Category: Food Processing

Study Ranks Wonderful Co. as Top Growth Leader in Produce, Consumer Packaged Goods

Wonderful Pistachios

Wonderful Pistachios

Los Angeles-based Wonderful Company was named the no. 1 growth leader in produce and no. 1 in consumer packaged goods last year, according to a study released June 14 by the Boston Consulting Group and market research firm IRI.

Wonderful Company, which grows, markets and sells pistachios, almonds, citrus fruits, pomegranates, bottled water, wine and floral arrangements, took the top spots among mid-sized U.S. companies with sales between $1 billion and $5.5 billion.

“The Wonderful Company is relentlessly focused on driving healthier eating options,” said Adam Cooper, vice president of marketing for the Wonderful Company, in a statement. “Over the past 10 years, we’ve invested more than $3 billion in capital and $1 billion in marketing and brand building. With these investments, and consumers increasingly seeking nutritious choices, Wonderful is poised for even more growth in the future.”

According to the BCG report, Wonderful and other consumer packaged goods companies saw sales rise thanks to developing a range of offerings, targeting consumers, growing their portfolios and expanding into new markets.

“The market continues to be sluggish, but in identifying this year’s CPG growth leaders, we found that there are clear steps companies can take to uncover areas of growth,” said Peri Edelstein, a BCG partner and coauthor of the study, in a statement. “This includes developing a deep understanding of consumer demand, innovating to meet new occasions and using pricing strategically to enhance volume growth instead of as a tactic to drive dollar growth.”

The report looked at more than 400 public and private consumer packaged goods companies with annual U.S. retail sales of more than $100 million. The companies were ranked on dollar sales growth, volume sales growth and market share gains.

Privately held Wonderful Co. is a $4 billion company with 9,000 employees worldwide. Its brands include Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Halos, POM Wonderful, FIJI Water, Justin Wine and Teleflora.

The company is owned by Stewart and Lynda Resnick, who are ranked no. 7 on the Los Angeles Business Journal’s list of Wealthiest Angelenos with an estimated net worth of $6.5 billion.

http://labusinessjournal.com/news/2018/jun/14/study-ranks-wonderful-co-top-growth-leader-produce/

Berkeley winery finding success with Lodi winegrapes

By Nora Heston Tarte

Jeff Morgan’s company Covenant Wines purchases grapes from Lodi’s Mettler family for its wines.

LODI—This area’s reputation as a profitable region for winegrapes, especially zinfandels, is no secret.

So, when Jeff Morgan, winemaker and co-owner at Covenant Winery in Berkeley, wanted to add a Lodi zin to his lineup of vinos, he turned to Mettler Vineyards in Lodi.

“The Mettlers are the classic, good-natured American farmers,” Morgan said. “You know that a handshake from a Mettler means as much as any legal document.”

Morgan was familiar with the Mettlers before he moved his Napa wine operation to Berkeley in order to achieve an urban offering in a more populated area. For many years he enjoyed a career as a wine journalist for Wine Spectator magazine.

“My job was to know who the best growers were,” Morgan said. “The Mettler’s reputation proceeded them.”

The move also allowed Morgan and his team to ditch the custom crush facilities they were using for production and begin offering more brands under the Covenant aegis.

Today, Covenant Wines makes 18 wines on seven labels under the Covenant umbrella, including an Israel brand, Covenant Israel. All wine by definition is kosher, but Covenant goes the extra step, assuring every bottle produced by Covenant is handled in the cellar by only Sabbath-observant Jews.

Jeff Morgan, co-owner of Covenant Wines stands with a load of Mettler-grown grapes that are used in making the company’s wines.

Three of the brand’s wines are made exclusively from Mettler grapes. Two of those varietals, the zinfandel and the roussanne, are part of the Mensch label, a Yiddish word meaning a really nice person. The third wine, a chardonnay, is part of The Tribe label also sold under the Covenant umbrella.

Morgan, his wife Jodie Morgan and Covenant co-owner Leslie Rudd source grapes from other regions, including Napa Valley and Sonoma County to make many of their wines, but the only Lodi grapes used come from Mettler Vineyards.

Covenant produces 7,000 cases annually out of its Berkeley facility, plus an additional 3,000 cases in Israel. Mettler wines make up about 20 percent of total production for Covenant in the U.S.

