GRAND JUNCTION, Mich. — Larger clamshells and breathable pouches rank among the packaging trends Michigan shippers are tapping into this year.
MBG Marketing expects to pack more Michigan blueberries in larger clamshells this year, said Kasey Kelley, director of business development-East for Salinas, Calif.-based Naturipe Farms LLC.
MBG is one of four partners in Naturipe.
“Retailers this year will have ample opportunities to promote in not only pints but also 18-ounce, 2-pound and 5-pound packs,” Kelley said.
“Customers look for (bigger packs) because they convey value.”
The “supply is there” in Michigan to fill the bigger packs, and retailers are calling for them, Kelley said.
Differentiation is one advantage the bigger packs have.
“It definitely sticks out against the pint.”
Naturipe has some new packaging designs in the works for blueberries, but Kelley couldn’t provide details on them.
Byron Center-based Van Solkema Produce has a new breathable, high-graphic pouch that can significantly extend the life of fresh vegetables, said Talbert Nething, sales manager.
The company also has added two packing machines for overwrapped products.
Nething said the trend in asparagus, squash, sweet corn and other vegetables is away from bulk and toward more packaged product.
Hudsonville-based Superior Sales is seeing a continued emphasis on environmentally conscious packaging options for Michigan produce, including growth in the use of dry boxes, said Todd DeWaard, the company’s sales manager.
“We’re going away from wax boxes, so the customer has a recyclable product,” he said.
“RPCs also continued to be pushed. We want to minimize waste as much as possible.”
Another trend at Superior is the use of wraps on the insides of boxes to help protect squash and other vulnerable vegetables, said salesman Jordan Vande Guchte.