Companies find success with expanded product lines - The Packer

Companies find success with expanded product lines

03/12/2010 11:37:00 AM
Susie Cable

Fresh-cut and value-added shippers find that offering a wide array of products helps them appeal to retailers.

With retailers streamlining their vendor structures, it makes sense to diversify and offer a broad range of items, said Tony Freytag, marketing director for Crunch Pak, Cashmere, Wash.

“A retailer can come to us and get everything from Disney Foodles to bigger packs of sliced apples, to Snackers with pretzels or grapes and meal replacements that are great for lunch,” Freytag said.

To make its line more diverse, Crunch Pak is rolling out its first apple-free product: baby carrots.

In January, the baby carrots debuted at Wal-Mart Supercenters in clamshells containing five 2-ounce bags of carrots with ranch dip. They retail for about $3.49-3.99, Freytag said.

By Feb. 22, the carrots were in about 1,500 Supercenters. Crunch Pak plans to expand distribution to its other customers, and Supervalu and Kroger were expected to receive shipments soon.

Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International is test marketing a new product called Fresh & Ready avocados, which use Landec Corp.’s technology to extend shelf life, said Ed Loyd, Chiquita’s manager of corporate communications and investor relations.

Chiquita To Go bananas, which were test-marketed in 2006 and are now sold in coffee shops and convenience stores, also use Landec technology to keep ripe bananas fresh.

Loyd said  that Fresh & Ready avocados should soon be available throughout the U.S., but he didn’t give an exact date.

Chiquita also offers value-added apples, apple and grape bites and pineapple bites as quick and healthful snacks.

Pero Family Farms Food Co. LLC, Delray Beach, Fla., entered the fresh-cut business in January with a soft launch of several varieties of Salad Cut-Ups salad toppings and Steamy Cuts fresh-cut vegetables in microwaveable bags.

Pero is a major bell pepper grower, so bell peppers are featured prominently in its fresh-cut line.

Among the five varieties of fresh-cut salad toppings are Tuscan (green and red bell peppers, garbanzo beans, cabbage and onions) and Garden (green bell peppers, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, red onions and carrots). The packs weigh 6.5-7.5 ounces.

Pero is not ready to release retail prices yet, said Ed Sullivan, chief marketing officer.

In addition to the five in the soft launch, the company has several other varieties of Salad CutUps in the works, but those will come out after Pero has a chance to analyze market data.

The Steamy Cuts line includes cut red and green bell peppers, cut green bell peppers with onions (a premium mix includes red, yellow or orange bell peppers), and conventional and organic snipped green beans.

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