(UPDATED COVERAGE, Oct. 13) ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Packer editorial staff gathered the following news items Oct. 3-5 on the show floor at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit 2009. This is the first of three parts.
Business updates from more booths have been added to this article.
Andrew & Williamson
Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, San Diego, showed off its new Limited Edition line — resealable pouches of grape tomatoes and cherry tomatoes.
The pouches come in three sizes: a 7-ounce snack pouch, a 1-pound pouch and, for club stores, a 2-pound pouch, and should be available year-round, said Mark Munger, vice president of marketing.
The tomatoes in the kickoff distribution of Limited Edition were conventionally grown, but the company plans to add pouches of organic tomatoes soon, Munger said.
The pouches require 60% less material to manufacture than do comparable sized clamshells, he said.
Apio Inc., Guadalupe, Calif., has added 12 flavors to its Eat Smart line, said Candice Blackmoore, director of marketing.
The new line has four varieties of under the names Simple Soups, Simple Salads, Simple Noodles, and Simple Melts, and come ready to eat with minimal cooking in plastic containers, Blackmoore said.
The new product will be available for nationwide in February, Blackmoore said.
BC Hot House
By next year, Vancouver, British Columbia-based BC Hot House expects to triple production of its Sweetcherry tomato, which it launched at Fresh Summit 2008.
The on-the-vine cherry tomato has extremely high brix levels of 8-10, said Harold Paivarinta, category director.
“It’s one of the sweetest cherries available,” Paivarinta said.
The tomato is available in a 9-by-9-ounce clamshell April through November, or a 10-pound carton in bulk.
B.C. Tree Fruits
The Kelowna, British Columbia-based company known for its marketing of the ambrosia variety of apple is planning to expand with another specialty variety.
Within the next five years, the B.C. Tree Fruits should have up to 75,000 cases of Nicola apples available, grown in the Okanagan Valley. The company is a grower-owned marketer of apples from Okanagan Tree Fruits.
“It’s a sweet, tart apple, bi-color and very nice looking,” said Maggie Peek, promotions manager. “And one of its unique characteristics is its exceptionally long stem.”
Since its recent purchase of Cato, N.Y.-based Zappala Farms LLC and its trademark Empire Sweets, Bland Farms developed new pack sizes for the trademark sweet onions.
Glennville, Ga.-based Bland Farms now offers empire sweets in 2-, 3- and 4-pound D-packs, in addition to the 5-, 10- and 40-pound packs that were available before.
“It’s just more versatility in what they can carry,” said Sarah Seebran, marketing manager.
Avocado giant Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif., has added long English cucumbers to its inventory.
The cucumbers are hydroponically grown in Mexico and cross into the U.S. via Nogales, Ariz., said Bibiana Bravo, marketing category manager.
From Nogales the cucumbers are forwarded to one of the company’s three distribution centers in New Jersey, Texas and California, she said, and are available to retailers nationwide.
The company plans to make the individually film-wrapped product available year-round and is considering multiple cucumber packs for club stores, Bravo said.
California Avocado Commission
California Avocado Commission, Irvine, Calif., has new information for retailers about the advantages of selling California avocados during the California season.
Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing, said the information on the commission’s Web site shows retailers how much more money they can generate in sales by carrying California avocados in season.
California Giant Berry Farms, Watsonville, Calif., plans to offer new clamshell sizes for its strawberries in the spring, said Jerry Moran, bush berry category manager.
The new clamshells hold 2 pounds of strawberries and are modified to allow six clamshells on every tray, two more than the company’s previous designed allowed, Moran said.
The new design means a 32% increase in the number of clamshells on every pallet, Moran said.
Carlson Airflow, Brooklyn Park, Minn., has developed new wave shelves and wall pods to work with its vertical display system.
“It gives produce excitement and movement in the department,” said Victor Robelet, president.
The displays allow for air flow behind produce displayed in them, as well as for consumers to pull product from it without ruining the display.
“Many retailers will put cardboard or clamshells back there (behind the product),” Robelet said. “What the cardboard does is completely block the air.”
The displays are made with an anodized aluminum perforated material.
“It’s a great shrink reducer,” Robelet said.
Canada’s Cavendish Produce, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, plans to offer a new line of microwaveable potatoes.
Marketed under the Steamers label, the potatoes will be available to retailers beginning Nov. 3, said Mike Halloran, regional manager for Ontario and Quebec. Distribution will be limited to eastern Canada and northeast U.S., he said.
