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Produce supplier focuses on local

BY Alaric DeArment

“This tomato sucks.”


A blunt assessment, for sure, but it was the honest opinion delivered at a recent TED talk by Paul Lightfoot, the CEO of BrightFarms, as he plopped an organic tomato into his mouth.


BrightFarms, founded through the January 2011 merger of BrightFarm Systems and Better Food Solutions, offers an alternative to the traditional fresh produce supply chain. “The food that’s being sold in grocery and drug stores — we would like to change it,” Lightfoot told Drug Store News. “We want it to be healthy for people and healthy for the environment.”


BrightFarms’ model turns the supply chain on its head by designing, financing, building and managing hydroponic greenhouses that serve microregions of stores for a retailer, which then pays for the produce itself, but for the same price it would pay under a traditional model at competitive market prices. “We always want to make sure the food is consumed in the same community where it’s grown,” Lightfoot said.


The demand among consumers for fresh, locally grown produce has been developing for some time. An August 2010 survey of 1,200 U.S. consumers conducted by the Hartman Group on behalf of the Produce Marketing Association found an increased interest in seeking out locally grown produce and making purchases from farmers markets; a preference for fresh produce over other types; and the continued power of interest in health to drive consumption of fresh produce.


BrightFarms recently announced a deal to serve A&P’s stores in New York by building greenhouses in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, while another complex of greenhouses will serve Supervalu’s stores in the Minneapolis area. In theory, a contract with a retail pharmacy chain would work under a similarly decentralized model. “It definitely seems that drug stores want to be part of the solution of getting fresh produce into markets where there isn’t enough fresh produce right now,” Lightfoot said.


Most retailers that sell produce — including supermarkets, mass merchandisers and a growing number of drug stores — ultimately get it from all over the country and the world. At the TED talk, Lightfoot remarked that nearly all the lettuce sold in the United States comes from farms in California and Arizona. This type of supply chain creates a system that he called both efficient and inefficient. It’s efficient because it creates huge quantities of produce at low prices, but inefficient because that produce is grown to travel the longest possible distance without spoiling, but at the cost of flavor. Case in point, the aforementioned sucky tomato, not to mention the number of audience members who raised their hands when he asked if the best tomato they’d ever eaten had come from a supermarket: something fewer than one.


According to BrightFarms, its model also is more environmentally sustainable. In one year, the company said, a 1-acre greenhouse grows up to half a million pounds of produce and generates up to $1.5 million in sales, but also saves up to 5 million gallons of water and mitigates up to 740 pounds of CO2 emissions — owing to the much shorter distance between the source and the store — and 430 pounds of pesticides. And unlike a farm, the greenhouses can be built in urban areas.

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Coca-Cola to bring Core Power to masses

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — Coca-Cola announced it will distribute a dairy product that is produced and marketed by Fair Oaks Farms Brands, a collective of American family farmers.

Core Power, originally marketed as Athletes HoneyMilk in Colorado and Texas, initially will be delivered in select markets via Coca-Cola Refreshments’ distribution system. The protein milkshake, made with real milk and honey, is lactose- and gluten-free. Core Power will be available in 26-g and 20-g protein versions and such flavors as honey, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry banana, and is packaged in 11.5-oz. recyclable plastic bottles.

"At Coca-Cola we believe in providing a wide range of options that help empower consumers to make the beverage choice that best suits their lifestyle, occasion and need," said Julie Francis, chief commercial officer at Coca-Cola Refreshments. "Lending our distribution and marketing expertise to help deliver new Core Power to consumers is another way to provide customers and consumers with additional beverage choices."


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Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy packs provide relief for breast-feeding moms

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Lansinoh Labs has partnered with TheraPearl to create a first-of-its-kind solution for breast-feeding moms that delivers 360 degrees of relief in a unique cold, warm and hot therapy pack that conforms to the breast.

Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy packs feature TheraPearl’s proprietary Pearl Technology developed by a doctor and patient team to mimic the age-old remedy of using a frozen bag of peas to relieve pain. How it works: The reusable, nontoxic, and BPA and phthalate-free packs are filled with "pearls" that retain any desired temperature for 20 minutes and can be used by breast-feeding moms to help with the following issues:

  • Reduce engorgement: Easily stored in freezer, cold Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy packs helps reduce swelling and relieve engorgement;

  • Soothe mastitis and plugged ducts: Heated briefly in a microwave and used hot, Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy packs help soothe mastitis-related discomfort and plugged ducts; and

  • Reduce pumping time: For breastfeeding moms who choose to also pump, Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy packs used warm may help encourage let-down and reduce the time moms spend pumping. A recent study found that warming the breast can decrease expression time and increase milk available. Each pack is fitted with a snap closure, so moms can fasten it around their breast pump flanges to use during their pumping session.

The new product is being featured at this week’s National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Marketplace conference.

"We are delighted to partner with TheraPearl to make this solution possible. This is the first product of its kind that offers breast-feeding moms a significantly advanced, modern solution for pain relief that can finally replace the well-known ‘bag of frozen peas’ home remedy," said Gina Ciagne, certified lactation counselor and senior director for professional relations at Lansinoh.

Currently available online at Diapers.com for a suggested retail price of $13.99, Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy will be sold in many retail chains across the country, including Target, Babies ‘R Us, CVS/pharmacy, Walgreens and Buy Buy Baby. As part of the launch, Lansinoh is offering a $1 coupon for any Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy purchase through Oct. 31.

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