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USDA Delays Organic Livestock Rule

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is delaying the effective date of the rule published on January 19, 2017, for an additional six months to November 14, 2017, to allow time for further consideration by USDA. The effective date for this rule was initially March 20, 2017, and was subsequently delayed to May 19, 2017, by a document published in the Federal Register on February 9, 2017.

The final rule amends the organic livestock and poultry production requirements by adding new provisions for livestock handling and transport for slaughter and avian living conditions; and expands and clarifies existing requirements covering livestock care and production practices and mammalian living conditions.

The delay is opposed by the Organic Trade Association along with more than 350 organic livestock producers representing $1.95 billion in annual sales, the federal Advisory Committee on organic and accredited organic certifiers. The National Pork Producers Council has called for the rule’s repeal.

June Dairy Month Kicks Off with World Milk Day

More than 75 years since the annual celebration began, June Dairy Month continues to recognize dairy products and the farmers who produce them. The festivities will kick off with World Milk Day on June 1. Initiated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Milk Day marks the importance of milk as part of a healthy and balanced diet and the dairy industry’s global contributions to economic development and agriculture, including the one billion people who derive their livelihood from it, as well its commitment to sustainability and protecting the environment. Throughout the month, people, companies and communities will continue to recognize dairy’s positive impact on nutrition and the planet.

“June is a time when we can show our appreciation for the 7,400 dairy farm families in the Midwest,” says Midwest Dairy Association CEO, Lucas Lentsch. “Dairy farmers demonstrate the highest commitment to producing nutritious milk while protecting the land on which they live and work, as well as fund research that leads to dairy product innovation.”

Macfrut Discusses Agriculture as a Solution to Human Trafficking

At the Rimini Expo Centre, Macfrut opened exceptionally well. Discussions started with the presentation of the Green House project, implemented in Ghana by VIS (International Volunteer Service for Development), an NGO that collaborates with the Salesian Congregation in Italy involved in the “Stop Tratta” (Stop Trafficking) campaign. “The focus session was dedicated to the great ideas launched by the agricultural sector to create prospects for future development,” said Renzo Piraccini, President of Macfrut.

Nico Lotta, President of VIS, explained the whole operation involving training in eco-sustainable agriculture as a feasible alternative in order to discourage migrants from leaving on boats and human trafficking. The didactic greenhouse was built in Ghana to allow teachers and young people to be trained with an alternative technique to the agricultural practice applied in many African states, which has tremendous consequences for rainforests, so that sustainable development can be ensured.
“We appeal to young people, potential migrants or returning migrants because we want them to understand that there are opportunities in their countries, in particular involving land and agriculture. Working even just with a few people is crucial, and we want to make sure these youngsters have the opportunity to choose,” Lotta said. The President of Idromeccanica Lucchini also gave a speech during the conference, illustrating the technological potential of a sustainable greenhouse, such as the one used by the Green House project in Ghana.

The Italian Undersecretary of State for European Affairs, MP Sandro Gozi, congratulated VIS and highlighted the importance of a project such as “Green House.” In fact, it is not only a symbol of Italian excellence but also the right approach to address the migration issue in the countries of origin. “These are simple and ingenious ideas that can make a difference in cooperation and development.”

Forum on Asian and Middle Eastern Markets
India, China and the UAE: these are all growing markets that are strongly inclined to import quality fruit. This was the key theme of the Asia & Middle East Conference, organised by Eurofresh Distribution.

During the meeting, the trends, marketing opportunities, limitations and recommendations in trading with the Asian and Middle Eastern markets were outlined. These markets all show an ever-increasing demand for imported fruit and vegetables, where consumers see their purchasing power grow and product quality becomes increasingly important.

Ahmed Alì, head of procurement of the Danube Supermarkets chain, and James Varghese, Purchase Manager of Elite Agro LCC, pointed out the positive trend in the UAE fresh produce market, which demands high quality and an efficient service.
Hitin Suri, Managing Director of Suri Agrofresh, illustrated the opportunities of the Indian market, which has a rapidly growing GDP, a boom in health trends and an interest in new varieties. Simona Rubbi of the CSO (Centro Servizi Ortofrutticoli) cooperative of Ferrara also intervened to highlight the need for European coordination on the export of fruit and vegetable produce to Asian countries. To conclude, Mike Li of CR Vanguard, George Liu of Fruta Cloud and Paul Sheh of Hema Supermarket gave an overview of China’s situation, where e-commerce is becoming increasingly popular also in the fresh produce sector.

