California Giant's Scary Berries promotion ready for Halloween


According to the National Retail Federation, 157 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year, spending almost $7 billion — and one-third of those celebrating plan to throw or attend a party. California Giant Berry Farms is looking to have its berries on the menu at those parties.

As consumers embrace fall and all of the color and celebrations that come with it, California Giant has also changed its colors and message to entice consumers to keep berries in the shopping cart and on the family menu with its Scary Berries promotion running throughout the month of October.150729-cal-giant-scary-berries168-22

The Scary Berries electronic recipe booklet, developed in partnership with ScharffenBerger Chocolate,  is packed with unique ways to dress up California Giant strawberries and chocolate into mummies, ghosts, pumpkins and more. The new YouTube video featuring transformations of berries into scary edible creatures will be promoted throughout social networks, drawing attention to the fact that berries are the perfect Halloween treat.

“We are really excited about this fall promotion and look forward to the consumer feedback," Cindy Jewell, vice president of marketing, said in a press release. "Developing these fun and scary creatures has been a lot of fun as we see them all come to life on the plate and begin to get extremely positive feedback from consumers, bloggers, and the media.”

Consumer subscribers of the company Buzz Blog received a link to the free electronic book of recipes from and the link to the YouTube video.

Additionally, trade partners that subscribe to the Trade Buzz will also receive the material as they are encouraged to keep California Giant berries prominently displayed throughout the fall season. All California Giant social media outlets, in addition to those that follow ScharffenBerger, will draw attention to the new campaign offering the free material to consumers after they provide demographic information and answer a few questions about their shopping behavior and preferences.

36 more A&P stores sold, 72 on auction block this week

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. held an auction for certain stores on Oct. 1 and 2. The auction resulted in 36 stores receiving successful bids from a variety of companies, including Key Food Stores Co-Operative Inc., Wakefern Food Corp. and Stop & Shop.AP

At this time, terms of the agreements have not been announced. Other successful bidders were King Kullen Grocery, K.A.M. Food Store Inc., H Mart Inc., Estevez Markets, Fransula Foods and The Supermarket Co. LLC.

The bidding for 72 remaining stores in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania was adjourned until a second auction, which is scheduled for Oct. 8.

When A&P filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on July 19 the company was operating roughly 300 stores. Upon filing for bankruptcy protection the company closed 25 locations and has been working to sell remaining stores since.

Last month Acme Markets Inc. and Stop & Shop purchased almost 100 stores at roughly $370 million.

Sprouts Farmers Market adding 12 locations in 2016

sproutsSprouts Farmers Market announced plans to add 12 locations to its growing roster of healthy grocery stores in early 2016. This is in addition to the 27 new stores Sprouts will have opened by the end of 2015, at which point it will have expanded into three new states: Missouri, Alabama and Tennessee.

Each of the 2016 stores will bring an estimated 100 jobs to the communities in which they are opening. Grand opening dates and other details will be shared in late 2015 to early 2016. Shoppers will find an abundant selection of fresh fruits and vegetables and barrels of wholesome grains, nuts and sweets.

Sprouts offers consumers a complete healthy grocery store experience featuring fresh produce, bulk foods, dairy, meat and seafood, bakery, vitamins and supplements and more. The company said its knowledgeable service and low prices offer customers a unique shopping experience.

CMI hosts national food writers summit for Ambrosia apple education

Ambrosia-Media-Tour-Image Ambrosia orchard tour participants view the McDougall family’s newest investment, Legacy Orchards in East Wenatchee, WA. Rochelle van den Broek and Steve Lutz of CMI, Summer Whitford of The Daily Meal, Laura Hoover of CMI, Charles Grayauskie of Every Day with Rachel Ray, Emily Lee of, Rachel Green of CMI, Jacob Muselmann of Saveur, Liz Weiss of Meal Makeover Moms, Katharine Grove of CMI, Shauna James Ahern of Gluten Free Girl, Rowann Gilman of The Nibble, and Tyler McDougall and Scott McDougall of McDougall & Sons.

CMI recently hosted seven national food writers for an in-depth press tour of Wenatchee, WA. The purpose of the three-day tour, held Sept. 24-27, was to educate top-tier writers on how Ambrosia apples, the latest apple variety to join the top 10 list of highest selling apples in the United States, are grown and distributed.

