“It’s been working well,” Pereira said. “I don’t know what it is about the packaging, but it gave a different air to where we send product.”
Carl Mastronardi, president of Del Fresco Produce, Kingsville, said retailers he works with are demanding biodegradable, more earth-friendly packaging.
“They want the stuff that breaks down quickly, that doesn’t pollute,” Carl Mastronardi said. “But some of the stuff just falls apart. It’s not perfected yet.”
Carl Mastronardi said his company is keeping a close eye on sustainable packaging all the time, so that it can find the best products to meet its customers’ demands.
Slater said retailers like Wal-Mart tend to prefer private label options.
“We’re doing more specialty packs and private label for retail,” said Dino Dilaudo, sales manager for Westmoreland Sales. “It’s seen to be an expanding area.”
Retailers including Meijer, Loblaws and Kroger tend to prefer private label packs for their businesses because it allows for more uniformity on the shelf, Dilaudo said.
“More and more companies are coming to us looking for us to do their private label,” Dilaudo said. “They can control the product and put it into their own packs.”
Lakeside Produce works with Loblaws, as well as other retailers, on private-label products, said Tom Coufal, salesman.
Overall, though, Dilaudo said the North American market seems to be moving toward a more heavily packaged produce department.
“We’re seeing more interest in packed items,” Dilaudo said. “It’s definitely a growing area for our business.”
The interest is in specialty packages, different packages, Dilaudo said.
“Like three-pack rainbow peppers in a bag,” Dilaudo said.
Specialty packaging has been an area of growth during the past couple of years for Westmoreland, Dilaudo said.
“If you look at the European market, retail is heavily packaged,” Dilaudo said. “It’s different from the North American market, but I think it’s going that way.”
Part of the reason is the perception of quality and of food safety, he said.
“You’re also able to gain incremental sales by packaging product and selling more,” Dilaudo said.