“The wines that we have made with Mettler grapes have done quite well with the wine critics,” Morgan said, adding it’s not just the zin performing well.

Larry Mettler, owner of Arbor Vineyards and Mettler Family Vineyards, said the partnership with Covenant is going well. Every year the Lodi farming family is able to meet Covenant’s needs and orders have grown since the initial 2013 bottle Covenant produced using Mettler grapes.

“We know a little bit about the needs of wineries and small wineries because we are one,” Mettler said.

With 1,600 acres of wine grapes on farmland either owned or rented by the Mettler family, Mettler Vineyards has access to a lot of grapes, boasting 15 different varietals. Popular choices are cabernet sauvignons, zinfandels and petite sirahs.

Lesser-known varietals are also abundant, including pinotage, mourvedre and grenache, as well as whites such as chardonnay, which Covenant buys, and albarino.

Lodi’s climate is responsible for the variety. Grape availability is high because the climate and soil are both conducive to growing several varietals.

“If wineries are looking for product, Lodi is a good place for them to look,” Mettler said. “We can always supply the grapes in the highest quality because we can get them ripe.”

In all, 90 percent of the property’s grapes are sold to other wineries throughout California. The Mettlers have an estimated 12-15 buyers in all.

The other 10 percent is used to create the wines Mettler sells under its own label—Mettler Family Vineyards.

Mettler said word of mouth brings in most of the vineyard’s customers and the mid-range price in Lodi helps. A small brand may start with as little as one ton of grapes from Mettler, but larger wineries like Gallo and Constellation take more.

“We’re all across the board as far as size and volume,” he said.

Morgan cited the price point as one reason the Berkeley-based urban winery decided to shake hands with Lodi farmers. Once known for its Napa Valley cabernet, the Morgans were aware their wines came with a hefty price tag.

In order to reach a larger audience, they wanted to make more accessible wines that didn’t lack quality.

Their first attempt was with a Mensch zinfandel because the Lodi region is best known for its zins. After they found success with one, Covenant expanded to the other two varietals, both whites.

“They’re light, they’re fresh and they’re eminently quaffable,” Morgan said. “As we all know, wine is made in the vineyard, so we attribute that to the quality of the grapes.”

The first year Morgan purchased five tons of grapes from Mettler Vineyards, enough for 250 cases of wine. Today, annual orders range from 30-35 tons.

“Its been a good relationship,” Mettler said.

Berkeley winery finding success with Lodi winegrapes

Fresno State expands business school

 

Central Valley Business Times

June 1, 2018

  • To break ground on Ruiz Foods Executive Classrooms
  • “Vastly improves its ability to offer transformative educational experiences”

The Craig School of Business at Fresno State will host a public groundbreaking for its Ruiz Foods Executive Classrooms that will soon be constructed with stadium seating and the latest technology.

The celebration will be held at 9 a.m. on Thursday, June 7, on the north lawn in front of Duncan Patio. The Ruiz Foods Executive Classrooms are the result of a $1 million pledge made in May 2017 by Ruiz Food Products Inc., a Dinuba-based food manufacturing company.

The gift will help finance construction of an annex to the existing University Business Center and house two new executive classrooms with innovative education technology. “With two new executive-style classrooms, the Craig School of Business vastly improves its ability to offer transformative educational experiences,” says Robert Harper, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

“While the classrooms will be used for our executive MBA program and accelerated bachelor’s program, they will also serve as vital spaces for other students within the university as well.”

The Ruiz family has a history of supporting business education at Fresno State. Entrepreneur Fred Ruiz is a founder of the Institute for Family Business, a community resource that promotes family businesses as a catalyst for economic growth. Kim Ruiz Beck, chairman of Ruiz Foods, is an alumna of the Craig School and serves on the Foundation Board of Governors for the California State University, Fresno Foundation. In 2017, she earned the Top Dog Distinguished Alumna Award from the Fresno State Alumni Association.

The classrooms will be designed to replicate what executives would expect, allowing for faculty to fully utilize technology in presentations to improve learning outcomes for undergraduate, MBA and executive MBA students. The added space will also serve the community. When not in use for academic purposes, the space will be available for rental as part of the slate of services provided by the University Business Center. Mr. Harper says the anticipated completion date for the project is summer 2019.

