California kiwifruit has a new look this fall, packed in high-graphic pouches and bags.
“The clamshell is still front and center, but we’ve got artwork for a handle bag with a quick-response code and recipes which we may show at PMA (the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2013, Oct. 18-20 in New Orleans),” said Jason Bushong, division manager for Wenatchee, Wash.-based Giumarra Wenatchee, a division of Los Angeles-based The Giumarra Cos.
Madera, Calif.-based Stellar Distributing Inc.’s new Kiwi Kids grab-and-go bags are already popular, said salesman Brian Lapin.
“We started mid-Chile with a few pallets and people seem to like them,” Lapin said.
Stellar is aiming the 11-ounce bags and 1-pound pouches at moms shopping in retail stores.
“Maybe they have kids with them who’ll see the bag and want them,” Lapin said.
Bags and cardboard fruit shippers are also useful to promote the message that kiwifruit are known for their health benefits, he said.
Stellar offers a 1-kilogram bag with the same kid-friendly graphics, and Lapin said the grower-shipper’s regular 1-pound bag remains popular, though he doesn’t see any of them replacing clamshells any time soon.
“I think people who buy clamshells still buy them, and people who buy bags still buy bags,” he said.
Clamshells come in a wide array of sizes these days, one for every customer. At the club store level, the 4-pound clamshell of kiwifruit is doing well, Bushong said.
Chris Kragie, import and deciduous sales manager for Madera, Calif.-based Western Fresh Marketing, is promoting his 1-pound Krazie Kiwi bags.
He’s also excited about the 150% increase in his Costco program since last year, when he began supplying the club store with 4-pound clamshells of California kiwifruit.
“The more we can keep it grown in the U.S. for Costco, the happier our growers are,” Kragie said.
Steve Woodyear-Smith, tropicals category director for Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group, says Oppy’s new 1-pound grab-and-go handle bag is gathering steam for both organic and conventional kiwifruit.
Doug Phillips, owner and president of Visalia, Calif.-based Phillips Farms, said he doesn’t see bags taking over, but the pouch bag he uses for his mandarins “might be something to look at” for kiwifruit.
For ease in filling and handling, however, he said nothing beats the 20-pound bulk box.