“That program can work for anybody,” Friedman said. “Some want high margins with lower volumes, some will take the high volumes with lower margins. It’s up to the retailer.”
While packaging adds cost to items, it also offers advantages. Inestroza said there is a move toward more bagged asparagus, which is easier to merchandise and keep fresh. Bags can eliminate the need for moist trays and some bags extend shelf life. Gourmet Trading bags custom packs with private labels or with multiple colors of asparagus.
In January, Gourmet Trading added a second flow wrap machine for bagging with StePac Xtend films. Several other packers said they used similar machines.
“We think asparagus has a great future in overwrapped trays,” Hallows said.
Mission Produce offers breathable bags, overwrapped trays and bulk asparagus.