Inside this Food Report


December 1, 2016

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Hello Everyone,

Wow...the holiday season is here! With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas and the New Year ahead it is a busy time for all!

Our harvest here in North America is pretty much officially over while our friends in South America are beginning their berry fruit and vegetable season. To date all conditions in South America look to a favorable fruit and vegetable crop. (see our crop section below).

This month will be a busy one for all of us at Noon International. With holiday lunches and dinners, our Noon International Christmas party, and a visit to Mexico, there is no rest for us! To combat the busyness of the holiday season and our work schedules, the "girls" at Noon planned a spa date together and I can hardly wait!

Based on the articles below regarding the consumption increases in frozen fruit and frozen vegetables it seems the future of our industry looks merry and bright!

Wishing you a holiday season filled with happiness, peace, and many blessings.

All The Best,

Betty And The Noon International Team

CropVeggies United States: Sweet Corn season fully completed. The Northwest experienced a very good season with high yields and good quality. Midwest processors struggled at the tail end of the season with rain so yields may be down a bit in this area. Overall it has been a good season for U.S sweet corn.

Green Bean harvest did extremely well this year with high yields and good quality.

Diced carrot production now completed and reports indicate it was a good season.

Potato harvest completed. Reports in regarding Colombia Basin area are that the early variety potato yields were very good, however some later varieties had smaller yields. In general overall yields ended more favorable than anticipated and in some spots the season ended a few days early. The success of the season was due in large part to early spring weather which was conducive to bringing on the potatoes early and summer was cool enough that it continued with favorable conditions for the plants. In fact there are some reports that processors will have enough storage potatoes to see them through the early processing time period for 2017 crop.

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 Washington Red Raspberry commission reported that this seasons raspberry crop was 48% higher than the 2015 season. A reported harvest of nearly 78 million pounds was completed. Increased acreage and very favorable weather conditions contributed to the record high harvest.

The cherry season in Michigan was also very good, with higher than expected yields and good quality fruit.

Mexico: We are now through the rainy season in Mexico, however broccoli and cauliflower still coming in slow due to the ramifications of the tail end of the rain. Cooler daytime temperatures have hindered the broccoli and cauliflower growth and raw material is still being reported as coming in at a slower rate than usual for this time of year.

Guatemala: Broccoli season is doing very well with good yields and quality, however it is now the time of the year when peak production will wind down and limited volumes become available. Currently Guatemala is producing broccoli, okra and a small amount of cauliflower. Snow peas and sugar snap pea harvest will commence at the end of December.

Peru: Mango season in Peru is expected to be better than last year due to the cooler weather. Flowering went well and the harvest has commenced.

Peru's Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation announced in October that Peru will become the largest exporter of fresh blueberries within the next few years due to the country's increased production of this crop.

Chile: Asparagus season completed. Blueberry and Strawberry production for both fresh and frozen now underway and expected to continue through the end of the year. Conditions reported as good.

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. Brussel sprouts harvest has also been delayed in some areas due to the plants not developing enough yet.

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. The North-western European Potato Growers suffered a cold and wet spring which delayed plantings. Summer season brought very hot dry weather and many growers were holding off on digging due to the harden soil. Rain in October has accelerate the harvest in Belgium as soil has soften and growers are digging as quickly as possible, however a low production is expected in spite of the increased acreage which was planted for the season.

New Zealand: Weather in New Zealand has been wet which has delayed the plantings of various vegetables. Corn plantings are about 10 days behind schedule compared to last season. Green Pea crop will commence middle of this month and run through the end of December. The quality and yields of the pea crop this season is reported to be very good.

Australia: A wet year in Australia with flooding in the East and frost in the West will hurt Australia's grain market. As well some fruit crops have been affected by hail and rain.

Japan: Japan still feeling the effects of the typhoons that ripped through Japan's Hokkaido area in September. All vegetables grown in this region, including corn, potatoes, carrots and onions will be in tight supply. Reports from the USDA FAS in Japan estimates a 20% - 25% yield loss. About 10% of the seed potato was lost to the typhoons as well. Farmers have plowed under potato fields due to flooding and some processing factories have been closed due to damage. It is uncertain whether or not they will reopen.

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 will begin this month 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.


Shandong Province: Edamame harvest is now completed. Quality and yields are reported as good with stable price. Broccoli season suffered cold temperatures and adverse weather conditions which resulted in low yields and quality. Taro processing has started. Quality is average but yields are down by about 40%. Due to low prices last season most farmers reduced their acreage which has now brought prices up by 8% - 10% on taro.

Zhejiang Province: Raw material quality for broccoli looks good. Broccoli in this region is in demand and prices are high due to the poor conditions in Shandong and Jiangsu province as well as the domestic demand generated by the incoming Spring Festival season. Lotus Root currently being harvest and quality and prices are stable. Mandarin orange harvest has commenced. Due to high temperatures yields have declined by about 30%. Prices have increase by 20% - 30%

Fujian Province: Unfortunately in this area the past typhoons 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 typhoons. Water Chestnut production has started and quality is stable, however prices have increase slightly compared to last season.

