In recent years, Tanimura & Antle decided to remove roots from its living product, in order to cut wasted space on the pallet and inside the package, McClean said.
“There is no the root or growing medium residue packed inside the clamshell, so (it is) close to 100% usable product for the consumer,” she said.
As a result, she said, the company can pack 35% more product per pallet than previously, when it packed with the roots.
McClean said that’s a benefit to the retailer.
Living produce is available all year, so supplies to the retail sector are steady and don’t have to travel far, said Daniel Terrault, vice president of business development with Mirabel, Quebec-based HydroSerre Mirabel Inc., which grows and ships hydroponic living lettuce to retailers in the East.
“For them, they can get supply 12 months a year from a local grower, which is pretty cool,” he said.
Most of HydroSerre Mirabel’s retail customers are within a five-hour drive of company’s greenhouses, Terrault said.
“That’s why we’re shipping to New York and Montreal and Quebec and Boston, and we’re trying to concentrate there,” he said.
Because they’re buying somewhat of a local product, retailers can adjust orders quickly, Terrault said.
“It’s the ease of doing business, being able to grow or cut their order,” he said.
The company ships about 23,000 boxes of a dozen lettuce heads a week, Terrault said.