Innovative Companies Awarded with Macfrut Innovation Award
A total of 36 innovations were awarded with the Macfrut Innovation Award (MIA) 2017 during a ceremony organized by Cesena Fiera in partnership for the third year in a row with L’Informatore Agrario, the weekly publication for professional farmers. Innovation, environmental and economic sustainability and improvement in product quality: these are the criteria used by a panel of experts to review the over 80 applications submitted by Italian and foreign companies for the eight award sections. Altogether nine gold, 15 silver and 12 bronze medals were awarded.

About Macfrut
Macfrut is organized by Cesena Fiera and held at the Rimini Expo Centre on May 10-12, 2017.

Chobani Accepting Applications for Specialty Food Incubator Class

Chobani, LLC will launch a second incubator class following the success of its inaugural program. Applications are now being accepted through June 4, 2017.

Chobani’s founder and CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, launched the Chobani Food Incubator in 2016 to support food entrepreneurs aiming to challenge the food industry, improve broken systems and bring better food to more people—principles through which Chobani was founded.

“People are rejecting the way Big Food is doing things,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO, Chobani. “It’s creating a special moment for food start-ups with big hearts and big ideas to challenge how things are done. We’re searching for entrepreneurs who are passionate about getting more natural, more accessible and more creative foods out there, and who are driven by a purpose and mission to make the world better.”

The class will run from September 2017 to December 2017, based out of a dedicated space designed for the Incubator at Chobani’s sales and marketing offices in New York, New York.

The Chobani Food Incubator’s inaugural class concluded its six-month program in March 2017 with six startup brand graduates: Banza®, Chops Snacks, Cissé Cocoa Co, Jar Goods®, Kettle & Fire, and MISFIT Juicery. During that period, the group registered a combined total revenue of $3 million in 2017 alone (YTD) and an increase of 60 percent in distribution, expanded their product portfolios, increased employee headcounts and established new relationships with national retailers.

Applicants will be asked to electronically submit information about their products along with a short video and biographical information by June 4, 2017. Chobani plans to notify accepted applicants in mid-July.

Applications and additional information is available at chobanifoodincubator.com

Tapping Into the Homebrew Market

by Micah Cheek

Home brewing kits are becoming a popular gift for hobbyists, but marketing and selling the kits poses some unique challenges. Patrick Bridges, Vice President of sales and Marketing at Cooper’s DIY, notes that holiday sales for the Mr. Beer kit are reflecting strong interest in the hobby. “It was a tremendous response, we experienced better sell though this year than many past years. By really identifying with the craft beer movement, I think it really resonated with consumers,” says Bridges. “People do it because they can create new beers and share. Beer is made for special occasions, holidays and birthdays. Typically, the purchaser is the foodie, they’re interested in cooking and natural ingredients.”

Part of the appeal of these kits is premixed ingredient sets that not only allow home brewers to make classic favorites like IPAs and stouts, but replicate award-winning and hard to find brews as well. “Many craft beers, they can’t distribute outside of their state, with a commercial system that isn’t always able to bring beers to where you live,” says Bridges. “We took a couple gold medal winners and cloned their beers. It’s a collaboration. If you can’t get it, make it.”

Bringing home brewing to retail spaces has presented some unexpected insights. “We sell in liquor stores and they don’t do very well. People are there for instant gratification. Any kind of kit doesn’t do well at liquor stores,” says Bridges. “Our kits are usually sold in the kitchen or housewares department. They’re often in the top 10 selling products during the holidays.” But the brick and mortar space still presents some marketing issues. “It’s a long process. You can’t make the beer there, plus you can’t serve it. It has unique challenges in that regard,” says Bridges. “Where possible we have videos we can loop to show how easy it is. The way to get people interested is to taste the beer, but we’re unable to execute that at retail for obvious reasons.”

