BOSTON — The New England Produce Council's annual Produce and Floral Expo packed plenty of new products on the show floor, from value-added convenience packs to foodservice offerings of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Packer's Eastern Editor Doug Ohlemeier attended the show, talking to exhibitors on the expo floor. He collected the following news from exhibitors.
Arrow Farms/Gold Bell/DiSilva
Arrow Farms Inc./Gold Bell Inc. and sister company DiSilva Fruit, Chelsea, Mass., has released 4- and 5-pound bags of white potatoes.
The California potatoes come in paper bags to minimize greening, said Joanne Cipriano Dolan, Gold Bell’s president.
Arrow Farms/Gold Bell is also offering 3-pound bags of apple and orange combinations. The bags include navel oranges and granny smith and red delicious apples.
Maurice A. Auerbach Inc., South Hackensack, N.J., is offering peeled garlic in 6-count 1-ounce packs. The vacuum sealed bags provide for better quality and shelf life, said Bruce Klein, marketing manager.
C&S Wholesale Grocers
The specialty packaging division of C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc., Keene, N.H., has expanded its line of packaged organic citrus and tropicals.
C&S offers 8-count 3-pack overwrap trays of navel oranges, lemons, avocados and kiwifruit, said Patch Sangkachand, the Hatfield, Mass.-based national category manager of organic produce.
Coosemans Retail Group, a part of Coosemans Worldwide Inc., Miami, has expanded its offerings with a line of retail bagged vegetables.
The microwaveable bags, marketed under the Crystal Valley Foods brand, offer extended shelf life, said Rick Durkin, Crystal Valley Foods’ director of business development.
French beans come in 8- and 16-ounce bags while the snow peas, sugar snap peas, English peas, baby carrots, baby squash and asparagus tips are available in 6-count, 8-ounce retail bags as well as in 8-count, 2-pound foodservice bags, Durkin said.
“These packs are great for food safety because no one touches the product at retail,” Durkin said.
Coosemans Retail Group is also offering traditional bags of washed snapped green beans in 2-count, 5-pound bags, with beans from Florida, Georgia, Virginia and Guatemala. Durkin said Coosemans responded to customer requests, first distributing the bagged beans last year and recently ramping up offerings, he said.
Durkin said retailers tell Coosemans the bags eliminate most shrink.
Miami-based Crystal Valley Foods is a separate company that sells bulk product to Coosemans, Durkin said.
East Coast Fresh Cuts
East Coast Fresh Cuts, the fresh-cut division of Savage, Md.-based Coastal Sunbelt Co. Inc., is introducing a Carolina-style salsa.
The salsas come in 1-pound cups and have 21-day shelf lives, said Ross Forca, East Coast Fresh Cuts’ president.
The company is introducing overwrap rainbow cauliflower and carrot packs. The microwaveable packs come in 12-ounce trays.
Infinite Herbs & Specialties, Miami, is releasing small clamshells of herbs.
The quarter-ounce package contains a variety of herbs such as thyme, lemon thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, opal basil, marjoram or chives.
Phillip Harlow, sales and marketing, said Infinite can custom pack any herbs in the smaller clamshells, which he said serves customers who may prefer to purchase smaller packs to avoid shrink.
The herbs are available in organic as well.
Mucci Pac Ltd., Kingsville, Ontario, now offers sun drop grape tomatoes.
The tomatoes come in 10.5- and 12-ounce clamshells.
Steve Zaccardi, senior account manager, said the tomatoes’ high brix offer a lot of sweetness.
Additionally, Mucci is marketing mini cucumbers. The smaller cucumbers are available in 8-count trays and 1.25-pound bags.
Mucci is expanding the marketing of the cucumbers which it previously sold to a select number of customers, Zaccardi said.
Nash Produce Co., Nashville, N.C., is offering microwaveable sweet potatoes.
Nash markets the shrink-wrapped 8-ounce minimum-sized sweet potatoes in 20-pound cartons as Mr. Yam.
The potatoes offer a new venue of comfort and convenience that appeal to a key demographic — 32-year-old mothers of two children shopping for nutritional foods, said Brandon Giddens, salesman.
Nash is a grower-shipper and fresh-cut processor.
Theresa Nolan, president of the Nolan Network, Plymouth, Mass., has begun merchandising summer citrus for Seald Sweet International, Vero Beach, Fla.
Nolan, who has been a retail merchandiser since 1987, said she has assembled a small group of merchandisers to spread the word about Seald Sweet’s citrus program.
“I wasn’t interested in doing more merchandising,” she said. “David Mixon (Seald Sweet’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer) pulled me in to help him. Seald Sweet is so different from years ago. It’s exciting to see what they’re doing.”
Nolan also merchandises for TransFresh, a division of Chiquita Brands International Inc., Cincinnati.
Supreme Cuts LLC, Mahwah, N.J., is introducing organic trimmed green beans.
The beans, which are washed and ready to eat, come in 6-count 10-ounce trays.
“People like to see things in clear plastic vs. bags,” said Merle Axelrod, president. “We hear a lot of that in the marketplace.”
Wayne E Bailey
Wayne E. Bailey Produce Co., Chadbourn, N.C., is launching a bagged sweet potato retail display stand.
The standalone display holds 12 24-ounce steamable sweet potato bags. Cartons contain the same capacity, said Ronnie Mercer, salesman.
Mercer said the display remains a big drawing card for retailers and highlights the sweet potatoes.