“The idea is you can put grapes or cherries in them, and they stand up on the display counter at the retailer,” he said.
Target Stores Corp. is a major customer for the pouch bags, Johnson said.
For clamshells, customers are looking for durability, said David Grice, sales and marketing agent at Houston-based FormTex Plastics.
“Growers and packinghouses are moving more to automation, with all the labor issues that we have, and they’re looking for much better-quality clamshells,” he said.
Another factor is weight.
“People are much more conscious about what you can actually pack into the clamshell —what the product weighs and what can actually pack into the clamshell, so when it gets to the retailer, it has the proper weight,” he said.
Aesthetics count for a lot, too, said Roger Pepperl, marketing director with Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers LLC.
"I think one of the trends we’re seeing up here is that some of the packaging — starting in boxes — we’re getting better process that produces better-looking boxes for similar money,” he said.
Packaging has to be tailored for preferences for convenient products, said Elena Hernandez, marketing and communication specialist with Mann Packing Co. Inc., Salinas, Calif.
“Meeting consumer needs in the prepared vegetable category is critical,” Hernandez said.
Mann Packing studied sales and consumer tendencies and found sales of value-added snacking vegetables increased 7.8% in the 52 weeks ending April 30, 2011, Hernandez said.