ST. PAUL, Minn. — Sections Editor Dan Galbraith collected these news items Aug. 13-14 at the Supervalu Northern Region Sales for All Seasons:
THE GREENERY: An extension to the Tommies tomato line, the TomGuard snack pack is the latest innovation offered by The Greenery N.A. Inc., Westampton, N.J. “These were launched in Europe last year and in the U.S. about three months ago,” says Justin Ruta, vice president of sales and marketing. The TomGuard is a miniature lunchbox of sorts, holding and protecting seven baby plum snack tomatoes. The container’s material is not only durable, but dishwasher-safe and reusable. The TomGuard is packed inside the lid of The Greenery’s new bucket packaging. Original Tommies packs are 8-ounce cups. The bucket is 14 ounces. Ruta showed off the TomGuard at the Supervalu Northern Region Sales for All Seasons to try to develop a customer base for the product. “These are pesticide-free, hydroponic tomatoes that are expensive to grow, so we’re only going to plant if they’re going to buy,” Ruta said of the Tommies, which originated in Holland but are now grown in California.
CARLSON AIRFLO: Jose Cartamil Jr., regional sales manager for Carlson AirFlo, Brooklyn Park, Minn., stands next to a giant pinapple-shaped retail display he says he designed himself on a cocktail napkin during an airplane flight. It is designed to not only stand out in a store and be space-efficient but also keep the fruit from being damaged, Cartamil says. Also at the Supervalu Northern Region Sales for All Seasons Aug. 13-14 in St. Paul, Minn., Cartamil pushed the company’s new accessories for vertical racks, including an asparagus divider. “It acts like a shelf, it’s watertight and you can create as many tiers as you like with it,” Cartamil says. Carlson’s new AirBar System, with pricing starting at $120, was also on display at the Supervalu show. It’s designed to keep products facing forward while maximizing retail space and is especially handy for bagged salad and clamshell salad displays.
WHOLESALE PRODUCE SUPPLY: Jennifer Rigdon, who works in promotion and business development for Minneapolis-based Wholesale Produce Supply Co., shows off the company’s new 1-pound Harvest Crisp bag and snack pack, both of which are available as part of a new Pick 5 program. In a new partnership with Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu, consumers are encouraged to choose five of a large number of packs for a price set by individual Supervalu stores. The high-graphic bags are resealable and can feature any number of fresh produce commodities.
SUPERVALU: At the Supervalu Northern Region Sales for All Seasons Aug. 13-14 in St. Paul, Minn., a retail display designed by Brooklyn Park, Minn.-based Carlson AirFlo showed off an example of a “Fill it Fresh” promotion Supervalu is high on. In this example, the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based retailer shows how a store can increase fresh produce sales by allowing consumers to fill an entire bag with various produce commodities for a flat $15 price. Also shown is another Carlson AirFlo-designed tool — a Cross Merchandising Cheese Wheel, allowing retailers to easily pair cheese with items like apples and pears.
MARKET FRESH PRODUCE: Hannah Harris, from left, Steve Ford and Katie Wallace are all new in the business development department for Nixa, Mo.-based Market Fresh Produce. The trio was on hand Aug. 13 at the Supervalu Sales for All Seasons conference in St. Paul, Minn., where they dressed in NFL garb to help promote the company’s giveaway promotion of tickets to a Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings game.
THE FRESH CONNECTION: Tyler Neu, business manager for The Fresh Connection Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn., holds packages of new Lentil Snaps and Snapea Crisps, which are potato chip alternatives consisting of 60%-70% produce. The crisps, made by Fairfield, Calif.-based Calbee NA LLC and marketed by The Fresh Connection, contain about half the fat of traditional chips and also contain double to triple more fiber and a third to a half less sodium than potato chips. They’re an all-North American-source product, Neu says. New flavors launched in April, additions to the Harvest Snaps line, include Onion Thyme Lentil Snaps, Tomato Basil Lentil Snaps, Wasabi Ranch Snapea Crisps and Black Pepper Snapea Crisps.
FRESH EXPRESS: Dan Blumb shows off single-serve salad packs Salinas, Calif.-based Fresh Express plans to launch Aug. 21. In all, there are four new varieties of single-serve packs, Blumb said. Fresh Express is also introducing salad kids and a kale mix.
POTANDON PRODUCE: Potato giant Potandon Produce LLC is taking the big-picture view with its “Pile on the Produce” retail promotion that runs Aug. 19 through the end of September. In conjunction with a retail display contest, the promotion, the promotion is geared to build overall fresh produce consumption, says Ralph Schwartz, director of category management for the Idaho Falls, Idaho-based company. “The whole goal of it is to help whole category sales — drive overall produce sales with healthy eating,” he said. Retailers can go to klondikebrands.com and click the Pile on the Produce logo to get a sales kit delivered to them. Potandon has also developed eight-minute Merchandising 101 DVDs in recent months to help beginners in retail fresh produce departments.