Nuts, Dates & Dried Fruit business updates

09/21/2012 12:28:00 PM
Cynthia David

Atlas Produce revamps date packs

Bakersfield, Calif.-based Atlas Produce and Distribution Inc., which specializes in California-grown medjool dates, has introduced greener packaging.

Marketing coordinator Kyra Dykes said the clear clamshells for the Caramel Naturel brand are processed using 65% less energy.

They can also be recycled more often into other uses such as food containers, Dykes said.

Grown in the Coachella Valley, Caramel Naturel medjools, golden dates and deglet noors, which are now available pitted, appear at retail, club stores, specialty food stores and foodservice throughout North America.

Sales of medjools have increased steadily over the past three years, Dykes said. Date almond rolls and coconut rolls, made fresh to order, are also gaining in popularity.

Atlas unveiled a website devoted to its Caramel Naturel line, part of a new social media strategy to engage consumers.

The Caramel Naturel line is now a licensed member of the Buy California Marketing Agreement, better known as the California Grown marketing campaign.

Georgia pecan group mulls grower fees

The biggest challenge in promoting products is getting enough money to do it, marketing boards agree.

“It takes money to get the word out there,” said J.W. Christiansen, a pecan grower and consultant to the Nut Tree Pecan Co. in Albany, Ga.

“We’re beginning a campaign to have a referendum next year to see if growers will approve another half cent, which would give us 1 cent a pound,” said Christiansen, who is a board member of the Atlanta-based Georgia Pecan Commission.

“It will give us more dollars, but it won’t really give us much more buying power than when we started out,” he said.

“Whatever you do as far as TV and magazines go, when you start sending people to other countries to promote your product, it’s all expensive,” Christiansen said.

Since 1995, the commission has assessed all growers with 30 acres or more a half cent per pound, with two-thirds going to promotion and one-third to research.

Ocean Spray opens Canada location

Kristen Borsari, director of marketing for North America, said Lakeville, Mass.-based Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. is opening a cranberry receiving station in Richmond, British Columbia, with a capacity of 100 million pounds a year, a 50% increase in capacity.

“It will be a more convenient way for growers in the Richmond area to deliver their fruit and allow us to get it ready to go into our food and beverage plant,” Borsari said.


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