Produce Powerhouse

PMA Fresh Summit is fast approaching. The industry is poised to put its best foot forward, displaying products and promotional programs.

Southern california will be soon blooming with more than just produce. The industry’s growers, marketers, retailers and buyers from across the country—and around the world—will be invading the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) 2012 Fresh Summit located in Anaheim with one question in mind… “What’s new?”

According to Bryan Silbermann, president and CEO of PMA, based in Newark, Del., the most noticeable change to the show will be the physical format. In response to attendees’ suggestions, PMA has cut the exposition down to two days but extended the hours and moved all the educational seminars to take place on one day. “It creates a much cleaner differentiation between the educational elements and the expo,” says Silbermann.

With more than 1,000 exhibitors, retailers have a lot of ground to cover. Below Grocery Headquarters has compiled a list of exhibitors that have something new to check out.

Bland Farms

Bland Farms will be showcasing its Breast Cancer Research Foundation retail promotion. The promotion will appear in stores throughout October along with Peruvian sweet onions. Greg Smith, marketing communications manager for the Glennville Ga.-based grower, packer and shipper of sweet onions, says Bland Farms will continue to make a strong effort going forward to regularly educate customers on the sweet onion category. “We understand the positive impact that in-store promotions have on our customers’ bottom line and we plan to discuss what we can offer for the upcoming year,” he adds.

CF Fresh
The “fresh” in CF Fresh describes more than just the grower’s fruit. CF Fresh will debut a new look for its booth that carries the same graphical design and logo that retailers are familiar with through the Sedro-Woolley, Wash.-based company’s merchandising tools. “It looks a lot cooler,” says Addie Pobst, import coordinator. “We are excited to put on our new party face and get out there.”

According to officials at CF Fresh, the harvest is looking on par with past years. “It looks like we are going to have apples and pears at levels consistent to the last two years, and we are looking towards our year round program kicking off in February and March,” says Pobst.

Chilean Avocado Importers Association
The Chilean Avocado Importers Association (CAIA) marks the new crop year and its 10th year of existence with a fresh new logo emblazing its PMA booth and materials. “The strategy behind this updated version of the logo was to elevate the country of origin by highlighting the personality of Chile and the seasonality of the product,” says Maggie Bezart, director of marketing for the Washington, D.C.-based company. The booth will feature samples of CAIA’s 2011 culinary student recipe contest winning dish, Chilean Hass Avocado Crème brûlée with Walnut Crust, served by chef/creator Emme Ribeiro from Seattle. AvoDogs will also be served to celebrate the fall/winter seasonality of avocados from Chile.

Classic Salads
Two organic clamshell salads from Classic Salads will make their debut at the Fresh Summit: Baby Kale and Super Mix Superfood. Organically grown in the U.S. both products are healthy superfoods with rich dark leaves, packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium and potassium, say company officials. Baby Kale is the popular Lacinato variety, harvested at a young and tender age for perfect bite-size salad use, says John Burge, vice president of sales and marketing for the Watsonville, Calif.-based company; while the Super Mix is a nutritious blend of Baby Kale, Baby Spinach, Baby Chards and Beet Tops. Both are available in a 5- and 10-ounce clamshell package.

Columbia Marketing International (CMI)
Officials at Columbia Marketing International (CMI), based in Wenatchee, Wash., are excited to debut its pouch bags. The line includes a 2-pound Daisy Girl bag, 2-pound Ambrosia bag and the 2-pound KIKU Need an U pouch bags, which will all bring the price point down to be comparable to other 3-pound bags of mainline apples. Complementing the bags are POS materials including a KIKU R Shipper, which has a new look and ships with tote bags, and an Ambrosia shipper and tote bags.

Also new this fall is the Culinary Center, an online community for consumers to be able to enjoy fresh new recipes, simple snacks, craft ideas for kids and take advantage of healthy activities.

