Monte Package Co. has a new line of pouches and has beefed up its roster of wax-alternative boxes.
Riverside, Mich.-based Monte Package’s new grab-and-go pouch bags feature flat bottoms, handles and a clear film that allows consumers to see exactly what they’re getting, said Sam Monte, the company’s director of operations, who joined his family’s company full-time in late 2013, making him the fourth generation to help lead the company.
“Over the past 24 months, they’ve become a very popular option for retailers,” Monte said. “They’re used for pears, apples, tomatoes — really everything.”
Monte Package’s “stock bags,” as Monte calls the new pouches, are designed to meet retailers’ changing needs as the season progresses, Monte said. In the spring they can hold one item, in the summer another and in the fall something else again, he said.
In designing the line, Monte Package wanted the fruits or vegetables inside the bag to be the real star, Monte said.
“One of the most important things we hear is that consumers want to see the actual produce,” he said.
“It’s one thing to have a nice picture, but to see what you’re actually bringing home is very important.”
Changes in how people buy their fruits and vegetables also make marketers think differently about how to package them, Monte said.
“Grocery stores are feeling more pressure from farm markets and farm stands,” he said.
“You have to show consumers that you have quality, fresh produce.”
Asparagus has been a popular fit for the new Monte Package pouches thus far this season, and peaches, okra and green beans are just a few of the items retailers have said they’re excited to see them used for later this summer, Monte said.
The bags come in three sizes — small, medium and large. The small bag is a perfect fit for cherries and other small fruit.
The large is a perfect fit for a six-count pepper pack, among other uses, Monte said.
The pouches are durable, resealable and made with high-clarity film with vents for breathability, Monte said.
Wax alternative expands
Also new at Monte Package, the company’s line of wax-alternative corrugated cardboard boxes has been expanded.
Introduced last year, the line provides a middle-ground alternative between waxed on one end and conventional corrugated on the other, Monte said.
“It’s been very retail-driven,” he said.
“Over the past five years, the cost of wax boxes has risen year after year.”
In addition, Monte said, new regulations have made it more expensive for retailers to properly dispose of wax boxes.
Monte Package’s boxes, a collaborative effort with Interstate Container’s Greencoat line of boxes, have a moisture-resistant coating that doesn’t use wax.
For 2014, the company has rolled out a full line of sizes that includes half-bushel, ¾-bushel, 1 1/9-bushel and a 1 3/8-bushel or “cabbage” box.