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Ashley Nickle

NORTH BAY: Berry category manager Michael Girardin, saleswoman Sarah Yancho and production and market manager Ryan Lockman stand next to one of the newest products for Traverse City, Mich.-based North Bay Produce. The ready-to-eat packaging for blueberries has been in development for years and will be released in the next few months.
The company also has a new value-added vegetable line that launched in August and includes items like French beans, snow peas, Brussels sprouts and zucchini.

packer
Ashley Nickle

NORTH SHORE: Chris Wada, marketing manager for Thermal, Calif.-based North Shore Living, talks about the company’s recent rebrand. North Shore was showcasing its new logo and packaging as well as a smaller size of its potted products. Those have been doing well, Wada said.
“There’s something intimidating, potentially, with the consumer around herbs, and so something smaller is in some cases more agreeable, potentially less food waste, all sorts of things,” Wada said.
The company will also be launching a new website soon, and it is designed to cater to both buyers and consumers.

packer
Ashley Nickle

PERO: Scott Seddon, brand manager for Delray Beach, Fla.-based Pero Family Farms, holds one of the newest products for the company, riced cauliflower. Pero rolled out that item, riced broccoli and a riced vegetable medley about two months ago. 
So far the reception has been positive.
“Everybody wants it,” Seddon said. “Everybody wants to eat healthy and they want to cut carbs out and calories and stuff, so this is a really healthy, easy way to do it.”
The company also has a new line of organic vegetable side dishes and reported a strong reception for those products as well.
“All the retailers are hearing from their consumers they want more choices in that organic category, and there really isn’t that many ready-to-go organic choices, so it’s been a good welcoming for us,” Seddon said.

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Ashley Nickle

PETE’S LIVING GREENS: Baltazar Garcia, regional sales manager for Carpinteria, Calif.-based Pete’s Living Greens, showcases one of the company’s newest products, Living Strips. The company describes the items as “home harvest packs” because consumers can open the top portion of the package, which is separate from the portion containing the rooots, and cut only the product they need, leaving the rest to stay fresh in the refrigerator. Living Strips launched a few months ago.
 

packer
Ashley Nickle

SEALD SWEET: Kim Flores, marketing director at Vero Beach, Fla.-based Seald Sweet International, and Scott Kosnik, account executive and commodity manager, talk with booth visitors about the company’s new facility and the beginning of its new vegetable program.
Seald Sweet used the new 152,000-square-foot facility in Swedesboro, N.J., for the first time this summer.
“We’re hoping that we will be able to use that facility to be a better value to our customers as a partner and being able to do things like value-added packing and consolidation and forward distribution, things like that, especially in that area, which is so densely concentrated with population,” Flores said.
Kosnick said the new vegetable program will include squash, cucumbers and tomatoes.

packer
Ashley Nickle

TWIST-EASE: Twist-Ease director of sales Dave Oman, Insignia vice president of retail development Brandon Dvorak and Twist-Ease owner and president Jim Helseth showcase a product they have recently partnered on, freshAds. 
With this product, companies can use the space on a Twist-Ease dispenser in the produce department as a place to advertise.
“The whole strategy is, with center store declines, how do you take advantage of the traffic and trips within produce?” Dvorak said.
The companies piloted the program with Albertsons and Safeway earlier this year.
“They were super excited about the results that they were seeing from their sales, and the brands were loving the positive experience they were having as well,” Dvorak said. “In a world where digital is kind of the shiny penny from a marketing perspective, we still strongly believe that in-store is the most valuable dollar that you can spend because it’s a conversion opportunity.”

packer
Ashley Nickle

VEGGIE NOODLE CO.: Mason Arnold, founder of Austin, Texas-based Veggie Noodle Co., shows off two of the company’s newest items, riced cauliflower and riced broccoli. Those products will launch in December.
The company has also been offering seasonal varieties of vegetable noodles, including white sweet potato, golden beet, purple sweet potato and watermelon radish. Veggie Noodle Co. is developing more seasonal items for spring now.

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Ashley Nickle

VIDALIA ONION COMMITTEE: Bob Stafford, interim executive director of the Vidalia Onion Committee, introduces the organization’s new logo and overall look to booth visitors. He reported the reception has been positive.
“The new branding has been good for us,” Stafford said. “We’ve kind of taken another direction, kind of putting a little spice into it.”
As the Vidalia trademark hits the 25-year mark, the organization wants to communicate that a Vidalia is not just a generic sweet onion, and the group wants to reach consumers with that message along with buyers.
The catchphrase of the new campaign is “Only Vidalia.”

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Ashley Nickle

WELL-PICT: Dan Crowley, vice president of sales and marketing for Watsonville, Calif.-based Well-Pict, holds the company’s new 18-ounce package for raspberries. The company was also discussing its recently launched Berry Academy, an effort geared at educating retailers about its proprietary varieties.
“Our berries, they’re juicier, they’re sweeter, they tend to have a little bit more give to them, so we’re saying just open up the spec by a few points, and it’ll move right through the system and the category will grow, and they see 100% success rate with that,” Crowley said. “It’s an education process.”
 

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Ashley Nickle

WISH: Nick Wishnatzki and Amber Maloney, members of the marketing staff for Plant City, Fla.-based Wish Farms, stand by the company’s berry display. The company highlighted its raspberries, which complete its berry program and make Wish a one-stop shop for the fruit.
“It’s a really big deal for us,” said Maloney, director of marketing. “We’ve been year-round in strawberries and blueberries for a while now, we added blackberries last October, and now we wanted to complete the berry patch. 
“We’ve done it with raspberries, and we’re really excited,” Maloney said.
The company was also displaying its Take Two package, which holds a pair of one-pound clamshells. The basket-like package and the clamshell have different universal product codes, so retailers could quickly convert two-pound packs to one-pound packs if desired.

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