A Spring Showcase

Retailers are looking north to see what is blooming for spring produce.

Spring represents different things for produce growers. For some it means the beginning of their season, accompanied by the excitement of a bountiful harvest. Others are hitting the drawing board, developing campaigns in preparation for a summer or fall crop.

One commonality, however, is that growers and retailers alike are heading north to kick off the season at two of the industry’s favorite trade shows—the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) Annual Convention & Trade Show in Calgary, Alberta, on April 11-13, and the New England Produce Council (NEPC) Produce and Flower Expo on April 25 in Foxboro, Mass.

Grocery Headquarters compiled a list of highlights that are worth a visit in both the CPMA and the NEPC the exhibitor halls.


Del Monte Fresh Produce
Del Monte Fresh Produce’s Gold Extra Sweet Pineapple and MAG Melon will be at both shows. Both items are available as whole produce and as part of the fresh-cut solutions for on-the-go consumers. The remainder of Del Monte’s produce offerings will also be on display. “Our continued commitment to innovation and entry into new channels will help to introduce fresh produce to outlets where they were previously not available and drive consumption to new levels, which in turn helps promote produce purchases from retail, says Dionysios Christou, vice president of marketing. www.delmonte.com

Fresherized Foods
In addition to new packaging for its Wholly Salsa line, Fresherized Foods will debut five new salsa varieties at NEPC. Roasted Red  Tomato, Avocado Verde, Guacamole with Spicy Pico de Gallo and two fruit salsas, Red Pepper Mango and Pineapple Salsa, join Wholly’s current mild, medium and hot salsa flavors.

Attendees at CPMA can check out Wholly Guacamole’s tomato-based salsas and the repackaged Guacamole with Pico de Gallo Wholly Salsa. “Our research has showed that consumers are using salsa as a dinner sauce so our new salsas are focused on meeting that need,” says Jay Alley, vice president of sales. www.eatwholly.com

Idaho Potato Commission
The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) will be directing people to over 500 recipes on its website with Quick Response (QR) codes. The codes will be featured on Idaho potato packaging and other POS materials. At the beginning of the year the IPC received the rights to include the American Heart Association Heart-Check mark on its packaging and other marketing materials. “It reinforces potato’s nutritional benefit,” says Seth Pemsler, vice president retailer/international. The IPC also offers market data through its Fealess Field Force. www.idahopotato.com

National Watermelon Promotion Board
The National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) will be a must-stop for CPMA and NEPC attendees who want to meet the Queen. The National Watermelon Queen. Not only will she be at the shows discussing product varieties and marketing opportunities with interested retailers, the NWPB’s national queen and the eight state queens are available for in-store promotions. “At both shows we will be featuring our new promotional materials and programs, including the July Watermelon Display Contest,” says Gordon Hunt, director of marketing and communications. www.watermelon.org

Village Farms
Heavenly Villagio Marzano, an authentic Mini San Marzano tomato will be center stage at the Village Farms’ booth. Packaged in a grab-and-go stand-up pouch with a zippered top featuring the grower’s new branding, this exclusive variety is the latest to join the company’s offerings of tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers.

The company recently trademarked the variety names of some of its produce offerings, such as Luscious Seedless Long English cucumbers and Scrumptious Mini cucumbers, as part of their Taste The Name strategy brainchild of Village Farms marketing team headed up by Douglas Kling, the grower’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. The new names were created to depict the flavor profile of the products so consumers will know what  they taste like. www.villagefarms.com

Chelan Fresh
The Chelan Fresh current offering of Disney-themed produce packages marketed to children will be on display. Company officials add that there are new Disney promotions in the works. “A Disney package immediately translates trust and value,” says Mac Riggan, vice president of marketing.

