LEAMINGTON, Ontario — The hottest trend in packaging this year seems to be more of it.
“The last few years, we’re doing a lot more packaged products,” said Chris Mastronardi, sales manager for Kingsville-based Double Diamond Acres Ltd.
Mastronardi said retailers are looking for greenhouse cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers in clamshells, plastic bags, flow wrapping and meat trays, especially.
“It’s nice for presentation, and a lot of people would like to buy packaged because of the perception that it hasn’t been touched by 50 different people,” Mastronardi said.
For Jem-D International, the trend seems to be headed toward bulk produce and eco-friendly packaging, said Kyle Moynahan, salesman.
Resealable, zipper bags are ideal for baby cucumbers because they allow for product storage without the cucumbers dehydrating, said Mark Slater, co-owner of Erie James Ltd.
“All of our retailers are in some type of package with this type of product,” Slater said. “A tray pack makes for nice presentation in store, but some prefer bags for consumers’ sakes,” Slater said.
For full-size cucumbers, English seedless cucumbers, James Cornies, president of Cornies Farms Ltd., Kingsville, said he’s seeing a lot of demand for a three-pack overwrap without a tray.
“Also, because people are a little tighter with their dollars, packaging helps decrease shrink at the store level,” said Ray Mason, salesman for Lakeside Produce.
Kingsville-based Mucci International Marketing Inc. was a finalist for the Produce Marketing Association’s Impact Award in October, recognized for new trays the company is using for its Bella Sweet mini peppers.
The trays are made from 100% recycled paper board, 65% post-consumer, and use a water-based ink.
The overwrap also is biodegradable, said Sandra Dick, marketing coordinator.
The company plans to use its new packaging for its complete product line, including sweet peppers, eggplant, mini cucumbers and Sapori branded tomatoes, said Joe Spano, sales manager.
The company’s calling the trays Envirotrays. To boost its consumer education, the bottoms of the trays come with tips, facts and recipe ideas.
“Retailers at one time were trying to stay away from packaged product, but now they’re looking for trays and clamshells,” Spano said. “And now they’re selling three cukes at a time instead of singles.”
For Mor Gro Farms Inc., the packaging trend is an especially good thing, as the company brought back its Smarty brand last year.
The brand had been in the family for more than 30 years but was out of use until 2009, said Dave Pereira, director of sales.