Tomapure has launched what it believes is a new segment for the retail market: washed, ready-to-eat whole fruits and vegetables protected from contamination.

Tomapure poised to move forward with ready-to-eat whole produce

Courtesy Tomapure

Groupe Tomapure, Laval, Quebec, tested its red seedless grape bags in Quebec stores and schools last year. The company also packs product in 10-ounce biodegradable clamshells, says Daniel Larivee, president.

Tested last year in independent Quebec stores and in school snack programs, Tomapure’s 3-ounce bags of grape tomatoes and Fruitpure red seedless grapes are enclosed in the same clear micro-perforated film used in the company’s foodservice packaging.

The product is also available in 10-ounce biodegradable clamshells with a film stretched across the inside to protect the product from germ-laden hands even if the clamshell is opened.

“Time-pressed consumers can buy my product and eat it or put it directly into a salad without washing,” said Larivee, who’s negotiating with major chains to carry the new line in Quebec and Ontario. “It’s truly ready to eat.”

The products recently won a prestigious Grand Prix Gaia award from Quebec’s agrifood industry.

Larivee is also packing washed baby carrots that won’t turn white since they’re not washed in chlorine, and he’s researching single-serve pitted cherries.

In the future, he’s considering whole washed apples and other selected produce that a gas station or vending machine customer might pick up over a chocolate bar.

“We’ve got the product and the packaging and we’re washing with the best practices possible,” he said. “I’m confident there’s room in the retail market for these products.”