Fresh-cut produce tops many lists in heartland

09/13/2013 03:12:00 PM
Coral Beach

In its third year, Cool Creations, based near downtown Kansas City, Mo., has expanded its fresh-cut line recently to include products with various berries. The company also added berry-only products to its product line at the request of customers.

Brent Bielski, general manager of Greenberg Fruit Co., said the Omaha, Neb., company also is fielding increased requests for berries in fresh-cut products. He credits commodity boards for part of that growth because of their efforts to educate the public about the nutritional benefits of berries.

Bielski said Greenberg is “pleased with the increases” in its fresh-cut business, especially in single-serve and specialty products.

“I think the perfection of the fresh-cut processes and offering a wider range of items is helping increase demand also,” Bielski said.

From the retail side, Mike Orf, assistant vice president of produce operations for Hy-Vee Stores Inc., said consumer demand for fresh-cut is far greater in the chain’s eight-state area than demand for organic fresh produce.

Headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa, Hy-Vee’s 235 stores are mostly controlled by local managers and almost all of the stores have fresh-cut operations in-house.

“I think the growth in demand for fresh-cut fruits and vegetables is mainly lifestyle driven,” Orf said. “It varies from store to store, but overall we are increasing our efforts and expanding offerings.”


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