Bigger and kid-friendly are among the packaging trends in the Chilean fruit export industry.

Josh Leichter, general manager of Reedley, Calif.-based Pacific Trellis Fruit LLC, said the company would push its new Going Ape grape bag during the 2012-13 season.

The brand will be featured on bags and clamshells, Leichter said.

“It’s a high-graphic, kid-friendly label that catches customers’ eyes,” he said.

More retailers are experimenting with selling grapes in clamshells, but it’s still a small part of overall volumes, Leichter said.

“People who traditionally are in bags are looking to experiment with clamshells, maybe bi- or tri-color packs,” he said.

Stand-up bags

Pacific Trellis also will pack more Chilean grapes this season in stand-up polypropylene bags, Leichter said.

The company will offer the bags in random and fixed-weight configurations.

Tom Tjerandsen, managing director for North America for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, Sonoma, Calif., also notes a trend toward larger packs, with more Chilean blueberries, for instance, winding up in 8- or 16-ounce packs as opposed to 4.4-ouncers.

That reflects overall produce industry trends, he said.

“Packages tend to be the same as those offered during the summer months.”

Stand-up bags also will play a bigger role in grape packaging for Nathel International, Pittsgrove, N.J., said Paul Newstead, director and vice president of sales and marketing.

“It presents so well,” he said. “It’s a very attractive bag, and a real value vs. zipped (bags).”

More and more retailers are requesting stand-ups, Newstead said — and some have said they’ll soon start requiring them.

“I haven’t met one (retailer) who said he wouldn’t take it,” he said.

Stand-ups do cost more, but not much more — particularly considering the added value, Newstead said.

Michael Schiro, berry and clementine category manager for Jac Vandenberg Inc., Yonkers, N.Y., said his company expects to sell both 6-ounce clamshells and pints of Chilean blueberries in December.

About Jan. 1, the balance will shift to pints, though Vandenberg still will offer 6-ouncers to customers who want them, Schiro said.

“The last couple of years, pints have been the focus in January and the first half of February, when we have peak volumes,” he said.

Vandenberg also will sell some 18- and 24-ounce blueberry packs, but the majority of those are sold on a pre-program basis, Schiro said.