Steamers are unpeeled and come in four versions: russets, reds, whites and a variety, Halloran said.
CHEP, Orlando, Fla., introduced a feature on its Portfolio Plus online tracking customer portal software. Tim Smith, vice president of new business development, said the new features add functionality and was the fourth update this year.
He said the feature allows grower-shippers using CHEP products to track their product easier and concentrate more on their core business.
Chilean Avocado Importers Assn.
For the first time, Chilean and Peruvian hass avocado grower-shipper-exporters are joining forces in their marketing efforts in Europe.
Peru oversaw the marketing in the United Kingdom and Spain from April to September while Chile is conducting the effort for the balance of the year, said Adolfo Ochagavia Vial, president of the Chilean Avocado Importers Association, Santiago.
With Peru’s growing export business, the combined volume of the two South American countries puts them among the major exporters of the fruit, said Carlos Enrique Camet Piccone, president of ProHass, Lima, the Peruvian exporters organization.
Chelan Fresh Marketing
Chelan Fresh is a sponsor for the Jan. 14-24 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Wash., said Terry Braithwaite, director of marketing for Chelan Fresh Marketing, Chelan, Wash.
In addition, Braithwaite said Chelan Fresh is in its first full year of marketing the GrannRose program. That program highlights the desirability of blush granny smith apples.
“We’re at high elevations and we get a lot of blush typically,” he said.
Braithwaite said a taste test conducted by Oregon State University found that most consumers preferred the taste of blush grannies over green grannies when given peeled slices of both.
In a DVD shown at the booth at Fresh Summit, the company also highlighted leading edge sustainability advances at the Gebbers Farm packinghouse, a supplier to Chelan Fresh.
Church Bros. LLC, Salinas, Calif., launched in September a line of snack packs that feature a generic label without a brand name, said Steve Church, vice president of operations.
The new snack packs contain five 1.6-ounce packs of carrots with ranch, or celery with peanut butter, for the company’s retail customers looking for ready-to-eat produce items that don’t carry a brand name.
Classic Salads LLC, Watsonville, Calif., is now offering a kale and chard blend for its Healthy Greens line, said Jennifer Osborne, director of sales.
The product started shipping in October and comes in 1-pound clamshells and 3-pound food service packs and are organic, Osborne said.
Mini Snacking Sweeties Bells are the newest addition to the Los Angeles-based Coast Produce Co.’s snacking line, said Emily Fragoso, marketing manager. The miniature bell peppers are “crunchy, sweet, delicious and hothouse-grown,” she said.
The line also includes Mini Snacking Cucumbers and several kinds of Snacking Tom Toms, including chocolate cherry, gold grape-shaped and baby heirloom.
Colorful Harvest LLC, Salinas, Calif., will ship hami melons for the first time beginning in late October, said Doug McFarland, marketing director.
The melons can be shipped to retail stores in four-, five-, six- or eight-counts, and can be shipped nationally, McFarland said.
Colorful Harvest also is expanding its strawberry program to Mexico, McFarland said, starting in November in 1-, 2- and 4-pound clamshells.
The company also is reintroducing avocados for the first time since 2004, he said. The avocados will carry the Green Giant brand, he said, and can ship in all case sizes.
Crunch Pak, Cashmere, Wash., has new snack products, 5-ounce apple, cheese and grapes snack packs, and apple, cheese and pretzel snack packs, said Tony Freytag, director of marketing.
Also available for retail, Crunch Pak is offering apple slices with caramel dip in smaller 2.5-ounce sizes, and apples and grapes in the same size, Freytag said.
Dandrea Produce Inc., Vineland, N.J. expects to market about 4 million cases of Spanish clementines this year, according to Ron Dandrea, principal with Dandrea Produce Inc., Buena, N.J.
The season will start in October and extend through January, The company’s first blueberry shipments from Argentina will arrive by Oct. 9, with the first ocean arrivals from Chile expected by about Dec. 1.
In addition, Dandrea expects to bring on about 3.8 million cartons of Chilean grapes in the 2009-10 season, up about 800,000 cases from last season.
DNE World Fruit Sales
DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, Fla., plans to kick off National Grapefruit Month in February by doing more cross-promotions with Ocean Spray, which sources DNE for its grapefruit juice products.
