For a video, see U.S. firms find tastes differ in Canada.
News Editor Chris Koger, Retail Editor Pamela Riemenschneider and Cynthia David, Special to The Packer, gathered the following news items from expo booths at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association's Convention and Expo April 18-19.
COLORFUL HARVEST: Blueberries are a major growth category in Canada for Colorful Harvest LLC, says Doug Ranno (left), chief operating officer. The company also launched packaging for Canada for the company’s multi-colored baby peeled carrots, says Doug McFarland, marketing director. The packaging features information in English and French, he says.
MARITIME PAVILION: The Maritime Pavilion got an overhaul this year, giving exhibitors a brighter, more open exhibiting space, said Beth Patillo of Kings Produce Ltd., Canning, Nova Scotia. Patillo said exhibitors from the three provinces — Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick — collaborated on the effort to give the new booths a nautical feel.
SUNKIST GROWERS: Joan Wickham, advertising and public relations manager for Sunkist Growers, Sherman Oaks, Calif., shows off the Lil Snappers mixed bag, which is just now hitting the Canadian market. It includes 3 pounds of kid-sized navel oranges and gala apples, in collaboration with Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers Inc. The Lil Snappers brand offers more than 20 varieties of citrus, apples and pears. Sunkist also is shipping limited quantities of its Zebra pink variegated lemons, an item the company plans to have more volumes of in years to come, Wickham says.
RUBY FRESH: Firebaugh, Calif.-based Ruby Fresh Pomegranates’ new Salad Jewels line was introduced in October, says salesman David Anthony, and they now offer a new universal product code directly on packaging. The complete kit offers three flavors: Sparkling Spring Mix, Gleaming Mediterranean Medley and Brilliant Southern Blend in a 7-ounce package.
EARTHFRESH: Stephanie Cutaia, marketing manager for Toronto-based EarthFresh Foods stands at the company’s home kitchen-themed booth, which won the 2013 Best Booth award at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association Convention and Expo in Toronto.
BOLTHOUSE FARMS: Bakersfield, Calif.-based Bolthouse Farms has a new carrot juice blend, Orange Carrot. The blend offers 160% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin A and more than a full day’s vitamin C, says Melissa Garmatz, Toronto merchandiser and brand ambassador. Bolthouse also recently introduced a new Chocolate Protein Plus flavor, which offers 30 grams of protein per serving. Cristina DiIelsi, Bolthouse’s merchandiser for Montreal, also helped sample the company’s Shakedowns flavored carrot pouch, which are currently test-marketing in Texas, Indianapolis and Seattle.
CALIFORNIA GROWN: Alicia Adler, export program manager for Buy California Marketing Agreement, based in Sacramento, says the state plans to work more closely to retailers this year and encourage them to promote several California-grown products at once from a side range of products including pears, avocados, asparagus and even wine. California’s bartlett pear harvest should begin in July, Adler said, and the first Canadian shipments should arrive in August.
IPPOLITO INTERNATIONAL: Matthew McEwan (left) and Steve Timsak, salesman, show off Ippolito International LP’s new two-count and four-count artichoke packs. The two-count features microwaveable technology, McEwan says, and is easy and ready to cook for consumers. Timsak says the four-count is popular with club stores.
C.H. ROBINSON: Emmett Flynn, Canadian salesman for Eden Prairie, Minn.-based C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. showed the company’s Eco-Crate sweet corn packaging, available for the first time in Canada this season. Eco-Crates replace wire-bound wood crates, are fully recyclable and offer shipping savings by allowing more crates per truck and less packaging per crate.
DJ FORRY: Reedley, Calif.-based DJ Forry is rebranding its pomegranate arils to the Sweet Burst brand, says Ray England, vice president of marketing. England says the company also is converting its soft fruit to high graphic stand-up bags, starting its second year in cherries with the upcoming season. The new bags give retailers and consumers opportunities for to learn more about the product within, which is particularly important for something like the company’s persimmons.
APIO: Apio Inc.’s Eat Smart Sweet Kale Salad Blend has had unprecedented success in the market, says Bob DeCosta, sales manager. DeCosta says the company plans to start shipping its Eat Smart Ginger Bok Choy Vegetable Salad Kit this summer. The kit offers six “superfoods,” nutrient-packed vegetables including Napa cabbage, snap peas, carrots, broccoli, bok choy and red cabbage.
CLASSIC SALADS: Classic Salads LLC’s new blends — Kale, Supermix and Nordic Blend — are “going gangbusters” says John Burge (center), vice president of saes and marketing for the Watsonville, Calif.-based company. The company offers bilingual English/French packaging, as well as foodservice clamshells and bags, displayed by Tim DePolo (left) and Brooke Cain.
POM WONDERFUL: Jason Osborn (left), senior brand manager, and Chris Cockle, country manager for Canada for Los Angeles-based Pom Wonderful, display the company’s new Tropical Blends: Pom Hula, Pom Mango and Pom Coconut. The blends, which also won the 2013 CPMA Best New Product, were introduced April 18 and are slated to start shipping to stores this summer.
BARD VALLEY DATES: Dave Nelson, vice president of sales for Yuma, Ariz.-based Datepac LLC, and Erin Hanagan, marketing manager, offered samples of new pitted dates in a 12-ounce clamshell along with 3.4-ounce and 4.4-ounce snack packs of medjools and date rolls flavored with coconut, almond or chili lime. Datepac is a member of the Bard Valley Date Association, which markets the dates under the Natural Delights brand. “They make a great grab-and-go snack before or after a workout when you need a burst of energy,” Hanagan said
MONAGHAN MUSHROOM GROUP: The Essex Kent brand is converting to a new image, Belle Grove, says Harvey Mitchler (right), sales director for the Campbellville, Ontario-based operation of Monaghan Mushroom Group. The Belle Grove brand will be used on the company’s full line of mushrooms, says Stephen Allen, head of marketing for the Tyholland, Ireland-based company.
PERO FAMILY FARMS: Scott Seddon, brand manager of Delroy Beach, Fla.-based Pero Family Farms Food Co. LLC, shows off the company’s newly launched 12-ounce bag of triple-washed wax beans along with a Fresh Cut medley of green beans, yellow and green zucchini and carrots, both in a 12-ounce microwaveable bag. Seddon says 10- and 24-ounce resealable stand-up bags of hot jalapeño and habanero peppers are also selling well.
GRAPES FROM CALIFORNIA: Jane Lytle (left), marketing director of the Fresno, Calif.-based Table Grape Commission, and Cindy Plummer, vice president of domestic marketing, plan to advertise in the English and French versions of Chatelaine magazine this year to raise awareness for some of the more than 70 varieties of grapes grown in California. Lytle says the commission will also work with Canadian newspaper editors and send monthly e-mails to retailers for their social media pages.
SUNFED: Rio Rico, Ariz.-based SunFed Perfect Produce is kicking off its spring Mexican melon program with a full line of honeydew, regular and mini watermelon and cantaloupe, says Matt Mandel, vice president sales and marketing. The organic program for all four varieties is “growing incredibly,” Mandel says.