Inside this Food Report


December 1, 2015

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Hello Everyone,

It is officially the holiday season! I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving with family and friends and are looking forward to the upcoming holidays. I personally love the holiday season – the lights, the food, the decorations and festivities. And I love being able to have a tree full of lights in my office! I think it is true that everyone seems a bit more compassionate and happier during this time of year.

December will be a busy month for Noon members. As usual we will be celebrating together with our annual Christmas party and after that some of us will be traveling to Mexico to check on harvest conditions and watch our broccoli and cauliflower contracts being produced. I am super excited about this visit because I love Mexico during the holidays. And of course I love visiting the broccoli fields as well!

The United States growing season is pretty much completed and most crops came in on target with the exception of potatoes. China crops are still ongoing and this is the peak season for water chestnuts so get your bookings in! Best quality is during December and January (see our crop section below).

With all the troubling situations going on around the world recently we hope you find some moments to reflect and enjoy what matters most to you during this holiday time. Noon International wishes everyone a joyful, peaceful and festive season.

All The Best

Betty Johnson And The Noon International Team


United States: Results of the sweet corn harvest in the U.S is reported as good. While a few processors reported some lower yields at the start of the harvest back in July, most have now confirmed that the final outcome this year was a good yielding crop with excellent quality.

Diced carrot harvest is now fully completed and yields and quality are average.

Squash harvest in the Northwest is also fully completed.

Potato harvest for processing is completed. It is being reported that depending on the area potato yields fluctuated. In Washington State Shepody and Ranger enjoyed average yields while Russet Burbank experienced below average yields due to extreme heat . It is estimated that on average yields are down by 15%. Damage from heat was minimal in Oregon State, which resulted in average yields. Freezer supplies are currently at low levels and it is reported that fry quality potatoes in Washington and Idaho are down from last season.

Mexico: Both broccoli and cauliflower harvest in Mexico is finally stable. Affects of the rainy season are now over and excellent quality and volumes are being produced. Mexico’s Colima Volcano has continued to erupt since November 16th, however no reports of damage to any fresh crops, including avocado, has been reported. Also please make note our broccoli and cauliflower-growing areas are not any where close to this active volcano.

Guatemala: Sugar snap pea and snow pea harvest is expected to commence later this month. Broccoli harvest continues although volumes are declining as we begin to come out of our peak season. Brussels Sprout and okra season should be completed soon.

Chile: Strawberry and blueberry season is underway in Chile. Product will be short and prices high due to the El Nino factor. Cold and rainy weather has delayed pollination and current rain and cool weather has prevented the blueberries to ripen. Fresh shipments of blueberries have been delayed by 2 to 4 weeks with limited air shipments going out. Full vessel shipments are not expected until late December/January.

Europe: Vegetables continue to be in tight supply all across Europe due to the severe heat and drought this past summer. The potato market especially is in tight supply and prices are up. Prices have gone up by 15 – 20%.
Poland specifically is reporting higher prices for frozen onion, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots and for the most part processors are off the market.
Frozen raspberries is another crop suffering the effects of Europe’s heat wave the past summer. Prices on raspberries coming out of Poland and Serbia continue to rise with supplies short.
Peak Citrus season in Spain began in November. It is being reported there will be a 22% drop in production this season due to previous weather conditions, including high summer heat. Some of the top citrus growing regions in Spain are Valencia, Murcia, and Andalusia.


Zhejiang Province: Higher temperatures will result in cauliflower season commencing approximately 15 days ahead of schedule and broccoli season will begin about 20 – 25 days ahead of schedule. However recent rains in November has affected broccoli quality. Prices at this moment remain stable.
There are limited amounts of sugar snap peas and pea pods in inventory now and prices are high. However Sugar snap peas and pea pod growing conditions to date look good so prices may come down once new harvest begins.
Lotus root is now being harvested. Increased labor cost has brought the price of lotus root up. Quality and yields are reported as average.
Raw material for frozen shitake mushroom is abundant this season so expect prices to be lower than last year. Currently mandarin orange crop is average, however quality is expected to improve as the harvest progresses.

Shandong Province: Broccoli harvest in this region is now completed. Quality is average, however yields were lower than expected and prices are not as low as previously thought. Taro harvest is underway through the end of January. Due to increased acreage there has been sufficient raw material and prices have declined by approximately 20%. Spinach is currently being harvested. Both quality and price remain stable. Processing will continue through December.

