Specialty produce trend-setter forecasts five fresh fruit and vegetable trends

Los Alamitos, CA (November 2017) – Supermarket shoppers will be perusing the produce aisles in search of new flavors and food experiences in 2018. Brick-and-mortar retailers with the right item mix can take advantage of this experiential path to purchase in ways that no online shop can offer.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce calls out five items that can add value to produce departments by attracting those key consumers who seek experiences in food and like to travel with their taste buds.

Jicama

Frieda's Specialty Produce -Jicama

“I believe 2018 will be the year of jicama,” said Karen Caplan, president and CEO of Frieda’s, who noted that more retailers are offering fresh-cut jicama sticks than ever before. “It has only taken 45 years for jicama to become a household name since Frieda’s introduced it to produce retailers in 1972!” The Whole Foods 2018 trend report also called out shaved jicama as a vegetable alternative to grain-based taco shells.

Frieda’s also sees jicama in a position for growth in the super-foods category, thanks to its excellent nutritional value, which includes a high level of vitamin C and gut-friendly properties. San Francisco-based food development firm Mattson identified healing foods as a trend from the 2017 Natural Products Expo East. The natural sugars and fiber in jicama are considered a prebiotic for the digestive tract, meaning it helps create the right environment for good bacteria (probiotics) to flourish in the gut.

“With all the research and development in the field of the gut microbiome, I believe that produce like jicama and Sunchokes® will continue to be in high demand for 2018 and beyond,” Caplan said.

Dragon Fruit/Pitaya

Now available in a rainbow of colors, mainstream U.S. consumers are really catching on to dragon fruit, also known as pitaya. They have seen dragon fruit in flavor and fragrance marketing, and frozen in smoothies, and now they are finding it fresh in their supermarkets as multiple countries are supplying the U.S. marketplace with various skin colors, varieties, and internal flesh colors. For example, Israel exports several different varieties, including a unique desert-grown type with a pine cone-like shape and high flavor. Nicaragua exports a rounder-shaped, deeply pigmented, red-flesh variety. And Vietnam exports a large white-flesh variety with high visual appeal and long brachs (leaves).

[youtube=https://youtu.be/N9GCh-CNowU]

“With several 2018 food trend forecasts pointing to Instagram-ready colorful cuisine and upscale non-alcoholic cocktails, the vibrant magenta-colored dragon fruit is poised for a big year,” said Alex Jackson Berkley, senior account manager at Frieda’s.

Jackfruit

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Jackfruit

The mother of all tropical fruits has attracted quite a fan base over the past two years, thanks in part to its use as a meat texture substitute, similar to pulled pork, when unripe and green. However, Frieda’s “trendologists” believe the sweet, complex flavor of the ripe jackfruit has yet to be discovered by the masses.

“Ripe jackfruit is enjoyed in Asia as a snack or dessert. It has a delicious sweetness reminiscent of Juicy Fruit gum,” said Berkley. “In 2018 we expect to see more savvy retailers offering ripe jackfruit sections, overwrapped, in their fresh-cut coolers.

“We also discovered that the jackfruit’s large seeds are edible when cooked, and may be ground into a flour to use in baking,” Berkley added. Frieda’s expects to see more exploration in the use of jackfruit seeds, as it aligns with two emerging food trends: alternative flour sources and root-to-stem cooking.

Purple and More

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Purple Power - Retail Display

“Whole Foods called the purple food trend in 2017, but Frieda’s has been promoting the purple produce movement since 2012, and we believe it’s still trending up,” Berkley said.

More consumers are learning about the role of anthocyanins—the natural purple pigment found in produce—and other micronutrients in their health. Frieda’s Stokes Purple® Sweet Potato is one example of a vegetable loaded with anthocyanins, while purple-skinned fruits, such as concord grapes, share a similar benefit.

The Packaged Facts 2018 food trends forecast also claims, “Color is the new sugar,” pointing to naturally vibrant foods like beets that act like eye candy. In addition, Packaged Facts identifies sweet potato as a 2018 culinary star and another way to add color to vegetarian and vegan plates.

Frieda’s also expects to see fresh cut food processors adding more purple-hued produce to their veggie noodle product lines in 2018.

Fresh Turmeric

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Turmeric - Fresh & Trending

Still on the rising trend train for 2018, turmeric has caught on with early adopters for its anti-inflammatory health benefits. With the increase in supply to the U.S. market from growers in Jamaica and Fiji, more supermarkets are stocking this healing root.