Almond acreage in California grows to record total

Kern County Economic Summit

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Don’t miss this premier opportunity to join local businesses and government leaders in discovering ways to sustain and advance economic prosperity in our growing region, and what it means for our future.

AT $10M, BOB SMITTCAMP COMMITS COMMUNITY MEDICAL’S LARGEST CASH GIFT

Image via Clark Construction

Published On February 27, 2018 – 12:30 PM
Written By Gabriel Dillard

Business owner and philanthropist Robert E. Smittcamp has given $10 million to benefit the neuroscience department at Community Medical Centers — representing the largest single cash gift for the Fresno-based health care system, according to hospital officials.

The gift will be used toward recruiting “world class” neurosurgeons; education, training and retention efforts for department nurses and clinicians; new technological advancements and establishing the Central California Neuroscience Institute at Community Regional as a leader in neurological specialties, according to a statement from Katie Zenovich, Community Medical Centers vice president for corporate development and chief development officer.

“We are so grateful to Bob,” Zenovich said. “His leadership in philanthropy will help us do much more to save and improve lives for decades to come.”

Combined with a 2016 gift to Community Medical Centers, the Smittcamp Family Foundation has contributed more than $11 million to the neuroscience program.

The first son of Earl and Muriel Smittcamp, founders of Wawona Frozen Foods, Robert — known around town as Bob — serves as chairman and CEO of food ingredient company Lyons Magnus.

A message Tuesday morning seeking comment from Smittcamp was not returned.

Community Medical Centers released the following statement from Smittcamp:

“We are impressed with the ambitious vision and leadership of Community Medical Centers and their rapid growth over the last decade,” Smittcamp said. “However, additional growth and recruitment of world-class neurosurgeons is still required to ensure the success of this service line. I am hoping this new gift will accelerate the hospital’s plans in this critical service area that affects so many Valley families.”

“I’ve become knowledgeable about Community Medical Centers over the past decade and concluded that it’s the charity where I can make the biggest difference, for the most people, for the greatest number of years,” Smittcamp added. “This is the Valley’s main hospital system, and I hope many others will join me in helping to grow its capabilities.”

Community Regional Medical Center’s Downtown Fresno campus is the home of the Central California Neuroscience Institute.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/10m-bob-smittcamp-commits-community-medicals-largest-cash-gift/

California passes Florida in citrus production

• Florida’s industry devastated by disease

• Florida produced twice as much citrus as California as
recently as 2012

For the first time in 70 years, California has surpassed Florida
in citrus production, according to the University of California,
Davis.
Florida groves have been decimated by a disease called
huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening disease, that threatens
citrus production in California, too.
“HLB is not just bad for farmers and the economy,” says Carolyn
Slupsky, a biochemist and nutritionist with the University of
California, Davis. “The loss of fresh oranges and other citrus is
a real possibility and that would seriously impact our health.”
Ms. Slupsky and other UC Davis experts are working with
farmers and fellow scientists to develop early detection
methods, boost tree immunity and find a cure for the
devastating disease.
California farmers sold nearly 4 million tons of citrus in the
2016-2017 marketing season, compared to 3.5 million tons from
Florida, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Florida
produced twice as much citrus as California as recently as the
2011-2012 season.
Florida didn’t lose its top spot because the Golden State is
producing more citrus. In fact, California farmers produced 14
percent fewer fresh oranges this season.
Citrus greening disease is caused by a bacterium that is spread
by the Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny insect that feeds on the leaves
and stems of citrus trees. A tree infected with HLB can live for
years without symptoms, allowing the pathogen to spread
undetected to other trees. Symptoms emerge over time as a
tree’s fruit starts to turn green and misshapen with a bitter,
metallic taste.
HLB is a global threat. Beyond Florida, the disease has
destroyed groves in Asia, Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
The disease has been spotted in about 250 backyard trees in
Southern California, but so far California’s commercial orchards
— many of which are in the Central Valley — have been spared.
Researchers are hard at work to keep it that way. An
international team of scientists led by UC Davis chemical
ecology expert Walter Leal recently identified the molecule that
attracts the Asian citrus psyllid, which may help researchers
develop a less toxic way to trap the insect to slow the disease’s
spread.
Ms. Slupsky is taking a different tack. She and her team are
using nuclear magnetic resonance technology to study how the
pathogen affects the metabolism of the tree. Her research
shines a light on HLB’s mode of attack.
“The pathogen seems to cause havoc with a tree’s ability to
defend itself from infection,” Ms. Slupsky says. “That’s a
spectacular discovery, because when we understand the
mechanisms behind the attack we have a chance at blocking
them and boosting a tree’s natural immunity.”
Working with Kris Godfrey, an associate project scientist at the
UC Davis Contained Research Facility, and Michelle Heck at
Cornell University, Ms. Slupsky found differences in the
chemical fingerprint of leaves starting very early in the infection
process. With further research, she believes that she can
develop a chemical profile to provide a reliable, rapid and early
indicator of the presence of infection.
“Early detection is key,” Ms. Slupsky says. “If we can catch the
disease early in the infection and get rid of the infected trees,
we can hopefully slow down the spread of HLB enough to give
scientists time to find a cure.”
Breeders are working to develop HLB-resistant rootstock, which
is one of the most promising avenues to a cure. Researchers
are also looking at whether they can transform the psyllid to
prevent its ability to spread HLB. UC Davis plant pathologist
Bryce Falk is leading a search to find and engineer viruses that
can induce traits in the insect that prevent it from transmitting
the bacterium.
Breeding rootstock and engineering viruses takes time. In the
meantime, backyard citrus growers can help keep HLB at bay
by monitoring their trees for signs of psyllids or infection and
removing trees that are infected or near infected trees.
Ms. Slupsky says that together, farmers, gardeners and science
can help save citrus and the nourishment it provides.
“From a nutritional standpoint, it’s hard to beat fresh citrus,” she
says. “Oranges provide energy, fiber and a wide variety of
nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They’re one of the most
consumed fruits in the United States. I can’t imagine life without
fresh citrus.”

