NEW ORLEANS — The Packer staffers Dan Galbraith, Tom Karst, Pamela Riemenschneider, Doug Ohlemeier, Vicky Boyd and Coral Beach collected these news items on the expo floor at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit 2013 Oct. 19-20 at the Ernest Morial Convention Center.
GRAPPLE FRUITS: Todd Snyder, co-developer at Grapple Fruits LLC, shows a new packaging option for Grapples — the pouch bag. Pouch bags include three pieces of fruit, which equal a lower ring than other four-count options. They also include recipes for alternative uses for Grapples. The new pouches start shipping in mid-November.
MARIANI PACKING: Three new flavors joined the Mariani Packing Co. Inc. line of packaged snacks, said Miranda Ackerman, brand manager. The Vacaville, Calif.-based company’s Crunch line includes dried fruit and nuts packed in 5-ounce resealable pouches. Hawaiian Crunch features pineapples, banana chips, barbeque almonds papaya with lime, New England Crunch includes cinnamon apples, cranberries and honey roasted almonds and Sierra Crunch is a more traditional trail mix with cranberries, pineapple, almonds and yogurt chips, Ackerman said.
NATURIPE FARMS: Kyla Garnett and Janis McIntosh show off Naturipe Farms LLC’s new microwaveable cranberry sauce kit. The 14-ounce kit includes everything needed to make traditional cranberry sauce in about four minutes in the microwave, Garnett says. The kit, a finalist for the Produce Marketing Association Impact Packaging Awards, is available in limited quantities this season, she says, but should go nationwide next year.
NORTH BAY PRODUCE: Nick Osmulski, sales manager at North Bay Produce, Traverse City, Mich., said the company plans to roll out a washed and ready-to-eat blueberry snack pack. The value-added pack features 1.5 ounces of blueberries in each pod, packed in three-count configurations priced around $2.99 to $3.99, depending on the channel. They’re designed to merchandise side-by-side in a display-ready box at retail, or could be adapted for school foodservice, convenience stores or vending machines.
NATALIE’S: Natalie Sexton, the face of Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co., Fort Pierce, Fla., joined the company as marketing manager, and kicked off efforts to reach consumers with tours across the eastern U.S., including the Big Apple Barbeque and Marine Corps. Marathon. The company focuses its marketing to direct-to-consumer events, allowing the product to speak for itself, said Mike Montgomery, field marketing coordinator.
APACHE PRODUCE IMPORTS: Cucumbers, squash and green bell peppers will be added to the product lineup for Apache Produce, says Pepe Pesqueira, sales manager at Apache Produce Imports LLC, Nogales, Ariz. Cucumbers and squash from Mexico begin the first week of November, while green bell peppers begin in December, he says. In general, he says that the Mexican winter vegetable deal may feature slightly more vegetables and less tomatoes this year because of sensitivity about trade issues.
BASIN GOLD: Molly Connors, sales representative with Basin Gold, Pasco, Wash., and member of the Fresh Solutions Network, helped showcase the 1.5-pound Steamables petite sweet potato pack from Basin Gold. The recently introduced items have huge growth potential, Connors said.
CLIFFORD PRODUCE: Holding new consumer packs of cocktail cucumbers and peppers, Angelo Fallone, finance administrator for Clifford Produce, Ruthven, Ontario, says the snack packs appeal to adults and children. The 1-pound bag of cocktail sweet peppers is laser-perforated and is designed to add five to seven days shelf life compared with standard bags, he says. The one-pound micro-perforated bag will also be featured for cocktail cucumbers and is expected to add about a week of shelf life, he says. The company has also introduced a 1-pint clamshell of mini-sweet peppers, he says.
COUNTRY FRESH MUSHROOM CO.: Finding favorable buyer reaction on a personal portion portabella mushroom pack, Bob Besix, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Country Fresh Mushroom Co., Toughkenamon, Pa., said the 4-ounce pack is targeted for single consumers and includes a recipe on the back of the pack. “We feel it is value-added item to the category.” Besix said buyer reaction has been good and the company may introduce the product by November. The company also offers a new microwaveable 7-ounce mushroom pack, he said.
GILLS ONIONS: Displaying a new 16-ounce bag for diced onions and celery, Rex Lawrence, retails sales manager for western North America for Gills Onion, Oxnard, Calif., says the product is being released during the holiday season. “It’s really a versatile product used for a lot of different items beyond stuffing,” he says. Gills Onions has also revamped labeling to be color-coded to coincide with categories such as diced onions. Gills Onions also is beginning to market shelf-stable 16-ounce jars of caramelized red onions and grilled yellow onions, he says. The product can be merchandised with refrigerated diced onions or as a display with dry onions, he says. The expected retail price point is in the $4.49 to $4.99 range, he says.