“We continue to see fresh turmeric as an ingredient in fresh-pressed juices and smoothies, and even lattes,” Berkley said. Roots like fresh turmeric and ginger have been prized for centuries for their medicinal properties. “With the rise in the #selfcare movement, this buzzword often equates to people turning to natural remedies and fresh whole foods,” she added.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit to dragon fruit and from Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes to habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

One of my goals this year has been to see if I like playing golf. (I wrote about this in an earlier blog.)

I found an instructor, bought a set of clubs, and have been periodically going to the driving range to practice. For some reason, I had it in my head that I needed to keep practicing for a while, before I should head out to play actual golf on a golf course.

And then my instructor had to take a break from teaching, and I got busy with other things. So it’s been a couple of months since I’ve hit the ball. But last weekend, I went to visit friends in Prescott, Arizona, and when they heard I had taken up golf, they arranged for us to play a round.

Needless to say I was a little nervous. In addition to the fact that I hadn’t hit a ball for two months, I also had never played a full round of golf before. Thankfully my friends were easy going, and we didn’t have to keep score.

At the end of the afternoon, as we were heading off to the last hole, I realized I had gained a few insights:

  1. It’s a good idea to take a practice swing before hitting the ball. It loosens you up and helps set the pace for your next swing (the real one). This is the same as other parts of your life, sales, for example; it’s always a good idea to practice your sales pitch before your actual presentation to get the right pace.
  2. Don’t wait too long between your practice swing and the actual swing – if you stand there too long, you will tense up, concentrating and thinking so hard. The same thing can happen in sales. If you are concentrating too hard to make a sale, or give a sales pitch, you can cause tension in yourself. It’s better to breathe deeply, relax, and do a quick run through before your presentation. Then, with the same rhythm, speak to your actual client.
  3. If you only practice (like go to the driving range) and never jump in and play (a round of golf), you won’t fully appreciate the entire golf experience. In sales, I would equate this to the person who spends an enormous amount of time preparing for a sales presentation, tweaking every slide, considering every possibility that will come up in the conversation, rather than using the information she has and enjoying the sales conversation.

In life, and in sales, just like in golf, there are hills and valleys in the conversation, sand traps, fast greens, and trees in the way. But the key is to use all the clubs you have in your bag, admit when you’ve lost a ball, enjoy the scenery, and at the end of the day, be grateful, not frustrated with the experience.

Thanks to my friends David and Paula Lund for so many life lessons on the golf course.

Happy golfing and Happy Thanksgiving!

Karen

My friends David and Paula
My high school friend, Paula and me

I attend a lot of events. Many are for business, like the one I attended in San Francisco earlier this week—#BrandStorm. About 200, mostly strangers, gathered in a giant ballroom listening to interesting speakers and then moving to meal functions and breakout sessions over two days.

Just before the second day’s morning session, many people were taking their seats around the room, arranging themselves at the round tables for 10. And I noticed something. I immediately put my things down, grabbed my coffee, and started moving around the room, saying hello to a few industry friends and familiar faces. If I didn’t know someone at a table, I smiled, and then introduced myself and asked them to do the same.

But what I noticed was that no one was doing the same thing. No one.

Flickr_Gauthier DELECROIX
PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr/Gauthier Delecroix

I realize I am an extrovert, and a morning person, so this kind of thing is kind of in my genes. But it really struck me that not a single other person in a room of about 200 was introducing themselves. Everyone seemed to be checking their email or looking over the program. And this was a marketing conference, so it would make sense that people would be introducing themselves and getting to know others. And that’s when it hit me. “Networking” has almost become a bad word.

It used to mean a way you meet new people, but now it’s become work. Like, it takes a lot of effort and you may have to try really hard. It may not seem natural or authentic. You may appear to be working the room.

My blog post last week, “To Hug or Not to Hug,” received almost 8,000 views on LinkedIn alone, more than three times as many as most of my blogs. I sense that the message of physical touch really resonated with people.

The lack of networking at #BrandStorm and the reaction to that blog have made me realize that in this day of email overload, the need to be available 24/7, and our apparent inability to “unplug,” people really do want connection. Physical connection. Personal connection. Emotional connection. We crave them all.

So, I’ve decided that instead of using the word “networking” and having that visual image of working the room, we should call it “connecting.” Connecting makes you feel differently. It’s not work. It’s personal. It’s satisfying. It’s sincere.

As we move into the holidays and attend many social events, keep in mind that you will be able to connect with people. And hopefully that will bring a smile to your face!

Karen

Flickr_GreentechMedia
PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr/Greentech Media

Plan now to take advantage of good quality and steady supply from California

Los Alamitos, CA (November 2017) – California citrus season is underway, and Frieda’s Specialty Produce offers selling solutions and a suite of products for a successful winter citrus program.