http://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/ef5510b4-9300-43a9-a028-80a931c7b1f6.pdf

Gallo in top 100 of ‘Best Places to Work’ for 2018

December 6, 2017

 

E&J Gallo Winery of Modesto was chosen as one of the best places to work in a recent survey.

The winery, founded in 1933, was ranked 14 out of 100 of the “Best Places to Work in 2018” by Glassdoor, a job recruitment company. In 2016, Gallo was ranked 47 out of 50.

Current and former employees give their input about their experience in the workplace, which Glassdoor then compiles. Gallo will be honored with the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award.

“Our employees continue to be our greatest asset. I am proud of our strong company culture and the commitment of our employees who make Gallo a great place to work,” said Joseph Gallo, president and CEO of E&J Gallo Winery, in a statement. “We are deeply appreciative that our employees and Glassdoor have recognized Gallo as a great employer.”

Gallo is the largest family-owned winery in the world, according to the company, and produces brands such as Barefoot Cellars, Dark Horse, Apothic, Carnivor MacMurray Estate Vineyards and many more. Outside of wine, Gallo creates and markets vodka, gin, brandy and whisky.

“We know today’s job seekers are more informed than ever about where they go to work, researching everything from company culture to career opportunities to pay philosophy and more,” said Robert Hohman, CEO of Glassdoor. “Employers where employees love to work continue to prove that they have a recruiting and business performance advantage.”

Gallo in top 100 of ‘Best Places to Work’ for 2018

 

Three Kings dairies get CDFA methane grants

  • By John Lindt in Hanford Sentinel

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has awarded $35.2 million in grant funding to 18 dairy digester projects across the state. These projects, part of the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure on California dairy farms.

Projects approved in Kings County include $3 million to Wreden Ranch near Hanford, $3 million to Hanford-area dairy Cloverdale and Hollandia Farms, also of Hanford, awarded $1.5 million. Each dairy had to put up substantially more for their projects in matching funds.

Dairy manure produces methane when it decomposes. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps more than 80 times as much heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Dairy digesters help capture methane emissions, which can be used to produce electricity or natural gas.

Each project plans to capture methane emissions from a covered lagoon and transport the gas to a collection point to be converted to biomethane fuel for vehicles. The process turns an airborne pollution problem into a business opportunity.

Kern County leads US in agriculture production for first time

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Kern County tops the U.S. in agriculture according the Kern County Farm Bureau.

In 2016, Kern County produced more than $7.1 billion in agriculture with pistachio production leading the way.

According to the bureau, Kern County had never previously held the top spot in the state, let alone the country.

http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/local-news/kern-county-leads-us-in-agriculture-production-for-first-time/814380991