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  • Pure Flavor launches commercially grown greenhouse melon

    May 10, 2022 Pure Flavor has launched the fresh produce industry’s first commercial greenhouse-grown melons, which will be branded under the Solara name, said the Leamington, Ontario-based company in a press release. “After many years of research and development, we are excited to bring the first commercially available greenhouse-grown melons to market,” President Jamie Moracci, said in a release. While many varieties had been put through rigorous product testing since the development process began in 2014, the company has homed in on an exclusive variety that is scalable productionwise and checks all the boxes to meet product, brand, retail, foodservice and consumer expectations, according to Pure Flavor. Partnering with Cornell University during the product development process, Pure Flavor’s research and development team gained insights on both product and plant health to help maximize yield and flavor. “Our product trials told us a great deal; we knew that it had to be something special that we could scale commercially to meet the demand. After eight years, we have launched a unique product that our customers are excited about and will breathe new life into the category,” Moracci said. Pure Flavor describes the new Solara melons as “mildly cool, sweet and juicy.” The company added that Solara melons are “the first personal-sized, sustainably grown melons from greenhouses that use just the right amount of light, nutrition and water to deliver the same sweet, tastefully tropical flavor, regardless of the season.” “It’s paradise in the palm of your hand,” Matt Mastronardi, executive vice president, said in the release. “Roughly 500 grams in size, the sweetness and personal size of the Solara melon makes it a great partner with foods like prosciutto, shrimp, basil, mint, pistachios — we are even using the melon as a yogurt and granola snack. The product pairings are endless.” As a single-serve opportunity, Pure Flavor also sees reducing food waste as a key product trait of the Solara melon. Once the melon is sliced in half, it is easy to scoop out the small seed cavity for consumption, said the company. The new personal-sized melons are available in both single and multipack formats. Pure Flavor chose the name “Solara” (Latin for “of the sun”) because it connotes a tropical setting and a “Fresh Taste of Paradise,” which is the slogan Pure Flavor developed for it, said the company. “The consumer-centric brand strategy is simple — it’s the one sitting snack, meal, appetizer, post-workout rehydrator. It’s for me and only me. [It] fits in the palm of my hand … It’s the ‘me’ melon,” Chris Veillon, chief marketing officer, said. Like other products in the Pure Flavor snacking line, the Solara personal-sized melon product launch will be supported with digital content that includes a wide variety of recipes and a detailed “goes well with” feature, said Veillon. “The strategic investment in research and development is done to help grow the industry and help increase fresh produce consumption,” Moracci added. “We are working on more melon varieties and look forward to rolling them out shortly.” Source: https://www.thepacker.com/news/products/pure-flavor-launches-commercially-grown-greenhouse-melon

  • High food costs shaping grocery shopping habits and buying patterns, Metro CEO says