“Frieda’s is bringing on more citrus growers each season to increase our volume and variety of products,” said Alex Jackson Berkley, senior account manager at Frieda’s. “Not only are we able to offer a reliable source of supply, we are also able to provide solutions for easy selling at the retail level.”

Frieda's Specialty Produce - California Citrus

Frieda’s offers a special program set for January through March, featuring top sellers such as “adorable” kumquats, key limes, and Meyer, pink, and seedless lemons in easy-to-merchandise pouches. Along with blood and Cara Cara oranges, mandarin varieties, pummelos, and Ugli®/uniq fruit, Frieda’s has a line of unique citrus items like Buddha’s Hand citron, sweet limes, limequats, and calamondin (calamansi) that are growing in popularity in the culinary world.

“Citrus is a category that provides inspiration for consumers during the winter months,” says Berkley. “With a limited season and many options, you can keep consumers on their toes with citrus.”

Call Frieda’s account managers today to pre-book and plan your winter citrus program.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit to dragon fruit and from Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes to habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

Have you noticed that it is not entirely unusual for people in business to hug each other when saying hello or goodbye? Back in the day, when we had a business meeting, we were all very formal, and shook hands before and after meetings. We would never think of hugging someone we do business with. Hugs were reserved for family members and very close friends.

But I’ve noticed that it has become OK to hug people in business and I think it says a lot about what’s going on in the world today.

I think all of us need a hug every once in a while. In this time of being Facebook “friends” or LinkedIn “connections,” it’s hard to know who is really your friend and who is just a connection (formerly referred to as an acquaintance). With so many people in business working remotely or from their home offices, it’s hard to feel connected to your work colleagues. And if you travel a lot, or just have a long commute, it’s equally as hard to feel connected to your family.

So what do you do?

One of my coworkers, Oakley, used to ride a commuter bus to work in downtown Los Angeles. Five days a week, she rode on the bus with the same group of strangers. Over the years, they got to know each other. Now, many years later, they have all changed jobs multiple times. And they have an annual reunion dinner because they became actual friends! Their bond? Riding the bus together, first as strangers.

For me, I’ve noticed some unintended consequences of connecting with industry work colleagues via Facebook. As I see photos of their family vacations, life cycle events, or personal challenges (like running a marathon), I feel more connected to them. Now when I see them at an industry event, I know quite a bit about them (based on their posts) and suddenly there is a personal connection. Instead of shaking their hands, I find myself hugging them and asking about their family, their new child or grandchild, or home. It’s amazing how connected you feel when people open up and share what’s going on in their personal lives.

Flickr/Kashmut
Photo Credit: Flickr/Kashmut

I still do shake hands with new business colleagues or acquaintances. But after a nice meal together, I find myself saying goodbye with a hug, more often than with a handshake. And I’ve noticed the same thing happening with both women and men. I see a lot of guys do that “chest bump” hug that doesn’t look entirely sincere, but provides the same affectionate bonding.

How do you feel about this? Do you find yourself only shaking hands with people you meet, or have you found the same thing going on? That a hug is more satisfying? It provides a different kind of connection, one we all need.

So, in this day of pervasive working remotely, commuting two to three hours a day, or finding your closest friends are your Facebook friends, I give you permission to hug people, instead of just shaking their hands.

I think you will find, like I have, that the personal, tactile connection is deeply satisfying and grounding. And helps you get through the day.

Hugs,

Karen

Popular purple tubers and other purple produce are in demand for holiday feasts

Los Alamitos, CA (November 2017) – Everyone is looking for these Instagram-famous Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes for their fall feasts. Draw shoppers in to your produce department with a big, beautiful sweet potato display featuring these purple-skinned tubers.

“Our retail partners say the best time of year to promote Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes is the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving,” said Alex Jackson Berkley, senior account manager at Frieda’s Specialty Produce. “With sweet potatoes remaining a trendy and staple produce item, and shoppers looking to add color to the Thanksgiving table, Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes will sell out for the holiday.

“Conventional Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes can be merchandised with other sweet potatoes, and the organic ones can be in the organic section,” said Berkley. “Purple deserves a place at the holiday table.” Add purple cauliflower, purple asparagus, baby purple potatoes, and radicchio to round out the holiday purple vegetable set.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Purple is the New Orange

Other popular volume holiday items from Frieda’s include fingerling and baby potatoes, Frieda’s Star Spangled Spuds, ginger, shallots, blood oranges, Fuyu persimmons, and Green Dragon apples.

(Turkey) Trot over to the phone and call a Frieda’s account manager to book your holiday orders today.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit to dragon fruit and from Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes to habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

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