Newswatch

THANKSGIVING SHOPPING HABITS SHIFT WEST DUNDEE, Ill. November dollar sales of turkey have risen 7% during the past five years, while volumes are up 3%, but a growing number of shoppers are now purchasing their turkeys the week prior to Thanksgiving, according to a recent report by the Perishables Group here. Fifty-two percent of turkeys sold during the month of November 2009 were sold during the week

THANKSGIVING SHOPPING HABITS SHIFT

WEST DUNDEE, Ill. — November dollar sales of turkey have risen 7% during the past five years, while volumes are up 3%, but a growing number of shoppers are now purchasing their turkeys the week prior to Thanksgiving, according to a recent report by the Perishables Group here. Fifty-two percent of turkeys sold during the month of November 2009 were sold during the week of Thanksgiving, down from 58% in 2005. Meanwhile, sales of turkey the week before Thanksgiving increased 12% during the past five years. The report also noted that hummus is becoming a favorite for Thanksgiving gatherings. Volume sales of hummus during the week of Thanksgiving have risen 96% during the past five years. “While not a traditional Thanksgiving food, hummus' role as a healthy alternative to mayonnaise-based dressings for veggie trays is fueling its holiday growth,” the report noted.

FDA, NOAA DECLARE GULF SEAFOOD SAFE

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last week declared 96% of the Gulf of Mexico's waters safe for commercial and recreational fishing, after chemically testing more than 1,700 samples of Gulf fish, shrimp, oysters and crab, and finding trace amounts of oil and oil dispersants on only 13 of the samples. “The rigorous testing we have done from the very beginning gives us confidence in the safety of seafood being brought to market from the Gulf,” Jane Lubchenco, under secretary for commerce and NOAA Administrator, said in a release. “This test adds another layer of information, reinforcing our findings to date that seafood from the Gulf remains safe.” During the peak of this summer's Deepwater Horizon oil spill, only 37% of the Gulf's waters were declared safe for fishing. “The overwhelming majority of the seafood tested shows no detectable residue, and not one of the samples shows a residue level that would be harmful for humans,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement. “There is no question Gulf seafood coming to market is safe from oil or dispersant residue.”

PMA ATTENDEES DONATE PRODUCE

ORLANDO, Fla. — Produce and floral suppliers attending the Produce Marketing Association's Fresh Summit convention here donated 266,330 pounds of produce to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and five smaller food banks after the conclusion of the show last month. “This is an especially meaningful contribution, not only due to the sheer size of it, but also because fresh fruits and vegetables are the very kinds of highly nutritious food that our low-income families, seniors and others are often lacking in their diets,” Dave Krepcho, Second Harvest Food Bank president and chief executive officer, said in a release. “These products make a deep impact in a problem that has risen to historic and urgent proportions in Central Florida, and we are grateful.” The food and flowers were collected at the Orange County Convention Center by more than 100 local food bank volunteers.

TURKEY PRICES RISE ON TIGHT SUPPLIES

NEW YORK — Retail turkey prices are expected to be about 20% higher this month, compared with 2009, due to tighter supplies and higher feed costs, according to a report from the Associated Press. U.S. production declined to 5.5 billion pounds, down from 5.6 billion pounds in 2009, and the price of corn, which is the key component of poultry feed, has risen 58% during the past year, the report noted, citing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Whole, frozen turkeys were selling for an average of $1.57 per pound in September, the most they have cost since 1980, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.