“In some areas you have people (who) are looking for value, and watermelon is one of the best values out there,” he said.
How much the fresh-cut category grows depends on various factors, including the caprices of nature, said Brent Harrison, president of Al Harrison Produce Co., a Nogales, Ariz.-based grower-shipper.
“Fresh-cut is a growing part of our industry. We know that,” he said. “They have strict specifications and we understand that. There are problems throughout the year because of weather-related issues that affect quality, but all in all I see that business growing.”
Manteca, Calif.-based watermelon grower-shipper George Perry & Sons Inc. sells whole melons to processors, said Art Perry, chief executive officer.
“It’s moving more and more each year,” he said.
New varieties are playing an important role in the fresh-cut area, Harrison said.
“If you can get a melon to a cutter’s door, that melon’s going to be great at retail also in shelf life and so forth,” he said.