Del Monte Fresh Produce

Del Monte Fresh Produce will be showcasing its new Fresh Hass Avocado 2-ounce 4-pack, a ready-to-eat and preservative-free avocado product. Del Monte Fresh Hass Avocado Pulp recently received the Superior Taste Award with the maximum three stars from the International Taste and Quality Institute. Showgoers can also check out the Coral Gables, Fla.-based company’s premium quality whole and fresh cut fruits and vegetables.

Dole Berries
Dole Berries will debut its Brainberries line of premium, pre-washed blueberries in individual snack packs. The line will be available this fall in two sizes of single-serving snack packs, each filled with fresh, pre-washed premium Dole blueberries: 1.2-ounce bags in a 5-pack clamshell or 2.6-ounce bags in an 8-pack clamshell.

Dole is leveraging the blueberry’s status as a rising star—and one of the fastest-growing items in the produce section—as part of a long-term expansion of its berry business, which also includes blackberries, raspberries and strawberries, say officials at Dole Berries, based in Monterey, Calif.

Dole Fresh Fruit
Dole Fresh Fruit will be showcasing the Yonanas banana frozen dessert maker, sampling an array of Yonanas treats made with Dole bananas and its other fresh fruits. The dessert maker, which makes low-cost, healthy frozen treats in just minutes, is part of Dole’s ongoing commitment to reducing waste and addressing the No.1 complaint by banana lovers: having to throw away over-ripe fruit, say company officials at the Westlake Village, Calif.-based company. Dole’s new FreshPack banana ripening technology, launched earlier this year, and its year long Go Bananas Every Day initiative, are also contributing to this goal and helping retailers increase banana sales and reduce shrinkage.

Dole Fresh Vegetables
This fall, Dole Fresh Vegetables, based in Monterey, Calif., rolls out its latest “Salad’tude” initiative. The promotion will send the country’s most expressive salad lovers to the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, Calif., to help them hone their salad-making skills and tap into their Salad’tude—the emotions that are expressed through salad. Launched in September, the Dole Salad’tude Contest continues through October with Clinton Kelly, star of TLC’s What Not to Wear and ABC’s The Chew.

Duda Farm Fresh Foods
There will be a celebration going on at Duda Fresh Farms booth—a Celery Celebration. Dandy Celery Celebrations, the Oviedo, Fla.-based company’s new line of packaged whole and fresh-cut celery, will be in stores during the holidays only and quantities are limited.
“Duda Farm Fresh Foods has tailored its celery packaging design to encompass the spirit of the holiday season featuring eye-catching graphics and valuable information that speaks to the consumer at the point of purchase, while keeping the product fully visible,” says Nichole Towell, director of marketing.

Fresherized Foods, Wholly Guacamole
Wholly Guacamole is giving guacamole a kick—a kick of ranch. Offered in a 100-calorie snack pack format, the Avocado Ranch dip capitalizes on the success of ranch. The Avocado Ranch 100-calorie packs will be available in January with a suggested retail price of $1.99 to $2.99 for a 3-pack and $3.99 to $5.29 for a 6-pack.

Available later this year is Wholly Guacamole Homestyle, a take on restaurant-style guacamole. “Wholly Guacamole Homestyle really rounds out our lineup of guacamole flavors. Our classic and spicy flavors are favorites, but the Homestyle recipe is chunkier and has tomatoes and Serrano peppers included in the recipe,” says Tracey Altman, vice president of marketing for Saginaw, Texas-based Fresherized Foods, owner of Wholly Guacamole. The 7- and 14-ounce packages have a suggested retail price of $1.99 to $2.99 and $3.99 to $5.2, respectively.

The Garlic Co.
The Garlic Co. will have its serving-size, vacuum-packed garlic front and center, but the talk will be about the packaging. Available with whole peeled garlic cloves or diced garlic, the product is becoming a popular item for private label, says John Duffus, vice president of sales.

“We have had the most success with private label, so it is exciting to see retailers interested in it,” says Duffus. “There isn’t a lot of brand recognition in the produce department; often consumers will see private label and figure if the store puts its brand on it, it must be good.” The Bakersfield, Calif.-based company offers its entire line of garlic products in private label.