The participating food writers and editors were from digital and print publications, including Saveur, Every Day with Rachael Ray,, The Nibble, The Daily Meal, Gluten Free Girl and the Chef, and Meal Makeover Moms. In total, the outlets influence more than 35 million consumers through their print and online presence.

"It was amazing to get up close and personal with Ambrosia apples and really understand all that it takes to grow premium fruit," Summer Whitford, an editor at the Daily Meal, said in a press release. "When you see the care, attention and investment that goes into cultivating these orchards, you really appreciate the hard work and vision of growers like the McDougall family.”

The tour brought the writers into several Ambrosia orchards to show them the careful and complex work required to produce a high-quality apple variety, like Ambrosia. After visiting a seedling nursery, writers were able to participate in a live grafting exercise to observe the process of cultivating the Ambrosia variety from a root stock.

Emily Lee, a digital content contributor to, was surprised by the modern horticultural practices used at McDougall & Sons packing facility. “The whole process, from planting trees to picking and packing is far more sophisticated than I expected. From the gleaming facility, impressive tools and technology used for packing, and ultimately the quality of the fruit, there is no doubt that Ambrosia has earned their new Top 10 status,” she said.

Food writers were able to hand-pick Ambrosia apples fresh from the trees and enjoyed two days of orchard-themed menus featuring locally harvested fruits and vegetables. From Ambrosia apple-glazed wild Alaska salmon, to curried apple and squash soup, lavender honey bruschetta with Ambrosia apple chutney, buckboard apple bacon fire-grilled pizzas and Whistle Punk Ambrosia sorbet, Ambrosia apples provided culinary inspiration for all attendees.

Shauna Ahern James, known to her fans as the “Gluten Free Girl,” said she has never eaten this well on any press trip before. “I am inspired by the culinary treasures hidden in this bountiful region of the world, and look forward to coming back and exploring more.”

The McDougall family was excited for the opportunity presented by the food writers touring their orchards and facilities. “Food writers have a powerful story to tell — and these writers are masterful storytellers who can bring Ambrosia's story to life for mainstream America,” said Bryon McDougall, co-owner of McDougall & Sons.

Ambrosia apples are available year-round to all retailers. During the 2014-15 apple season, Nielsen data revealed that in total sales dollars, Ambrosia passed Braeburn to become the 10th best selling apple variety nationally. Ambrosia also had the highest growth rate among all top 10 varieties.

Ambrosia is poised for additional growth during the 2015-16 season. Nielsen data shows that during the last apple season, Ambrosia distribution increased by 30 percent up to 48 percent nationally. Retail sales will continue to build as retailers expand Ambrosia distribution in the coming year.

Pacific Tomato Growers gets new name, adds to product line

Fourth-generation, family-owned Pacific Tomato Growers announced the company’s newly established brands — “Sunripe Certified Brands” in the United States and “Suncoast Certified Brands” in Canada — to emphasize the company’s commitment to leading and serving as stewards for progress in the agriculture industry.Sunripe Logo RGB 1800x1800

The newly designed brands are intended to communicate the entire Sunripe story. By adding “Certified Brands” to the brand, it emphasizes the company’s commitment to its land, environment, employees and customers. The new branding image is also an opportunity for the company to more closely connect with its customers as a trusted brand across North America.

“We spent nearly 100 years building an infrastructure that could back up a brand that includes a powerful word like ‘certified,’ dedicated to providing the food safety, quality, sustainability and responsibility to the full scope of individuals who touch our product – from farm workers to consumers,” Jon Esformes, chief executive officer for Sunripe Certified Brands, said in a press release. “We’ve been living the Sunripe life for years and are excited to finally share our story with customers by putting a name and new look to the brand.”

Sunripe Certified Brands and Suncoast Certified Brands also announce the addition of fresh strawberries to their product lines, which will be available across the U.S. and Canada from November to April, beginning November 2015. The company is proud to be able to bring some of the first Fair Food Program strawberries to market, and will continue to place the same quality standards on its strawberries as it has for its tomatoes over the last century.