Consumers of value-added look for convenience, quality - The Packer

Consumers of value-added look for convenience, quality

03/12/2010 10:57:00 AM
Susie Cable

“If you drop the quality, the value proposition evaporates,” she said.

Salinas, Calif.-based Mann Packing Co. aims to make it simpler for consumers to eat vegetables regularly, said Elena Hernandez, marketing coordinator. It seeks to provide convenient, time-saving, high quality fresh-cut vegetables.

Its line of fresh-cut vegetables in microwaveable bags, for example, enables consumers to steam healthful vegetables quickly and easily.

With the economic recession, time savers can be even more important for people who are working long hours to provide for their families, said Ed Sullivan, chief marketing officer for Pero Family Farms Food Co. LLC, Delray Beach, Fla.

“With two family members working, the convenience factor is even greater,” Sullivan said. “They need quick food solutions.”

Some shippers offer coupons and other deals to make fresh-cut items an even better deal. For example, Mann plans this year to offer instant coupons on fresh-cut sweet potatoes and butternut squash, Hernandez said.

“Many Americans are struggling financially, so adding value where we can helps their pocketbooks and their health,” she said.

Lower total cost

Another way to look at the value provided by fresh-cut items is by assessing the total cost of buying the same items in bulk and preparing them at home.

Fresh-cut salads can help consumers save money on their overall costs, even though per-unit costs might be higher.

With Pero’s Salad CutUps, which are 6.5-7.5 ounces of fresh-cut salad ingredients, a consumer can save money by buying just the amount that’s needed, Sullivan said.

Although Sullivan said the retail price of a Salad CutUps package is not yet set, he said it would be “dramatically less expensive” to buy it instead of buying each of the ingredients and preparing them at home.

Earthbound Farm’s Organic Mixed Baby Greens salad, which is available for retail in 5-ounce clamshells and 4-ounce bags, can contain as many as 12 types of greens.

“Think about how you would assemble one of these salads,” said Steve Koran, senior director of retail sales and customer service for Earthbound Farm. “You’d have to buy an enormous amount of ingredients.”

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