To help prepare retailers for the celebratory month and to highlight what DNE vice president of sales and marketing Mark Hanks called the time of “peak flavor” for Florida grapefruit, the cross-promotions involving coupons for free product will take place in January.
The company also displayed some new retail display bins at its booth at PMA Fresh Summit, including one bin targeting children and their parents with high-graphic display.
Domex Superfresh Growers
New in mid-October from Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, Wash., is a paper pulp punnet container to hold its tree fruit. Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager, said the company switched to the new recyclable container style from its plastic containers to be more environmentally friendly.
The company also moved from plastic bags to paper bags for the same reason for its bagged sizes. Queen said retailers can mix and match fruit in the bags to give consumer more purchase options.
Duda Farm Fresh Foods
Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., Oviedo, Fla., will have new carrot and celery snack bunches available by early November, said Tim Ross, eastern regional manager.
The 3-ounce snack packs come in bundles of four — two bags of peeled baby carrots and two bags of celery — and will be sold under the Dandy brand, Ross said.
Duda also has available cut, washed and trimmed radishes for retail and foodservice, Ross said, in 1- and 3-pound bags.
Eagle Eye Produce
A single, overwrapped, microwave-ready organic potato was introduced at Fresh Summit by Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Eagle Eye Produce Inc.
The potatoes, which are all organic russet burbanks, are called Organic Hot Potatoes, and the company just finished its harvest, said Sondria Reynolds, marketing and sales.
Robert Rosales was promoted to sales and transportation assistant for Pasco, Wash.-based Easterday Farms Produce Co.
Rosales had been in production for the company for two years before starting in sales, said Cody Easterday, owner.
Epic Roots LLC, Salinas, Calif., has added a mache salad blend to its lineup, said Catherine Baggott, director of marketing. The Boston Salad is the company’s newest addition and will be available in October for retail customers.
Epic Roots also redesigned the label on its mache salad Salade Verte to comply with Canadian standards, Baggott said. The company has both salad blends available in foodservice packs, Baggott said.
Just in time for football season, Los Angeles-based Fresh Gourmet Co. is introducing lightly salted Fresh Gourmet crispy jalapeños and crispy red peppers, said Brandon Steele, vice president of marketing.
The new products are much more than just crunchy salad toppers, Steele said. They’re made from fresh jalapeños and fresh red bell peppers and can be used to enhance potatoes, pizzas, burgers and other favorites.
The company is offering a special six-case promotional program called Get the Big Game Crunch to kick off the new products.
Frieda’s Inc., Los Angeles, has added purple snow peas to its retail produce lineup, said Hazel Kelly, public relations specialist. The purple snow peas started shipping in September and come in a 12-ounce overwrap tray or 10-pound bulk packs, Kelly said.
Hugh H. Branch
Harvest Fresh Snips green beans from Hugh H. Branch Inc., Pahokee, Fla., should go to retailers by mid-October, said Kiley Harper-Larsen, food safety director. The product is triple-washed and packed in modified-atmosphere 12- and 24-ounce bags, with other package sizes available on request, she said. They can be microwaved, steamed or boiled.
The product is produced by Rosemont Farms Corp., Boca Raton, Fla., and Americus Bean Co. Inc., Americus, Ga., which grow more than 50 items.
The growers control the process, from growing to packaging, which ensures a superior, more flavorful product, Harper-Larsen said.
I Love Produce
I Love Produce LLC, Kelton, Pa., has made its red and white peeled pearl onions available mostly in 10-pound jars to foodservice customers in the past, but now the company is offering them to supermarkets, said owner-president Jim Provost.
The upcoming holiday season is a good time for restaurants and retailers to add value to their offerings with peeled onions, he said. They will be available to supermarkets in 1-pound jars or overwrapped trays packed to order.
Imagination Farms, Indianapolis, unveiled its new grape cups under the Disney Garden label.
The 3.5-ounce cups come in four-cup packages, said Matthew Caito, chief executive officer.
Most of the grapes are from two Delano, California grower-shippers: Delano Farms Co. and Four Star Sales Inc., he said.
The debut of the grape cups comes as Imagination Farms marked distribution of the 800 millionth serving of fresh fruit for children, Caito said.
Ippolito Fruit & Produce
Ippolito International LP, Salinas, Calif., launched one-pound laminate, form-filled bags of microwaveable Queen Victoria brand brussels sprouts.
Packages have bilingual — French and English — labels and also are available in Vexar bags and clamshell containers, said Paul Mocettini, vice president of sales and marketing.