Little is larger at Pure Hot House Foods Inc. where sales of bite-size snacking tomatoes are soaring while beefsteaks and tomatoes on the vine have plateaued.
“The growth area is definitely in our snacking line,” said Matt Mastronardi, vice president of sales and marketing for the Leamington, Ontario, greenhouse growing and shipping operation.
Retailers have seen consumers continue to buy more of the Pure Flavor brand snacking tomatoes and are willing to give the tiny toms more space in the produce aisle.
However, some packaging doesn’t make that an easy task, especially with various racks and other certain other display units.
“We’ve developed a new clamshell to fit consumers’ on-the-go lifestyles yet make display easier for our retail partners,” Mastronardi said.
The clamshells are scheduled to be introduced this spring when the 2014 harvest begins in the Ontario greenhouses. Mastronardi said they stack easily on vertical racks and will also fit into salad racks that have been added to the produce aisle in recent years.
“They will give retailers more flexibility,” Mastronardi said.
Also this spring, Pure Hot House Foods will be in full promotion mode with its Bumbles, the most recent addition to its snacking tomato line.
The grape tomatoes’ name is a takeoff of bumblebees and draws attention to their bright yellow color, said Sarah Pau, marketing assistant.
Other products in the Pure Flavor snacking line include Juno Bites, which are red grape tomatoes, and Sangria Medley, which is a selection of flavors and colors.
Rounding out the snacking line is the Azuca cherry tomato, also packaged in the new clamshells for this season.
Catering to consumers
Also new this spring are redesigned labels for Pure Flavor products. Pau said all products will have rotating recipes on their labels to help consumers find more ways to consume fresh vegetables.
The labels will also have quick-response codes to provide additional information.
“Many people don’t understand yet what mini peppers are and how to use them,” Pau said.
“Our brand goal is to be innovative and our new labels will help consumers be innovative at home.”
The Pure Hot House greenhouse is growing along with the demand of snacking tomatoes.
Mastronardi said that after a recent grower expansion in Ontario, Pure Flavor will add 20% more production to its tomato on the vine capacity for the 2014 growing season in Canada.
The company has been systematically adding acres under high-tech glass during the past few years, with new acres coming into production each season.