Brooks Tropicals packs papayas in new box

By April 28, Brooks Tropicals Inc., Homestead, Fla., plans to complete the changeover to a new box for its Caribbean red papayas.

Mary Ostlund, marketing director, said the new box is more environmentally friendly and stronger for the fruit.

“It’s special because it’s got a smaller top. So, overall we are using less corrugated paper,” she said. “It is actually a stronger box because it is a corner post box with a little triangle in every corner to boost the overall strength.”

Ciruli plans release of mango box, clamshell

A personal 5-pound box for mangoes and a four-pack clamshell are on tap for Ciruli Bros. LLC, Nogales, Ariz., this year. The two packages are expected to debut in April.

“Both of these new items have been created off of retail demand, so it’s just a matter of trying to meet what the market is looking for,” said Chris Ciruli, partner. “We are just trying to communicate more with our customers each year and bring it to market for them.”

New Limeco to enter new avocado markets

General manager Eddie Caram said New Limeco LLC, Princeton, Fla., has seen increased demand for Florida avocados and the company will be entering new markets this year.

“It has increased a lot,” Caram said of demand for the fruit, whose season begins in late May.

He also said a new information campaign includes nutritional data on the company’s Web site and PLUs describing how the green-skinned variety is lower in fat and calories than hass avocados.

Caram said New Limeco is also sending brochures out to chain stores to be used in product displays.

Organics Unlimited aims for Fair Trade certification

In an effort to jump on the social responsibility bandwagon, Organics Unlimited Inc., San Diego, is seeking Fair Trade certification.

The certification, which assures growers are paid a living wage for their produce despite what market conditions may be, is best known for coffee beans, but is expanding into fresh produce, said chief executive officer Mayra Velazquez de Leon of the company’s 10-15 loads of organic Mexican bananas per week.

RLB Food Distributors targets club stores

Convenience stores and club stores are the new target for RLB Food Distributors, West Caldwell, N.J.

“We have new independent stores that we are constantly bringing on as primary and secondary suppliers, too,” reported Jeff Shilling, vice president of procurement, citing the increased interest of tropicals in club stores as a growing trend.

Shilling said the company is expanding its base in an effort to maintain constant growth despite the sluggish economy.

Southern Specialties unveils lime bag

Southern Specialties Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., is looking to grow its tropicals line and recently launched a bag for its Paradise limes.

“On our radar, we are actually looking to grow, to increase our base in tropicals,” Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development, said of the Paradise label.

Eagle said the company also recently installed bagging equipment in its facility in order to offer Paradise limes in 2- and 3-pound mesh bags.

“The product will be available in 17 by 2-pound bags or 12 by 3-pound bags,” he said of the product launched at the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure conference. “It is a convenience for the consumer, and the club stores enjoy the 3-pound pack.”