With cherry season coming up, Chelan will also be showing its cherry bins designed for retailers to build secondary displays for cross-merchandising opportunities. www.chelanfresh.com

Intelligent Global Pooling Systems (iGPS) and Intelleflex are teaming up to provide growers/shippers with a cost-effective platform for pallet-level temperature monitoring. According to officials at iGPS, the solution combines the durability and functionality of iGPS’ pallet design with the power of Intelleflex wireless temperature monitoring tags.
The benefits include pallet-level temperature monitoring of perishables in-transit with on-demand information for real-time decision-making; FEFO (First Expired, First Out) inventory management to reduce shrink and optimize the shelf-life of perishable foods; and reusable plastic pallets built with sustainable recyclable and re-moldable materials. www.igps.net; www.intelleflex.com

Well-Pict Berries

Well-Pict Berries will be sampling its proprietary strawberries. Retailers can also find out more about their latest varieties, including the company’s latest raspberry variety, #2933, which produces larger, more flavorful berries, say company officials. All of Well-Pict’s berries are available 12 months of the year in a variety of package options, including one-, two- and four-pound clamshells for strawberries and six- and 12-ounce packs of raspberries. www.wellpict.com


Gourmet Trading Co.
The Gourmet Trading Co. (GTC) will be sharing its peeled white asparagus (packaged to extend shelf life) with its Canadian customers. GTC will also feature its Superblue blueberries. This year’s Superblues will be packed in different weights than normal blueberries to allow retailers to sell them at similar price points as the clamshells of regular blueberries, says Julia Inestroza, marketing director. “We feel that this change will allow more customers to experience these truly amazing Superblues.” www.gourmettrading.net

CF Fresh

It’s a good show for CF Fresh, says Matt Roberts, sales and marketing coordinator. “It comes at a time when we have a pretty strong market presence [in Canada] already. They are looking for product at this time.” Product is what they will have—a variety of apples and pears from South America, including a new variety called Durondeau. “It’s a European variety that our growers have been growing for a few years and sent this way for us to try,” says Roberts. www.vivatierra.com

Rainier Fruit Co.

There is a new lady in town—Rainier Fruit Co.’s Lady Alice apple variety. “By Mid April we’ll be winding up our season so our primary goal will be to introduce Lady Alice to those not familiar with it,” says Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing. “The consumer response has been excellent so far.” Joining Lady Alice, Rainier will be showing its organic fruit, late season Honeycrisp Apples and discussing expectations for its cherry and blueberry seasons. www.rainierfruit.com


Bland Farms

Bland Farms’ booth will be packed with all things Vidalia, including its collection of dressings, sauces and seasonings. New to the brand is a header package available in two-, three- and four-pound sizes. “We are working to strengthen relationships with our customer base by creating unique sales and growth opportunities within the sweet onion category,” says Sarah Seebran, marketing director. “These products are created by the retail sweet onion experts at our farm in collaboration with merchandising professionals specific to meet our customers’ needs.” www.blandfarms.com

Shuman Produce
Shuman Produce’s booth will be full of its RealSweet Vidalia Sweet Onions, but its redesigned bag will be getting all the attention. Complete with bright colors and graphics, recipe suggestions and a QR code, the bag was introduced last year and was a finalist for PMA’s Packaging Impact Award at the 2011 Fresh Summit. Shuman is also debuting videos of its celebrity chefs, Chef and the Fat Man, preparing RealSweet recipes. They will be available through the growers’ mobile page, social media pages and new website. www.realsweet.com

Classic Salads
Classic Salads will be showing its line of Fresh Organic Gourmet Salads, including three new varieties—Romaine Salad, Hearts of Romaine and Italian Salad. Sold under the Classic Salads brand and as private label, the line features 11 varieties packaged in a distinctive clamshell and five varieties also available in bulk. There will be an ad campaign supporting both shows. “Our new Organic Romaine Blends in clamshells offer three of the most popular traditional salad blend flavors, now updated for today’s consumer,” says John Burge, vice president of sales and marketing. www.classicsalads.com

Check out more companies at: A Spring Showcase… continued

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