With expanding home brewing interests, options other than beer are getting attention. “Last year we introduced Hacked Root Beer. Things like that and some of these hard sodas are trending now. Those seem to be really driving the trends rather than ciders,” says Bridges. “The big trend now is barrel-aged beers. We add wood chips, so you don’t have to put it in a barrel.”

United Fresh VP of Nutrition and Health Retiring

After more than a decade at the United Fresh Produce Association and a career that spans 40 years, Lorelei DiSogra, Ed.D., R.D., Vice President, Nutrition and Health, will retire at the end of May. During her tenure, she helped shape federal nutrition policies to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for children and their families. She joined the association in 2005.

“The only word that describes Lorelei and her work and commitment to the fresh produce industry is — passionate,” said Tom Stenzel, President & CEO of United Fresh. “She has been a life-long advocate for fresh produce and healthy eating and she is a living example of someone truly ‘walks the walk.’ The impact and benefit of her work will be felt for many years to come, and I can say that our industry is truly better because of her.”

Prior to joining United Fresh, DiSogra was the Director of the National 5 A Day Program at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, from 2001-2005 and Vice President of Nutrition at Dole Food Company from 1991-2001.

DiSogra’s top accomplishments at United Fresh include the expansion of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to schools in all 50 states, revising WIC Food Packages to include fresh fruits and vegetables as recommended by the Institute of Medicine, and increasing fruits and vegetables in school meals to benefit more than 32 million students a day.  The consistent theme of DiSogra’s career has been increasing children’s consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.

As one of the creators of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, DiSogra worked closely with the Obama White House, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the program’s salad bar founding partners, United Fresh members and health foundations to make salad bars the norm in schools nationwide to ensure children have access to a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day at school lunch.  At the time of her retirement, more than 5,000 salad bars had been donated to schools across the country.

DiSogra holds a doctoral degree in nutrition education and a master’s degree in public health nutrition and nutrition education from Columbia University and is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Public Health Association.

A search process is currently underway by United Fresh.

Braswell Foods Evolves: Fourth Generation Takes Helm

Ronald “Trey” Braswell, III has assumed the presidency of the family-owned egg and feed producer headquartered in Nashville, North Carolina. In accepting the mantle from his father, Trey Braswell acknowledged the visionary leadership that delivered the company through many challenges and changes since its founding in 1943. “Each generation before me has had new ambition, new desire, and new energy to take the company to the next level,” said Trey Braswell. “I am indebted to them for the firm foundation they established and to the hundreds of team members that get the job done every day for our customers.”

Scott Braswell has served as President of the company since 1991 and made the announcement at a company-wide meeting. “I am excited that I will be able to watch our company evolve and grow in the coming years,” he said. “I will focus my attention on our mission and ministry projects and on enjoying my grandchildren – the fifth generation of Braswells.”

In recounting the Braswell Foods history, heritage and values, Trey introduced the new name for the company: Braswell Family Farms. “This brand recognizes our deep roots and our commitment to family. It will become our flag as we build and expand relationships with the premier grocery retailers we serve between New York and Florida,” he said.

Braswell Family Farms is one of the foremost producers of premium and specialty eggs and feed on the east coast. Braswell was one of the first producers to go to market with Eggland’s Best premium eggs in the 1990s. “When my grandfather bought the rights to produce for Eggland’s Best, a lot of people thought he was crazy,” said the younger Braswell. “It turned out to be a brilliant move that my father was able to use to grow our company from 30 employees in 1991 to around 200 today.”

The company will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2018. Operations are centered in Nashville, North Carolina, and Jetersville, Virginia.

Gary Rogers, Former CEO of Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Chairman of Safeway, Passes

With profound sadness, the Rogers family announces the passing of T. Gary Rogers, husband, son, father, brother, grandfather. Rogers was the Chairman and CEO of Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream for 30 years as well as the Chairman of Safeway Inc., the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Levi Strauss & Co.

Rogers lived in Oakland, California, for more than 45 years where he provided leadership and vision to the city and numerous community organizations. His passionate devotion to the University of California, Berkeley, and its rowing team, and the Lighthouse Community Charter School will remain part of his legacy to the Bay Area. His philanthropic generosity, through the Rogers Family Foundation, will continue to focus on his life-long pursuit of creating and sustaining excellence.

