COOL Opportunities

COOL Opportunities

Years ago, consumers would push their carts around the produce sections of grocery stores, looking for the best prices. Little concern was given to where the produce was grown, as shoppers were simply looking for the items on their grocery lists. Country of origin didn’t have too much impact on many purchasing decisions.

Move ahead to a few years ago, however, and knowing where produce originated was deemed something that was necessary and Country of Origin Labeling, known as COOL, was the acronym getting tossed around. In fact, COOL was to be part of the 2002 Farm Bill. The implementation of country of origin law for produce, however, was delayed because of the perceived costs involved.

Well, now things are changing. According to the U.S. Potato Board (USPB), a letter from a major retailer was sent recently to all of its perishables suppliers regarding its expectations as they relate to COOL. Despite the fact that there are several elements of COOL that are yet to be decided, many believe that when the Farm Bill is passed, there will be some country of original labeling requirements that could take place as early as this fall.

To prepare for the coming changes, the USPB is recommending that potato growers order new fresh potato packaging, bags, cartons, etc., that say “Product of USA”, or “USA,” or indicate the state where the potatoes were grown, such as “Idaho potatoes” on the primary panel. USPB also plans to work on some standardized point-of-purchase signage that retailers and shippers can use for bulk potatoes. 

It might be a good idea for growers of other commodities to follow the USPB’s example. Get out ahead of the game, and be prepared to comply with labeling regulations. The good news is, this time around the burden of mandatory labeling on produce suppliers should be reduced.

Locally Grown

Further helping the cause of COOL, consumers continue to show interest in where their produce originated, as support in many areas of the country for locally grown food is increasing. With rising concern about food safety, as well as a new “eco-sensitivity,” an increasing number of consumers also want to know how far their food has traveled to reach its final destination.

In addition, we are hearing more about growth in farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture ventures, and restaurants playing up the fact that their produce is supplied by local growers. Many grocery stores also have jumped on the bandwagon, with signage indicating where the produce was grown. From my own shopping experiences, a couple of chains in Northeast Ohio have areas set aside for the “Ohio grown” produce.

With the consuming public interested in where produce originated, turn any new labeling requirements into a marketing opportunity rather than a burden. Give all consumers the information they want. You just may increase your sales — both here and other areas of the world.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

IrrigationWet December Predicted For Parched California
November 25, 2014
National Weather Service says above-normal precipitation expected; it may continue through the winter in central and southern parts of the Golden State. Read More
Apples & PearsEPA Approves Three New Moth Mating Disruption Products
November 25, 2014
Codling moth and oriental fruit moth are targeted by apple and pear growers. Read More
VegetablesSakata Hosts Annual Fall Field Trials
November 25, 2014
Growers and dealer partners gather to see new varieties at the company's South Florida field station. Read More
VegetablesStokes Seeds Presents Their Latest Vegetable Varieties
November 25, 2014
For more information, contact: Stokes Seeds P.O. Box 548 Buffalo, NY 14240-0548 800-263-7233; fax: 800-272-5560 stokesseeds.com Read More
VegetablesAbbott & Cobb Presents Their Latest Vegetable Varieties
November 25, 2014
For more information, contact: Abbott & Cobb P.O. Box 307 Feasterville, PA 19053 800-245-SEED; fax:215-245-9043 abbotcobb.com Read More
VegetablesVariety Trials 2014: Rupp Seeds
November 25, 2014
Check out new pumpkins weighing between 18 and 20 pounds as well as new powdery-mildew tolerant butternut squash hybrids. Read More
Food SafetyMultistate Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Bean Sprouts
November 25, 2014
FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with state and local officials continue to investigate the food-borne illness outbreak. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateCitrus Survey: New Management Techniques Trending
November 25, 2014
Growers widen their tactical approach to survive HLB. Read More
FruitsFruitGrowerConnect Brings Buyers And Sellers Together [Slideshow]
November 25, 2014
Suppliers and growers got down to business in San Diego discussing current needs, solutions, and ways to increase efficiencies on the farm. Read More
Vegetables13 Must Have Carrot Varieties [Slideshow]
November 24, 2014
Browse the slideshow for information on 13 carrot varieties to add to your collection. Read More

The Latest

IrrigationWet December Predicted For Parched California
November 25, 2014
National Weather Service says above-normal precipitation expected; it may continue through the winter in central and southern parts of the Golden State. Read More
Apples & PearsEPA Approves Three New Moth Mating Disruption Products
November 25, 2014
Codling moth and oriental fruit moth are targeted by apple and pear growers. Read More
VegetablesSakata Hosts Annual Fall Field Trials
November 25, 2014
Growers and dealer partners gather to see new varieties at the company's South Florida field station. Read More
VegetablesStokes Seeds Presents Their Latest Vegetable Varieties
November 25, 2014
For more information, contact: Stokes Seeds P.O. Box 548 Buffalo, NY 14240-0548 800-263-7233; fax: 800-272-5560 stokesseeds.com Read More
VegetablesAbbott & Cobb Presents Their Latest Vegetable Varie…
November 25, 2014
For more information, contact: Abbott & Cobb P.O. Box 307 Feasterville, PA 19053 800-245-SEED; fax:215-245-9043 abbotcobb.com Read More
VegetablesVariety Trials 2014: Rupp Seeds
November 25, 2014
Check out new pumpkins weighing between 18 and 20 pounds as well as new powdery-mildew tolerant butternut squash hybrids. Read More
Food SafetyMultistate Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Bean Sprouts
November 25, 2014
FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with state and local officials continue to investigate the food-borne illness outbreak. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateCitrus Survey: New Management Techniques Trending
November 25, 2014
Growers widen their tactical approach to survive HLB. Read More
FruitsFruitGrowerConnect Brings Buyers And Sellers Together […
November 25, 2014
Suppliers and growers got down to business in San Diego discussing current needs, solutions, and ways to increase efficiencies on the farm. Read More
Vegetables13 Must Have Carrot Varieties [Slideshow]
November 24, 2014
Browse the slideshow for information on 13 carrot varieties to add to your collection. Read More
CitrusReasons Aplenty Florida Growers Should Feel Good Going …
November 24, 2014
Thanks to recent industry achievements, the next 12-month period is shaping up to be a year to remember --- fondly. Read More
BerriesSuspected Borer Could Be Big Bother To Florida Blueberr…
November 24, 2014
Producers warned to be on the lookout as scientists probe samples. Read More
NutsWatch Your Almonds’ Salt Intake
November 24, 2014
Because of the current California drought, almond growers must pay extra attention to soil salinity. Read More
Varieties & RootstocksHelp On The Way Citrus Growers Can Truly Tap Into
November 24, 2014
Demand for inventory to rise as USDA’s Tree Assistance Program pushes new plantings. Read More
FruitsRegistration Opens Dec. 1 For NAFDMA 30th Annual Conven…
November 24, 2014
The five-day event includes bus tours, educational sessions, workshops, and a business exchange in Tennessee in February. Read More
CitrusIndustry Organizations Sound Off On President’s Immig…
November 21, 2014
Agriculture is not given the attention it so sorely deserves when it comes to the immigration debate. Read More
Insect ControlDon’t Turn Your Back On Striped Blister Beetles
November 21, 2014
Learn how to ID, the survival and spread, as well as management methods of this vegetable pest. Read More
CitrusRamped-Up Predatory Mite Production To Benefit Growers
November 21, 2014
Biologics company Beneficial Insectary now rearing two species in its California facility. Read More