Do You Know What A PCQI Is?

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is beginning to go into effect, bringing with it waves of change in how the food industry ensures product safety. The law itself is complex and multi layered, and consist of many new requirements. One of them is the PCQI, a new position required for creating and implementing food safety plans that must now be used by all human and animal food production facilities. But what is a PCQI, and what do they do?

PCQI stands for "preventative controls-qualified individual" a position required by the FDA for each facility. In order to be a PCQI, an individual must be an employee of the facility or a third-party consultant. The role can also be filled by a committee of qualified individuals. The PCQI is required to complete an FDA-approved program or show qualifying on-the-job experience that prepares them for creating and overseeing a comprehensive food safety plan for their facility, or a Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls or HARPC. HACCP compliance will not meet the new FSMA requirements. If the PCQI is found to be lacking in credentials, the FDA can take action against the facility, including potentially pressing criminal charges.

According to Food Safety Magazine, the food safety plan must include: "a written Hazard Analysis, identifying known or reasonably foreseeable biological, chemical and physical hazards; written preventive controls including process controls, food allergen controls and sanitation controls; written supply chain controls; a written recall plan; written procedures for monitoring the implementation of the preventive controls; written corrective action procedures; and written verification procedures." It's the PCQI's job to put together that plan and oversee its implementation.

The PCQI requirements aren't without controversy. Many in the food industry have expressed concern that the necessary skills are not clearly enough outlined, and that it might be difficult for facilities to determine whether their PCQI candidates need to complete FDA-approved curriculum. Differences also exist between FSMA training requirements and HACCP training requirements, which could further complicate choosing a qualified PCQI. Trainings are being created that bridge these two sets of requirements, and are being offered nationwide by groups like Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance.

Millennials and Gen Zs Increase Frozen Vegetable Sales

One of the oldest tricks of parenthood is figuring out how to get your kids to eat more vegetables. But as it turns out, young people might have taken the importance of eating healthy to heart. Today, Millennials and Generation Z -- two generations that make up the bulk of those under the age of 40 -- are buying more and more frozen and fresh vegetables. Their consumption of veggies currently outpaces any other age group, including their parents, who currently are eating less and less vegetables.

A new study by the market research company NPD Group found that consumption of frozen vegetables is up 57 percent over the last decade for consumers under the age of 40, while consumption of fresh vegetables is up 52 percent. The group also estimates that this trend will hold in coming years, with fresh vegetable sales rising a possible 10 percent over the next several years. By comparison, those over 60 years old actually decreased the amount of fresh and frozen vegetables they eat by 30 percent and 4 percent respectively.

"Vegetable consumption among younger consumers is a reflection of their more health-conscious eating behaviors," David Portalatin, vice-president and food industry analyst at NPD Group, told Food Business News. "Our research shows that their attitudes about eating vegetables will not shift as they age and go through their life stages. Their parents and grandparents, however, may need a reminder from them to eat their vegetables."

This love for vegetables among younger generations is good news for the frozen vegetable industry. Millennials alone are currently the largest generation in the United States, with Generation Z significantly large as well. Their eating habits can have a large impact on the food industry, as we've seen with their focus on natural and organic foods reshaping farming.

In the same study, NPD found that frozen vegetable consumption is on the rise after a brief decline. Now consumption is expected to increase by around 3 percent through the year 2024, signalling that even as consumption among older consumers declines the rising consumption among younger consumers will lead to growth in the industry.

Frozen Fruit Sales Soar!

Elsewhere in this issue we talked about the increase in frozen vegetable consumption brought on by healthier, more vegetable friendly diets among young people. But veggies aren't the only produce getting some love. Frozen fruit sales are also on the rise, thanks in large part to the popularity of smoothies.

In the past five years, the sales of frozen fruit have increased by about 67 percent, topping $1 billion per year. The vast majority of that frozen fruit (around 60 percent of it) goes into smoothies, which have gone from a niche product to a widely sold and made product across the country. The smoothie industry is a multi-billion dollar market, with growth forecasted at around 10 percent per year according to the Research and Markets Group.

Smoothies blended with frozen fruit, veggies, and other ingredients have become increasingly popular in the past few years. Recipes for the beverages are popular online, with many calling for frozen fruit to add sweetness and a smooth consistency. The trend has translated to a huge boost in sales for companies like Dole, which started selling frozen fruit in 2005. Studies conducted by the company have found a lot has changed in the eleven years since they entered the frozen fruit game, and it says a lot about how the United States uses frozen fruit.

A 2006 study by Dole found that frozen fruit was most often used as a dessert topping, with just 21 percent being used in smoothies. But by 2014, 60 percent of sold frozen fruit was going into smoothies, according to consumers surveyed. In fact frozen fruit is the fastest growing segment in the retail market today. Mixed berries and tropical fruits are seeing the largest growth due to the convenience of having these items already prepared and ready to eat.

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