Inside this Food Report


November 1, 2015

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Hello Everyone,

Happy November!  From this point forward the holiday season is officially upon us (I cannot believe that there are Christmas decorations in the stores already – I was actually trying to find a Halloween costume a few weeks ago for a party I attended this past weekend and Christmas was already on the shelves!) 

We just returned from a fast paced Anuga Exhibition in Cologne, Germany.  So many interesting and innovative products from frozen vegetables, frozen risotto (my favorite) to Italian croissants and soups.  There was a huge presence of organic items; not only vegetables and fruits but spices, oils, grains, ice cream, dried fruits, just to name a few.   The options were endless!   We have the list of products so if anyone is interested in an unusual type of food product or something simply “regular” let us know, most likely it is on our list!   One of our take a way’s from our most recent visit to Europe is that European vegetables will definitely be in short supply this season (please see our crop section below).

With our harvest season in the U.S. pretty much officially over we head into the holiday season.  We wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and hoping you have a happy and restful holiday.   In the meantime we look forward to working with all of our suppliers and customers in the months ahead.

All The Best,

Betty And The Noon International Team.


United States:   Sweet corn harvest is now fully completed.    This season due to the very warm spring and early summer heat the crop came on early in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.  While a few processors reported some lower yields at the start of the harvest due to the high heat, most have now reported an overall good crop with average or higher yields on corn.   Other than the severe heat the summer weather conditions were mild.  Limited wind with no major rain storms and enough water for well irrigated fields throughout the Northwest area resulted in a normal sweet corn harvest.

Sweet Corn season in the Midwestern States (Wisconsin and Minnesota) was also a good season.   Both yields and quality are reported as excellent.

Diced carrots are now in production in the Northwest.   Variety of carrot is the Red Core Chantenay which is a much larger carrot used to produce dicers.

Potatoes for processing are still being dug.   The extreme heat this summer has affected both yields and quality.  There are some reports of yields being off by as much as 15% compared to last season.   Based on USDA numbers the storage sheds are low on inventory.

Cultivated blueberry numbers are beginning to come in and although originally thought the 2015 summer season for U.S. cultivated blueberries would be increased due to Washington and Oregon’s higher volumes, Michigan’s lower volume output, due to weather, it seems has now put the overall U.S. harvest below the originally predicted numbers.    

Mexico:    Rainy season in Mexico is still sticking around.  Both broccoli and cauliflower harvest are coming in slow.    Cauliflower especially is in extreme tight supply until crop conditions improve and the harvesting pace picks up.   The major cauliflower harvest is expected to commence middle November.

Guatemala:   Unlike Mexico, Guatemala this season has suffered by lack of rain during August which resulted in lower broccoli yields during peak season in August.   Also the lack of rain in September and part of October hindered new plantings so it is expected that broccoli will be tight again through November and December.
Brussels spout season has begun and to date the crop is looking good.   Okra harvest is underway and should be completed by the end of this month.   Seeding for Sugar snap peas and snow peas finished last week and harvest is expected to commence by middle of December.

Chile:   Strawberry and blueberry season is underway in Chile.   Reports are indicating that product will be short and prices high due to the El Nino factor.  
Cold and rainy weather delayed pollination and current rain and cool weather is preventing the blueberry to ripen.   We have heard reports of the crop being 2 to 3 weeks delayed.

Argentina:    Berry season was disappointing, again due to El Nino.   Strawberry season is over and volumes are tight.

Europe:    All vegetables will be limited due to the severe heat and drought across Europe this summer. The potato market especially is in short supply and prices up.  Belgium had no rain for two months with no irrigation.   The rain came but it was too late.  Potatoes are smaller size and yields are down.   Prices have gone up 15 – 20%.    Along with the limited supply of potatoes this season, we have heard that European processors saw a 5 – 10% growth spurt in the domestic potato market over the last year, which has only made matters worst.

Sweet corn may also be in tight supply with some European processor’s having to prorate contracts siting force majeure.

Poland:   Severe heat and drought in Poland over the spring and summer has resulted in a large decline of all crops grown there.   Brassica crops such as cauliflower and broccoli will be down by over 20%.  The onion and carrot crop has been reduced by 13% – 15%.   Fruits such as raspberries have also been severely affected.  

All in all it has been an extremely difficult summer growing season for Europe.

Spain:   Autumn peak broccoli production is now underway in Southern Spain.   To date the crop is growing well with good quality and yields expected.


Zhejiang Province: Broccoli and Cauliflower acreage has been increased this season and currently transplanting is taking place.  To date the condition looks good and yields are expected to increase.   Plantings for sugar snap peas and pea pods will begin this month as well.

