thailand is still struggling with floodwaters and rain. Approximately 15 % of Thailand's quarterly pineapple crop has been destroyed. Thai sweet corn production has been hit more than originally expected as many sweet corn farms have been washed away. There is also concern regarding new plantings as the water washed over farms many chemicals from factories were washed away as well. This is cause for concern regarding safe soil. Farmers will have to test soil before planting again. It will be a difficult road ahead for Thai production of canned products since many tin plate factories have closed or suffered from this flooding it has resulted in a limited amount of tin plate available. This could cause product to be left in the fields to rot. Many roads are impassible and it is difficult for workers to travel to their places of employment, for supplies to get to the factories and for finished product to get to the ports.

China: China is seeing falling prices for their fall crops, broccoli and cauliflower. The weather has improved and crops are doing well. Raw material price has fallen from 30 to 45 pct compared to last years tight supply situation. Autumn crop of soybean was average and majority was supplied to the fresh market. Price of lotus root is higher this season due to increased labor cost. Shitake mushroom price is high due to reduced acreage and higher labor costs.

Overall due to the poor spring crop processors are in need of cash, so farmers are lowering their field prices in order to move their fall crops.

Consumer Confidence On The Decline

Buyer's Confidence Declining
An industry-backed study on food safety has shown a lack of confidence among consumers in the safety of food they eat. The study was conducted by the Center for Food Integrity in partnership with Iowa State University and shows a decrease from prior surveys in the level of agreement from the following statement, "I am confident in the safety of the food I eat". To be exact 4 percent fewer people surveyed agreed with this statement. Additionally an even larger decline of 9 percent was noted with the agreement of this phrase, "Today's food supply is safer than it was when I was growing up".

Safety and affordability have always been top values among consumers with safety continually topping the list. The responses to the questions clearly show a decreasing lack of confidence by consumers in our food safety systems. According to the Center for Food Integrity, "Those involved in the food system know today's system is safer than it was a generation ago, but clearly perception is not in alignment".

CFI believes that the drop is due in part to the industry not connecting with consumers in a way that is meaningful to them. Many consumers believe they do not have access to all available information about where food comes from, how it is produced and its safety. Moving forward the CFI recommends the food industry improves upon ways in connecting with consumers on the issues and concerns they see as important.

Broccoli With A Kick

Broccoli Is Good For You!

After nearly 10 plus years of research British Scientists have unveiled a new vegetable packing major nutritional value. Super Broccoli, the newest super food to hit the supermarket shelves contains 2-3 times the amount of glucoraphanin as your typical broccoli. Glucoraphanin is a nutrient believed to ward of heart disease and can be found in vegetables like, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and kale with broccoli containing the highest levels of the phytonutrient. The body takes glucoraphanin and turns it into sulforaphane which in turn naturally boosts the body's antioxidant enzyme levels. Antioxidants help to protect our bodies against the damage of environmental pollutants and free radicals. The enzyme is also beneficial in maintaining antioxidant activity of vitamins A, C, and E.

In the U.S. the Super Broccoli is known as Beneforte and is the effort of 14 years of cross pollination and research by British Scientists. In the 1980's scientists embarked on a global expedition with the goal of finding uncultivated broccoli varieties that contained higher levels of phytonutrients. What they came across was a variety of wild broccoli in Southern Italy that produced naturally higher levels of glucoraphanin then traditional broccoli. This form of wild broccoli was later cross pollinated with the traditional commercial form and is now what we know as super broccoli or the Beneforte variety. The hybrid was developed using no genetic modification and has been granted a patent by European Authorities.

This super broccoli has the same flavor as regular commercial variety and at times can be a bit sweeter because it contains less sulphur. Beneforte broccoli is grown in the Santa Maria Valley of California and has been on sale in select stores throughout California and Texas in fresh form for the last year and will become available nationwide this fall.

America's School Lunch Programs Under Fire

America's School Lunch

Federal officials in January unveiled plans for a major nutritional overhaul of the school lunch program in the United States, the first in 15 years. With a third of American children today considered to be obese or overweight and 40% of their calories being consumed in the lunchroom it is essential that a solid foundation of nutritional value be set. Part of the plan is to reduce the amount of starches consumed by cutting back on potatoes and adding more fresh fruits and vegetables. However the National Potato Council has commented, "90% of the potatoes served in schools are baked, boiled or mashed" Additionally the plan calls to gradually begin reducing the amount of sodium in lunchroom foods over the next 10 years.

Several large food companies including Coca-Cola and Del Monte Foods would be greatly affected by the changes and bring light to the argument that these changes would raise the cost of lunchroom meals and create food that many children will not eat. Products such as french fries and frozen pizza will be affected as these foods may contain sodium and starch levels that exceed the proposed mandates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Overall these changes will add $6.8 billion to the currently $11 billion dollar school-lunch program budget.

A group of Senators including Colorado Democrat Mark Udall and Republican Susan Collins of Maine, have led the opposition to the new starch rules and have already succeeded in blocking the Department of Agricultural's plan to limit the amount of starchy foods in schools. There has been criticism that the food industry is putting profits first over the health of children. According to an article in the New York Times the food industry has already recognized that eating more fruits and vegetables and reducing the amount of salt consumed is a good thing but they believe the government's proposals go too far too quickly.

At the moment the Department of Agricultural has been instructed to not only revise the plan but basically start over in reconstructing a new proposal. Mark G. Wootan the director of nutritional policy at the center of science for public interest has said, "This whole fight obscures the fact that the U.S.D.A.'s proposal is about helping kids eat a wide variety of vegetables and make lunches overall healthier,". At the end of November Congress choose to keep potatoes on the school lunch menu a victory for potato growers, but we are certain that this is an issue the frozen food industry will be watching closely.

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