Albert’s Organics stays Fair Trade committed

Since 2006, Bridgeport, N.J.-based Albert’s Organics has contributed more than $420,000 to community development funds in banana-growing regions of Ecuador and Peru through purchases of Fair Trade bananas.

Albert’s, founded in Los Angeles in 1982, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Marketing director Simcha Weinstein said the company’s commitment to Fair Trade is key to its ongoing mission of marketing organic produce while helping to ensure small farmers have access to international markets.

“Fair Trade funding makes sustainable local development in rural and poor communities possible,” Weinstein said. “It allows farmers and workers to develop infrastructure that improves their communities and their lives.”

Catalytic Generators redesigns logo

For almost 40 years Catalytic Generators, Norfolk, Va., used the logo that was created when the company was founded. In February, company officials unveiled a new look for its ripening products.

Manager Greg Akins said in a news release that the redesign came from a desire to better represent the company’s goals. He said Catalytic Generators’ primary purpose is to help its clients ripen fruit by providing “reliable, quality ethylene application products that are very easy to use and safe.”

Consequently, the new logo shows a green shape evolving through a series of shades to a ripe golden color. Akins said the changing color not only represents the ripening process, but speaks to the fact that perfectly ripened fruit is like gold because it maximizes profits.

Catalytic Generators also revamped its company website at to include additional information about ripening, ethylene safety and its products.

Chiquita expects HQ to open this year

According to information in its 2011 financial report, officials with Chiquita Brands expect the company’s new headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., to open on schedule this year.

Officials announced the relocation plan from Cincinnati in November 2011. In his Feb. 21 report, chairman and chief executive officer Fernando Aguirre said the $30 million in one-time relocation costs would be mostly recaptured. A combination of local, state and other incentives is expected to allow the company to recover $24 million of the relocation costs during the next 12 years.

Aguirre said the move is expected to reduce operating costs of more than $4 million because of the consolidation of locations, more efficient staffing, lower rent and reduced travel costs. 

Del Monte plans new banana package

A new kind of banana packaging is in the works at Del Monte Fresh Produce Inc. according to reports from Fruit Logistica 2012 in Berlin.

In the official expo notes issued by show organizers at Messe Berlin GmbH, the senior vice president of Del Monte Europe and Africa said bananas were one of three commodities the company has plans for in coming years.

Jean Pierre Bartoli told the Fruit Logistica organizers that Del Monte is working on “a new packaging of bananas, which will be launched in the market in the coming years.” He also said Del Monte is “working on new projects and new varieties of pineapples and melons.”

Bartoli also announced a new website — — which he said would be used to expand the company’s penetration in existing markets.

Dole’s FreshPack enjoys early success

Dole Fresh Fruit Co. Inc. introduced a different kind of 3-pound consumer banana package in the fourth quarter of 2011 that company officials say is proving its worth already.

The FreshPack bag has two compartments, each capable of holding a hand of four to five bananas. One compartment has bananas ready to eat and the other has bananas that need a bit of time to finish ripening, according to David Bright, vice president of marketing for the Westlake Village, Calif.-based company.

“Years in development, this completely natural, chemical-free advancement in technology controls the atmosphere in the bag to keep the bananas ‘asleep’ until consumers are ready to enjoy them,” Bright said.

The FreshPack bags have micro perforations that help bananas stay yellow up to six days longer than bananas in conventional bags. Bright said the bags were designed for consumers who want to have fresh, ripe bananas on hand all week long but don’t want to go shopping as often as that requires.

Dole set the suggested retail price for the FreshPack at $2.25, comparable to the amount paid for the same volume of bananas by the pound.

IFCO offers RPCs for bananas, berries

New reusable plastic containers for bananas and strawberries are available from  Houston-based IFCO Systems NA Inc.

The new banana crates provide greater protection for the fruit, as well as making cooling and temperature management easier because of their new design, according to Fred Hepinstall, president and general manager for the RPC management services division of IFCO in Tampa, Fla.

The banana RPCs can be used by retailers in displays, saving time and reducing handling of the fruit.

The strawberry RPCs hold nine 1-pound clamshells. Like the banana crates, they facilitate cooling for added shelf life and help manage temperatures during transportation.

Stockton Group offers help fighting fungus

Representatives of the Stockton Group presented results of a fungicide study at the fourth International Banana Congress in late February that showed the company’s Timorex Gold is effective for treating stage 4 and 5 black sigatoka.

The Swiss company has U.S. offices for its Stockton Chemical Corp. division in Aventura, Fla., and worked with researchers at the University of Florida, Gainesville, to test Timorex Gold, according to a news release. The tests used infected banana leaves from an experimental station in Costa Rica.

Researchers treated the leaves weekly with 12 consecutive applications of Timorex Gold, difenoconazole, tridemorph and mineral oil. Untreated plants served as controls.

The leaves treated with the Timorex Gold showed “exceptional curative activity,” according to the release.

The Stockton Group website describes Timorex Gold as a “residue-free, bio-fungicide” that has a “zero toxic load” and is certified for conventional and organic crops, including bananas and plantains.