National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

8:05 a.m. What is the number one reason we should reelect President Obama? I put that "fill in the blank" question on the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group this week, and I'm afraid not many people are taking the  bait.  The exact question was this:

As it relates to the fresh produce industry, the best thing about reelecting President Obama is ... (fill in the blank)

In my opinion, the luxury of having First Lady Michelle Obama in place to do PR for fruits and vegetables for another four years is the best reason to reelect President Obama. What other positive business outcomes, if any, do readers believe will accompany an Obama victory?

8:12 a.m. I see that the kiwifruit harvest has begun in New Zealand. From Zespri:

ZESPRI’s General Manager Supply Chain, Sally Gardiner, said while the total export volume in 2012 would be down compared to last year, the final crop estimate had increased over earlier crop estimates for the 2012 season.
“2011 produced a record crop for the industry of around 115 million trays, an increase of 12 percent on the 2010 season. In 2012, we expect that due to Psa and seasonal factors the crop will be around 95 million trays, which is closer to the production of a more normal season,” Ms Gardiner said.
It is estimated this year the industry will harvest up to 20 million trays of gold (Hort16A) kiwifruit, around 70 million trays of green kiwifruit, around 3.5 million trays of organic kiwifruit (making ZESPRI the largest exporter of certified organic produce from New Zealand) and around 2 million trays of ZESPRI’s newly-commercialised varieties.


8:15 a.m. Check out this 51-page USDA FAS report on the Canadian retail scene. Um, yes, I said 51 pages. Here is an excerpt:

The majority of retail foods continue to be sold through Canada‟s traditional grocery retailers. Canadian-based retailers Loblaw Co., Ltd., The Empire Company Ltd. (referred to as Sobeys‟s) and Metro In

In the last year, the price differential on certain foods has been minimal among store, indicating retailers are responding to a price conscious Canadian shopper.

Loblaw Company Limited is the largest grocery retailer in the country with 1, 027 stores across the country and 20% share of the food market.

Today, Sobeys, is behind Loblaws with 13% share of the retail market however, they offer more stores than its leading competitor; 1,334 locations across the country. Between 2008 and 2011, the company reported a 14% growth rate. In 2011, their sales topped over $ 16 billion. The company‟s success has largely been attributed to real estate choices and responding to the country‟s changing demographics.

Metro Inc., represents 9% of the market as they operate a total 564 food stores, along with 257 drug and convenience stores in Ontario and Quebec.

8:35 a.m. Fresh Talk link of the day: The local food markets and the importance of GAPS Gist: Growers must comply with food safety guidelines or risk losing consumer demand, PSU researchers say.