    April 22, 2022 Consumers are seeking deals, stocking up on sale items and shopping private label to cut costs. Rapidly rising food prices in Canada are shaping grocery shopping habits and buying patterns as consumers increasingly seek out deals and favour discount retailers, the head of  Metro said Thursday. “The inflationary picture is accelerating and that’s having an impact on consumers,” Metro president and CEO Eric La Flèche told analysts during a call to discuss the company’s second-quarter results. “There’s a search for value and a shift to discount happening.” Sales at the Montreal-based retailer’s discount grocery chains, Super C in Quebec and Food Basics in Ontario, are growing faster than at its conventional stores, such as Metro and Metro Plus, he said. Higher prices are also influencing buying patterns, including the brands consumers buy. For example, Metro’s house brands–Irresistibles, Selection and Life Smart–are posting strong sales as shoppers “trade down” from more expensive brand-name foods, La Flèche said. “Private label is doing really well because it’s great value and a lower price point in general,” he said. Customers are also choosing cheaper cuts of meat and stocking up on sale items. “Whenever ground beef is on sale the volumes are very, very high,” La Flèche said. Metro reported a second-quarter profit of $198.1 million, up from $188.1 million a year earlier, as sales gained 1.9%. The grocery and drugstore retailer said sales totalled $4.27 billion, up from $4.19 billion, as food same-store sales gained 0.8% and pharmacy same-store sales rose 9.4%. Food basket inflation in the quarter ended March 12 neared 5%, up from 3.5% in the previous quarter, the company said. Looking ahead, grocery prices may continue to climb as Metro braces for additional cost increases from vendors. “We’re seeing or hearing from our suppliers … (they) have experienced cost increases over the last several months and we’re hearing noises that there will be more coming,” La Flèche said. Meanwhile, easing government restrictions have encouraged an increase in store traffic and a decrease in the average basket size, as consumers shop more frequently but buy less with each visit. Still, online food sales increased by 6% in the company’s second quarter compared with a year ago, after rising 240% in 2021. The company, which has about 650 drugstores primarily under the Jean Coutu, Brunet, Metro Pharmacy and Drug Basics banners, said its pharmacy sales were buoyed by a 7.7% increase in prescription drugs as well as COVID-related activities such as the distribution of rapid tests. Metro’s drugstores also recorded a 13.3% increase in front-store sales compared with the same quarter a year ago, which was affected by a six-week ban of the sale of non-essential products. In its outlook, Metro said it continues to face higher than normal inflationary pressures and labour shortages which, if prolonged, could put pressure on margins. “The absenteeism caused by COVID is under control,” La Flèche said. “But there is a structural shortage of labour that we are managing with and trying to improve.” Metro has introduced recruiting and retention programs and salary increases to improve its worker shortage, he said. The retailer has also turned to technology to alleviate the labour crunch, rolling out self-checkouts, electronic shelf labels and the automation of its warehouses. Metro said its third-quarter results will be affected by the labour conflict at its distribution centre in Toronto, which started in early April and was resolved a week later. “Being short of product is not good so clearly we lost some sales during a big week, which was the Easter week,” La Flèche said. The company said it has estimated that the direct costs of the strike and the new labour agreement will have a $10 million pre-tax impact on its current quarter. Source: https://canadiangrocer.com/high-food-costs-shaping-grocery-shopping-habits-and-buying-patterns-metro-ceo-says?utm_source=omeda&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NL_CanadianGrocer_REG&utm_keyword=&oly_enc_id=5223H9624690C6Z  

  • Taylor Farms Opens Toronto Production Facility

    State-of-the-art facility focused on producing fresh salads, fresh cut vegetables and healthy prepared fresh food for Canadian consumers SALINAS, Calif., April 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Taylor Farms, a leading North American producer of salads and healthy fresh foods announces the opening of the new Taylor Farms Toronto facility. With production focused on the retail product portfolio, Canadian customers will now have access to an array of the freshest products including the fan favorite Taylor Farms Chopped Salad Kits and Earthbound Farm Organic Salads. Kevin Silver, General Manager of Taylor Farms Canada, will oversee the operations at the Toronto facility. The opening of this facility brings new opportunity for Taylor Farms to support local growers and customers as well as the local job market. “We’re thrilled to expand further into Canada with our new facility in Toronto,” said Kevin Silver, General Manager of Taylor Farms Canada. “We have seen explosive growth in Canada over the last five years, and with this new location we’re able to address that demand by producing and delivering the freshest and most flavorful foods to our customers.” ABOUT TAYLOR FARMS Taylor Farms is a leading North American producer of salads and healthy fresh foods with production facilities across the US, Canada, and Mexico. Taylor Farms is grounded in a commitment to quality, assured supply, innovation, sustainability, and food safety. Taylor Farms is family owned and based in “The Salad Bowl of the World” Salinas, California. For more information, delicious recipes, and more visit www.taylorfarms.com and follow Taylor Farms Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Source: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/taylor-farms-opens-toronto-production-facility-301522376.html

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