Gourmet Trading Co.
Gourmet Trading Co. will be showing its support for education with its Green Giant Fresh Blueberries and Bagged Asparagus featuring Box Tops for Education. Increased packaging of asparagus has allowed the company to participate in the program, say company officials.

Retailers can also check out the Los Angeles-based company’s 1-pound tri-color bagged asparagus. “It gives consumers the chance to try all three colors of asparagus while increasing shelf life,” says Chloé Varennes, marketing and packaging administrator.

Grimmway Farms
Grimmway Farms is attempting to innovate the carrot category with Simply Delicious Carrot Creations. The side dish is made with fresh petite carrots, offered in two varieties—Roasted Garlic & Savory Herb and Honey, Brown Sugar & Cinnamon—that contain a flavored buttery dollop that once heated, becomes a sauce. The Bakersfield, Calif.-based grower is focused on growing the carrot category through innovation and its upcoming social media driven carrot campaign. “This commitment to the carrot category is just another way Grimmway is assisting retailers with top line growth,” says Bob Borda, vice president of marketing.

HBF International
A story more than 30 years in the making, Hurst’s Berry Farm is a year-round source for fresh berries, including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and more. Retailers at PMA can check out the Sheridan, Ore.-based company’s newly packaged Northwest Cranberries. “With farms in Oregon, Washington, California, Chile, Canada and Mexico, we can provide retailers and consumers with unique, specialty berries, such as kiwi berries, gooseberries and currants,” say the company’s owners.

Hollandia Produce
Hollandia Produce’s new organically certified living Butter Lettuce has uncompromised quality and uniformity, says Vincent E. Choate, director of marketing for the Carpinteria, Calif.-based company. CCOF certified organic, it is grown in a naturally rich environment on the central coast of California by third-generation grower Pete Overgaag with time tested cultural techniques passed down through the generations. Utilizing only NOP- and OMRI-approved fertilizers and pest control methods, it is all-natural and available year-round. “Each delectable head of lettuce is harvested with its roots intact and packed at its peak of perfection,” says Choate.

Idaho-E. Oregon Onion Committee
Showgoers looking for a party ought walk over to the Idaho-E. Oregon Onion Committee (IEOOC) booth. There they will find a football themed tailgate promotion featuring Weber grills and accessories. Sherise Jones, marketing directorfor the Parma, Idaho-based committee, says food will be created by the IEOOC’s executive chef, Nick Duncan and they will be giving away football related promotion items. There will also be drawing for larger prizes including a large Weber gas grill.

“The committee will use PMA to share all the promotions available to retailers and onion buyers this season,” says Jones. That includes an in-store sweepstakes giveaway and new POS material for display.

Idaho Potato Commission
Idaho Potatoes will be hard to miss at this year’s Fresh Summit. There will be a 12,000-pound russet parked outside the Marriott. The Fresh Summit is the last stop on the Idaho Potato Commission’s (IPC) Famous Idaho Potato Truck’s seven-month cross-country tour. After the show it will return to Idaho—but only for the winter; there will be a second tour next spring, IPC officials say.

Attendees can check out highlights from the tour at the Eagle, Idaho-based IPC’s booth and the IPC-sponsored relaxation lounge—both of which will carry the truck theme. The relaxation lounge will offer coffee in the morning, a mashed potato bar in the afternoon and a video reel of everything happening with the truck.

Inline Plastics Corp.
Inline Plastics Corp. Safe-T-Fresh line of products now includes 12-ounce grab-and-go snack cups. The snack cups are designed to lock in freshness, extend shelf life and are available with either flat or dome clamshell lids. Designed to fit most automobile cup holders, officials for the Shelton, Conn-based company say typical applications include fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, bakery items, yogurt, parfait and a variety of snack goods.
The clear design promotes attractive product merchandising that highlights the quality of its contents. The perimeter seal closure of the container provides increased product shelf life, improved leak resistance and better protection of its contents.

