United Fresh 2011: Notes from the show floor

05/10/2011 02:15:00 PM
The Packer Staff

NEW ORLEANS — With about 250 booths on the expo show floor, United Fresh 2011 attendees were busy checking out new products and meeting with potential business partners.

Members of The Packer editorial staff gathered these news items from the show floor at United Fresh 2011:

A&B Packing Equipment

The latest generation of packing machines from A&B Packing Equipment, Hartford, Mich., is such a hit with customers that the demonstration model destined for the show floor had to be diverted to a blueberry grower in Georgia so he could begin harvest.

“It was four hours away from the show and we had to divert it,” sales manager Mark Peery said of the latest model, which has been available for about eight months.

The “Evolution” cup filler was a nominee for one of the United Fresh 2011 product awards. Peery said it can handle a variety of sizes of containers, ranging from 4 ounces to 2 pounds. It works particularly well with fresh berries and tomatoes, he said.

The Evolution can handle up to 180 cups per minute. The new model is more accurate when measuring weight, which translates into more money because growers are not “giving away product,” which can happen with machines that have less sensitive scales, Peery said.

Andrew & Williamson

Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, San Diego, offers more packaging options now for its retail customers, said Mark Munger, vice president of marketing.

Six years ago, the company offered just one stock-keeping unit for roma tomatoes, but now it offers 22. Munger said this has been popular for retailers’ private label programs.

He also said the company now packs the Baja Classic line, which is a value line for retailers looking for a lower price point on less than No.1 grade product.

Apio

Apio Inc., Guadalupe, Calif., introduced its new Clearly Fresh consumer bags in the past month. The bags are available for consumers to order at apioinc.com, but the company plans to offer them in retail stores soon, said Cali Tanguay, director of technology and business development.

The bags come 10 in a pack and promise to extend the life of fresh fruits and vegetables up to 50% longer once consumers get them home, because of Apio's BreatheWay technology.

Tanguay said they are reusable, but they can't be washed without compromising the BreatheWay technology. She said they can be reused longer by product that doesn't degrade as completely. She expected them to retail in the $3.99-4.99 range.


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