Shandong Province:  Broccoli and taro season are underway.  Factories are now processing broccoli and cauliflower.  Acreage for taro was increased by as much as 30 % - 40%.    Prices for taro are expected to decline by 10% compared to last season.

Fujian Province:  Autumn crop edamame will run through early November.    Crop condition is average and prices are stable and in most cases lower than last season.
Stricter Controls on Japan's Food Exports To Taiwan

Earlier this year, it became more difficult for Japanese companies to export foods to Taiwan. A scandal involving false labeling on imported foods led to the recall of hundreds of products. The Taiwanese government moved quickly, and by May Taiwan announced new restrictions

The recall occurred after it was found that products originating near Fukushima weren’t being properly labeled, obscuring the fact that they were being manufactured close to the scene of 2011’s nuclear disaster. Although there were no reported food safety issues linked with the false labeling, Taiwan has seen a number of health scares in recent years. As a result, the island has taken steps to ramp up their requirements. But the difference between the labeling scandal and food safety was something Japanese officials were quick to point out.

“Falsified labels of product origins and food safety are different issues. We will continue to let Taiwanese people understand the safety of Japanese food and hope the Taiwanese authorities can further loosen its controls,” Japan’s Taiwan representative said in a statement.

Japanese imports are among the most popular food products in Taiwan, but under the new guidelines they will be required to include certification that show the products are not from five banned areas, including Fukushima. Others will require “radiation inspection certificates.” Earlier this year, a number of Japanese imports became scarce due to delays caused by implementation of these new required certifications.  Despite this, Taiwan has remained committed to the requirements.

“The measures are necessary to protect Taiwanese consumers’ health and welfare,” said the Taiwanese government. “The government and [food] companies should work together to provide safe food products.”

Root Vegetables

Summer’s harvest is over, and the chilly months of winter are right around the corner. But while the days of ripe tomatoes and fresh berries are behind us for the year, there’s still a lot of delicious in-season produce to enjoy. Fall and winter are time for root vegetables to shine, and these super healthy and hearty veggies can add a versatile boost to your winter cooking.

Root vegetables encompass a wide variety of produce, all of which have one thing in common. They are the roots of plants, growing in the soil rather than above ground. Potatoes, carrots, and turnips are a few of the common winter vegetables, while garnishes like ginger, garlic, and horseradish are included as well.

The health benefits from root vegetables come from the extremely high nutrient content. The vegetables absorb vitamins and minerals from the soil as they grow, although they can also absorb toxins, making it crucial that they are grown in healthy environments. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and often have high water content.

There are very specific health benefits that each root vegetable has, such as the high beta-carotene level in carrots. Potatoes and radishes are high in vitamin C, making them a great boost to the immune system in the chilly months. Parsnips are a great source of healthy carbohydrates and fiber, while yams offer low fat content and a low glycemic index, keeping you full longer. Turnips and rutabaga are believed to help lower the risk of some cancers.

Root vegetables are actually a very versatile way of packing some much-needed nutrition into your winter meals. They stand up well to baking, sautéing, stewing, and can be served raw. They are a hearty staple for casseroles, stews, stir fries, and can be pureed to add a boost to sauces or mashed as a side. Although best served with skins on to provide maximum fiber, they can be peeled before cooking.

Look for root vegetables at late-season farmers’ markets or of course in the frozen aisle of your supermarket!

The Two Sides Of The TPP

After many years of negotiations, 12 countries making up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam) have reached a comprehensive new trade agreement.   The President will need to give congress a 90 day advanced notice that he intends to sign it and Congress will still need to pass it, which means we could be a long way off until the agreement is signed into law.

While some say the agreement will help many U.S manufacturers with lower duty rates, others voice their concern that this agreement will hurt U.S trade.  The TPP, which has been negotiated for more than six years, some say, does not represent fair trade but more along the lines of government managed trade and will cause millions of lost jobs and factory shut downs here in the U.S. 

Others believe the TPP should provide significant new market opportunities for U.S. manufacturers and exporters and promote economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region.  

Based on information from the USDA Japan imported $870 million of fresh and processed vegetables from the United States in 2014 and with the TPP agreement Japan will eliminate tariffs for virtually all fresh and processed vegetables.  Japan’s vegetable tariffs, which can be as high as 17% will be eliminated immediately on frozen sweet corn, good news for U.S. manufacturers and exporters of frozen corn.

But first, before we enjoy any duty free status, members of congress have said that they will need to study the deal in order to see what’s in it.

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