Fujian: Water chestnut harvest is now underway. Peak season is December/January and this is when most of the best quality is harvested. The season will run through February/March, however late in the season is when starch begins to form which creates brown spots.

Food Fraud

When you walk into a supermarket, chances are you don’t worry too much about your food including fake or replacement ingredients. But a string of recent scandals and studies have found that food fraud, or the practice of including various edible and non-edible ingredients in your food is more prevalent than you may think.

“Around the world, food fraud is an epidemic. In every single country where food is produced or grown, food fraud is occurring,” investigator Mitchell Weinberg said in August to the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP)

Food fraud has been an issue throughout history, and centuries ago laws went into effect in England to ban adding ash to pepper in order to stretch volume. Fraudulent ingredients can run the gamut, from watering down alcohol and wine, to adding hydrogen peroxide to fish to give the impression it is fresh, to simply miss labeling cuts of meat.

In China, a recent scandal put food fraud in the spotlight. A company was caught on tape producing rice by adding a plastic resin as well as sweet potato. Asian countries have been scrambling to find out if this rice was imported into their country. If consumed, the rice poses serious health threats, and according to Weinberg just three cups is the equivalent of eating a plastic bag.

While the FDA is active in investigating potential food fraud and INTERPOL tracks food fraud in over 47 countries, the plastic rice scandal highlights the difficulty in verifying that all food is what it claims to be. Fraudulent foods are intended to look, smell, and taste so much like their intended product that simple checks can let it through, leaving the burden on consumers to report it. Keep an eye on the way food cooks or slight changes in flavor, which could be a sign of possible fraud.

Apple Cider Vinegar!

Many of us have a bottle of apple cider vinegar hanging around in the back of our cabinets. But the tangy vinegar is expected to have a big year in 2016. With products like Switchel appearing on store shelves, apple cider vinegar is being hailed for its myriad of health benefits. So what makes it so good for you?

Apple cider vinegar is high in healthy acids and antibacterial properties, and it’s low in calories. The combination of lactic and acetic acids helps fight various health problems. The acids in apple cider vinegar can help lower cholesterol and lower blood sugar. And because vinegar lowers blood sugar and insulin levels it could also help with losing weight. Vinegar may protect heart health and protect against cancer.

It is said that apple cider vinegar can sooth a sore throat, cure hiccups, help with indigestion, heal sores and remove dandruff. And with just 3 calories per serving, it’s a healthy multi-tool that belongs as much in your kitchen as in your medicine cabinet.

One teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, along with a teaspoon of honey in a warm glass of water is all you need each day to benefit your health. It’s a genuine multi-tasker that you’ll want to have close at hand!

2016 Food Trends

The New Year is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking about what 2016’s culinary landscape might look like. The year is shaping up much like 2015, with further innovation redefining staple food products. Convenience will also play a key role in 2016, along with the continued boom in artisanal goods. Here are some of the trends to keep an eye out for in the coming year!

Unique Sips. 2016 is on pace to redefine what we drink. Switchels, a traditional apple cider vinegar beverage sweetened with molasses, is making a comeback that could put it in the running with kombucha. Creamy soups and broths might also pop up in bottles at your supermarket soon, offering an even quicker and easier lunch option for the foodie-on-the-go. Coffee is seeing some changes, too, with nitro tapped brews opening up the door to all kinds of reimagining’s. Coffee mocktail anyone?

Artisanal Reimagining’s. Porridge and yogurt may not sound very exciting but it seems that 2016 will be changing that. Additions to porridge, including ancient grains and savory toppings, are changing the way the food world thinks about this workhorse dish. Meanwhile, savory yogurt is popping up in the dairy aisle, offering a reduced-sugar option that evokes Middle Eastern labneh (a thick salted yogurt). But sweets aren’t being forgotten completely. Complex flavors like miso and techniques like smoking are finding their way into your desserts this coming year, with delicious results.

Convenience is King. 2015 saw the rise of convenience-based services, including meal kit services and independent delivery companies. Expect that to continue in 2016. Along with sippable soups for lunch, you’ll be seeing more pre-prepped and delivered meal planning services, grocery services, and more options that cater to niche dietary restrictions.

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