He was born in Stockton, California, in 1942 and spent his youth in Marin County. A distinguished Eagle Scout, he attributed much of his personal character to his experiences as a Boy Scout, as an oarsman on the crew at UC Berkeley, and his family’s deeply-held values of integrity and honor.

In 1963, he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He was named UC Berkeley All University Athlete that same year and rowed in the 1964 U.S. Olympic Trials.

In the summer of 1964, he married Kathleen “Cab” Tuck, whom he met while working on staff at the UC Berkeley Alumni Association Tahoe Alumni Center.

Rogers spent the mid-sixties serving a two-year term in the Army as a Lieutenant in the Air Defense Artillery based on Mount Tamalpais.

In 1968, he earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and was honored as a George F. Baker Scholar.

At 34, Rogers and his business partner William F. “Rick” Cronk purchased Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream a small regional ice cream company based in Oakland, California. For the next 30 years, Rogers served as Chairman and CEO of Dreyer’s, and together with Cronk, built Dreyer’s into the best-selling ice cream company in the United States.

Rogers often said the building of the Dreyer’s corporate culture was “the best thing we ever did at the company.” It was a culture based on empowerment; respecting and trusting in the abilities of each individual. Every person felt a personal responsibility to “make a difference.” It made Dreyer’s a coveted place to work. In 2002, Dreyer’s was sold to Nestle.

Rogers also served as Chairman of Levi Strauss & Co., the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Safeway Inc. He was also a director of Shorenstein Properties, Stanislaus Food Products and the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. He founded and chaired the Oakland Dialogue, a group of East Bay political, educational, and business leaders.

Gary Rogers was inducted into the Bay Area Business Hall of Fame, was named Harvard Business School Business Leader of the Year, and received the Wharton Business School Joseph Wharton Award. He has also received the University of California Bear of the Year Award.

He was the primary benefactor of the University of California Cal Crew Forever Endowment Fund, the T. Gary Rogers Rowing Center, and the California Rowing Club for elite post-graduate oarsmen. He was also a member of the High Performance Olympic Committee of U.S. Rowing.

Award-Winning Double Rainbow Strawberry Lemon Frozen Custard

Double Rainbow’s Strawberry Lemon flavor of frozen custard has been named the Grand Champion at the World Dairy Expo. Beating out more than 170 frozen desserts to claim the Grand Champion title, the award-winning Strawberry Lemon blends perfectly tart lemons and summer-sweet strawberries together in a delicious fruit ice, which is then swirled with Double Rainbow’s rich and creamy Original Vanilla Custard, a classic blend of egg, cream and Madagascar vanilla.

Strawberry Lemon is one a a line of indulgent new flavors that also includes Chocolate and Vanilla Malt, Sea Salt Caramel, Original Vanilla, Vanilla and Blueberry Pomegranate, Mango Tangerine, Raspberry and Tart Cherry. The overall theme of the new line is that they combine twists on nostalgic flavor combinations and exciting new textures created by swirling rich and creamy custards together with refreshing fruit ices.

Founded 40 years ago in the heart of San Francisco, Double Rainbow continues today to make award-winning super-premium ice creams, custards and non-dairy frozen desserts.

Dean Foods and Good Karma Foods Strike Investment and Distribution Deal

Dean Foods Company has made a minority investment and entered into a distribution deal with Good Karma Foods, which produces flaxseed-based milk and yogurt alternatives. The partnership with Dean Foods will allow Good Karma to more quickly expand distribution across the U.S., as well as increase investments in brand building and product innovation. Dean Foods will take a position in the brand and joins lead investor 2x Consumer Products Growth Partners in support of Good Karma.

“We love Good Karma as a fit for Dean Foods as we focus on diversification both within and beyond dairy,” said Ralph Scozzafava, CEO of Dean Foods. “This opportunity with Good Karma is a way for us to build a platform for a larger plant-based portfolio. The management team has deep category expertise, the brand is a disrupter in the plant-based, non-dairy space, and we believe we can support its growth.”

Scozzafava continued, “One of the pillars of our strategic plan is to build and buy strong brands, and Good Karma embodies the exact type of opportunity we’re interested in as we look to add leading and high potential brands in adjacent growing categories such as plant-based beverages.”

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