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.
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.”