Marks & Spencer creates a new avocado to curb hand injuries | Bankers forecast consolidation in Wash. tree fruit industry | Sources: Alibaba awaits approval to invest in online grocer in India
December 11, 2017
PMA SmartBrief
Global news for the produce and floral industry
Global Connections
Marks & Spencer creates a new avocado to curb hand injuries
The avocado's rise in popularity in the UK has come with a rise in hand injuries, with reports of fans cutting tendons and nerves when the knife strikes the fruit's pit and the blade is redirected. Now, Marks & Spencer has created a cocktail avocado that comes without a pit and is covered in soft skin that's meant to be eaten.
San Francisco Chronicle (tiered subscription model) (12/8) 
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Bankers forecast consolidation in Wash. tree fruit industry
Washington's tree fruit industry is on track for more consolidation over the next two years, amid a glut of expensive new packing lines, said Michael Butler, CEO of investment bank Cascadia Capital. "Very powerful buyers like Kroger, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods dictate to fruit companies what they want, and companies need to consolidate to match the power," he said.
Capital Press Agriculture (Salem, Ore.) (12/6) 
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Sources: Alibaba awaits approval to invest in online grocer in India
China's Alibaba Group Holding will invest around $200 million for around a 25% equity stake in Indian online supermarket Bigbasket in a deal that requires approval by India's Competition Commission, sources said. The deal could ratchet up competition with Amazon, which won governmental approval this year to spend $500 million on food retail in the country.
Bloomberg (free registration) (12/8) 
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US cranberry growers seek to create new demand
US cranberry growers seek to create new demand
(Sergei Gapon/AFP/Getty Images)
The US and Canada produce around 85% of the world's cranberries, and Wisconsin farmers grow about 60% of the US crop. Currently there's an oversupply of the fruit, which has growers seeking out new uses to increase domestic demand and exploring possible markets for exports.
Wisconsin State Journal (Madison) (12/10) 
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SmartBrief Originals
Time to retire pumpkin spice, jarred salads, chefs say
Chefs' predictions for next year's hot food trends also include culinary bubbles likely to burst in 2018, according to the National Restaurant Association's annual What's Hot report. As house-made condiments and new cuts of meat soar in popularity, house-made charcuterie, meal kits, pumpkin spice flavoring, jarred salads and other once-hot trends are on track to cool down, according to the survey of around 700 chefs.
SmartBrief/Food & Beverage (12/11) 
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Public Affairs
Farmers encouraged to respond to USDA Census of Agriculture
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urges all recipients to respond to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service 2017 Census of Agriculture that was mailed to registered producers in all 50 states or to complete it online. Results from the survey, which has a Feb. 5 deadline, are used for funding and policy decisions.
KTVZ-TV (Bend, Ore.) (12/7) 
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Agriculture Dept. considers changes to SNAP
A conservative group representing state social service secretaries from Republican administrations said the US Department of Agriculture is looking at restricting soda and candy purchases in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, requiring people to apply for SNAP in person and allowing states to reduce benefits to certain groups. The USDA, after a meeting with the Secretaries Innovation Group, said it planned to give states new flexibilities in the food stamp program but did not outline proposals.
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (12/8) 
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Calif. schools pitch in to feed students, families affected by fires
When California fires forced 265 Los Angeles schools to close, three San Fernando Valley schools were designated as sites where students and families could get food, and campuses not affected provided dinners after classes ended. Reseda High School focused on shelf life and nutrition when putting together food trays that included dragon-fruit punch, raisins, bananas, sunflower kernels, whole-grain cinnamon graham crackers, sunflower seed butter and fat-free chocolate milk.
Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (12/9) 
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Industry Talent – Center for Growing Talent by PMA
Lighten the mood, improve the culture
Skilled leaders can use humor to improve their communication in the moment and the chances it is retained, write Jamie Anderson and Gabor George Burt. Improved creativity is another potential benefit of the stress-relieving benefits of humor in the workplace.
Leadership Now (12/8) 
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Help stressed team members motivate themselves
Remind employees that they have the skills and experience to get through challenging times, writes Cy Wakeman. "Great leaders help their teams remove some self-imposed stress and suffering by helping them focus on what we know today and how they can contribute to the next right action," Wakeman writes.
Quartz (12/7) 
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PMA News
Popular Fresh Connections events coming to Florida, bringing tech focus
PMA’s Fresh Connections events are known for delivering industry-leading learning plus business networking, all under one roof. Now Fresh Connections is coming to St. Petersburg, Fla., with Fresh Connections: Technology on Feb. 20. This event is designed to help growers, packers, processors and other companies harness technology to their competitive advantage. Learn more and register.
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Build your workforce for the future
Millennials currently represent half of the workforce, and by 2030 it is projected their ranks will grow to 75 percent. With those numbers, it is clear that millennials are on track to become to future for the industry. To build your brand to attract talent from this generation, Center for Growing Talent by PMA suggests follow these key tips and tricks. Help foster the millennials that are part of your business by using these motivators.
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Ayn Rand,
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