Intelligent Global Pooling Systems (iGPS)
iGPS officials will be talking about the advantages of its plastic pallets. “They are lighter than wood, making them easier to handle and less expensive to ship, and 100% recyclable,” says Rex Lowe, president of the Orlando, Fla-based company.

He adds other key attributes include safety and hygiene. “iGPS offers the world’s only multi-use platform that has received Food Equipment Certification from NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization that certifies products and writes standards for food, water and consumer goods to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment,” says Lowe, adding that they are immune to insect contamination, do not absorb pathogens or harmful bacteria and can be easily sanitized by washing before re-use.

For the past year Limoneira has been working on a new campaign called “Unleashing The Natural Power Of Lemons” for retailers, food service and wholesale accounts. Take away cards and POS materials with QR codes are available to help to educate consumers about the versatility of the product. When the QR codes are scanned consumers are linked to a wide variety of unique uses lemons.

“Everyone knows that lemon is a great ingredient and recipe enhancer,” says John Carter, director of global sales, “But we want to demonstrate that lemons are really so much more. They have many uses for health, lifestyle, beauty and cleaning.”

The Santa Paula, Calif.-based company is also introducing a 1-pound stand-up, resealableand recyclable, zip lock bag with sweet Meyer Lemons. In addition to these new bags, new retail displays will be available at retail for the holidays and into the New Year.

Mariani Nut Co.
Mariani Nut Co. offers a full-line of retail packaging options that allow produce managers to decide what is best for their customers. Product-wise, the seasoned almond line joins whole, natural, sliced and blanched-slivered almonds, shelled and chopped walnuts, and shelled and chopped pecans, now available in clear and foil packaging options. All bags feature zip-lock closures to maintain freshness. The Winters, Calif.-based company also offers display and merchandising support.

As both a grower and processor, Mariani’s strategy of vertical integration allows it to control the product from the orchard to the customer, says Matt Mariani, who oversees sales and marketing. “This enables Mariani to uphold its commitments to retail partners when it comes to product availability and service.”

Ocean Mist Farms
Ocean Mist Farms invites retailers to visit its booth to discuss 2012 holiday retail promotional planning ideas within the cooking vegetable category. As a year-round grower of fresh Brussels sprouts, Ocean Mist Farms will debut new Brussels sprout packs in time to support the peak of cooking vegetable sales season. The Castroville, Calif.-based company’s new Microwavable SteamFast is a PMA Impact Packaging Award finalist, noted for the ability to pre-season the sprouts prior to cooking, say company officials.

Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers
Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers aims to deliver a positive message with every one of its campaigns, whether it be: “This is crunch time…taste it,” “Pear the taste” or “Eat + play the healthy way.” The grower’s most recent play on words has a striking fresh appearance, say officials for the Wenatchee, Wash.-based company. Whether customers prefer conventional or organic they offer a full menu of apple and pear varieties this fall with “U-Pick the flavors.” Newly designed bins and tote bags will reflect this message.

Rainier Fruit Co.
Rainier Fruit Co.’s Junami brand apples will debut at PMA. Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing, says the apples were launched this past January in select markets to “an overwhelmingly positive consumer and retail response.” Wolter says Rainier has North American exclusivity on Junami apples, which is a cross between Maigold, IdaRed and Elsta apples and developed in Switzerland.

This fall, Rainier, based in Selah, Wash., is debuting organic and conventional packaging. “The organic packaging was designed to clearly identify for consumers that the product within is organic,” says Wolter. “The conventional design will be carried through to all of our supporting packaging and POS material with a very colorful, direct-from-farm appeal for consumers.”

Stemilt Growers
Stemilt Growers has added a new flavor and display piece to its Lil Snappers line of kid-sized bagged apples and pears for PMA. Bartlett pears are now available in resealable 3-pound bags. “This item is perfect for today’s busy parents as they try to feed their children healthy foods during the busy back-to-school time,” says Roger Pepperl, marketing director for the Wenatchee, Wash.-based company.