I LOVE PRODUCE: Jim Provost, president of I Love Produce LLC, West Grove, Pa., said his company has initiated a program to donate proceeds from Peruvian organic ginger sales to a school adjacent to the field from which the ginger is harveted. Coming into a strong world market expected to trade as high as he $40-$50 range per 30-pound carton, ginger from Peru will continue into January, when supplies from China will begin to increase, Provost said.
KEYSTONE FRUIT MARKETING: Matthew Gideon, salesman for Keystone Fruit Marketing Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, displays flat sweet mild red onions that represent a new program for the marketer. The red onions are from Peru, Mexico, Texas and Georgia. “We have been working on a proprietary seed for the last four to five years and we finally found one with a consistently mild flavor,” he says. The red onions will be available from October through July, he says. Peru’s production runs from October through December, with Mexico volume beginning in February. Mexico, Texas and Georgia will ship from February through July, he says.
BARD VALLEY MEDJOOL DATE: The Bard Valley Medjool Date Association trucked in a date tree from Yuma, Ariz., as part of the group's booth display. “We had a lot of traffic to the booth last year because of (the tree) and we went to a bigger footprint,” said Ed O’Malley, president and chief executive officer of Datepac, which packs the majority of the group's dates.
PRODUCE PRO SOFTWARE: A new smart phone app from Produce Pro Software offers drivers a tool that saves time, said Marc Hatfield, national sales manager for the Woodridge, Ill.-based company. The app, which works with Android devices, allows truckers to have all the data for their stops on the device. The app allows drivers to view what product is on the truck, gives the ability to capture electronic signatures, and provides real time updates on inventory, turn by turn navigation and the drivers’ location. During deliveries, drivers can use the app to verify product quantities and adjust, if needed, the quantity delivered, Hatfield said.
COLORADO CERTIFIED POTATO GROWERS: The Monte Vista-based Colorado Certified Potato Growers Association, which involves 36 growers, has given names to two formerly experimental potato varieties, said Preston Stanley, manager. AC99330-P/Y is now known as Midnight Moon, and CO97226-2 R/R is now called Red Luna. Midnight Moon is a dark purple-skinned variety with a yellow interior, whereas Red Luna has red skin and red flesh. Both are higher in antioxidants than some of the earlier varieties.
RIVERIDGE PRODUCE MARKETING: Showing off a new pie clamshell concept for fresh apples, Melissa Dubridge, sales representative for Riveridge Produce Marketing, Sparta, Mich., says there is interest from buyers. The product should be ready for shipment by early November, she says. Marketed as the “bake your own apple pie” clamshell, it includes six Michigan jonagold baking apples and an apple pie recipe. The reusable clamshell also can be used to store a fresh-baked pie, she says. Riveridge is also offering multi-variety clamshell pack, with two apple varieties offered in the clamshell. The multi-variety clamshell will be offered in 2.25-pound and 4.25-pound options, he says.
TAYLOR FARMS: Salinas, Calif.-based Taylor Farms Retail Inc., displated new single-serve chopped salad. The 6.75-ounce single-serve bowls are available in Asian, Barbeque Ranch, Southwest and Italian. Each salad includes a protein, said Shannon Renz, sales manager.
Vicky St. Geme, vice president of marketing for Taylor Farms, said the company also presented new items to three Taylor Farms categories: line extensions to the company’s Chopped Salad segment: Kale and Sweet Kale. Taylor Farms also added two new additions to its organic salad program with Organic Kale and Organic Powergreens. Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Green Beans were added to the fresh cut vegetables lineup under the Green Giant brand, she said.
TRICAR SALES: Rod Sbragia, director of sales and marketing for Tricar Sales Inc., Nogales, Ariz., says the firm will be offering new consumer packaging in the coming season, including 2-pound bags of roma tomatoes and a three-count bag for slicer cucumbers. The Mexican cucumber deal began in early October, with bell peppers in mid-November. The full spectrum of colored bell peppers and roma tomatoes will begin in mid-December, he says.
FRESHWAY FOODS: Sidney, Ohio-based Freshway Foods sampled its new healthy deli salads, including the company’s new 5-A-Day salad featuring broccoli and mango, according to Janet Eastman, director of marketing for the company. The company also handed out samples of the company’s rebranded line of Power Packs, called ideal for schools participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program “Our goal is to interest kids in fresh produce, without any added sugar or artificial flavors,” Eastman said. The company also brought new employee Doug Bond, product development manager/chef, to Fresh Summit.
DEL MONTE FRESH PRODUCE: A new, easy-to-carry, two-pack of pineapples was introduced by Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc. The pack gives consumers extra value and moves more fruit, said Veronique Vatinelle, senior marketing manager for the Coral Gables, Fla.-based company. Del Monte Fresh also is introducing the Bon Bon, a shaker style cup for grape tomatoes. In addition, Del Monte Fresh is introducing five-count individually wrapped fruit spear multipacks in its fresh cut line, with expected availability in October.
See The Packer's video coverage from the show floor at http://thepacker.com/freshsummit