To help retailers merchandise this and other Lil Snappers flavors, Stemilt created a new lama display. The one-piece display ships flat and unfolds quickly into an eye-catching and freestanding display, says Pepperl. The graphics on the Lama follow the same fun design from existing Lil Snappers packaging, with the addition of a hot air balloon that an apple and pear “snapper” ride in. The lama also features a QR code that takes shoppers to a mobile website where they can access kid-friendly recipes and activity/coloring sheets.

Sunlight International Sales
Sunlight International, the marketing arm of Jakov P. Dulcich & Sons, is a distributor of California Premium Table Grapes. With its acreage of multiple varieties of table grapes, Sunlight offers a large line of red, green and black varietals to retailers and consumers. The Delano, Calif.-based company merchandises under the Pretty Lady brand. Featured this year is the newest theme, Pretty Lady for the Summer and last year’s rollout, Pretty Lady for the Holidays. It also added the Harvest Hobgoblin brand for Halloween and fall promotions.

Sunrise Growers ~ Frozsun Foods
Sunrise Growers ~ Frozsun Foods has created all fruit smoothies in a number of flavors—strawberry-banana, triple berry, mango-citrus—and is introducing a tropical blend and antioxidant blend. The all-natural smoothies contain double the fruit of other brands, are high in antioxidant vitamin C, contain no added sugar and are less than 160 calories per serving. They are also easy and convenient, says Christine Herrera, vice president of marketing for the Placentia, Calif.-based company. “Just open the pouch, add water, blend and enjoy. Sunrise Growers ~ Frozsun Foods is the No. 1 processor and marketer of frozen fruit in the U.S.A., and a leading supplier of fresh strawberries. The company is vertically integrated and harvests their fresh berries at the peak of perfection.”

Village Farms
Village Farms is ramping up production for the Heavenly Villagio Marzano for 2013 after receiving a better than anticipated response and a sold out season. Sold in grab and go bags, the Eatontown, N.J.-based grower will feature a new 10-ounce bag in addition to its 1-pound bag.

Part of Village Farms Olde World Flavor collection, Heavenly Villagio Marzano “has the authentic tomato flavor experience that is highly desirable but generally lacking in many varieties on the market today,” says Helen L. Aquino, marketing manager. “This is what we hear over and over again from consumers Heavenly Villagio Marzano has that Garden Fresh Flavor they remember.”

The Heavenly Villagio Marzan is a Mini San Marzano tomato originating in Europe that is sold exclusively by Village Farms.

Wish Farms
This year, Wish Farms is celebrating 90 years of being in business. Third generation and family-owned, company officials say they pride themselves on upholding the core values that set the foundation for the company: Quality, Integrity and Responsiveness. Based in Plant City, Fla., Wish Farms is a year-round supplier, shipping more than 5-million flats of strawberries, 6-million pounds of blueberries and 1-million packages of vegetables a year.
The company recently launched an improved website that includes a recipe catalog, an updated blog and several other features geared towards building relationships with consumers and fans.

Well•Pict Berries
Since its establishment in 1969, Well•Pict Berries has grown and shipped 100% proprietary, premium berries that are naturally developed for superior size, taste, aroma and color, say officials. The full line of fresh berries includes conventional and organic strawberries, as well as conventional raspberries. Well•Pict raspberries are grown from May through October, while its strawberries are available year-round.

“Shoppers that eat with their eyes first will return for more of our Well•Pict berries once they take that first bite,” says Dan Crowley, sales manager for the Watsonville, Calif.-based grower.

Wholesum Family Farms
Wholesum Family Farms will feature a new line up of organic recipes to complement its organic product line, which includes tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, mangoes, squash and zucchini. The entire Mexican product line became fair trade certified in 2012. In addition, the Nogales, Ariz.-based grower will be publicizing the grand opening of its state-of-the-art greenhouse facility in Amado, Ariz., which will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 10.   

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