All grown up

The Southeast Produce Council prepares for the Tenth anniversary of its Southern Exposure show.

The Southeast Produce Council (SEPC) promises exhibitors and attendees a Southern Exposure trade show to remember. Since its inception the show has more than doubled in size and SEPC officials say there will be nearly 250 members of the produce industry ready and excited to share their innovations. The one-day affair takes place on February 28 at the Caribe Royal Resort & Conference Center in Orlando, Fla.

Below is just a small sampling of what will be on display:

Crunch Pak, Booth #521
Crunch Pak, will feature two new products at Southern Exposure this year: FlavorZ and Salad Kitz. “It continues to be about innovation for us,” said Tony Freytag, vice president of sales and marketing for the Cashmere, Wash.-based company. “Southern Exposure is an opportunity to tell the industry what we’re doing to meet consumer demand for healthy, fresh convenient food.”

Crunch Pak’s FlavorZ are apples infused with a natural flavoring that results in another fruit flavor. The apples are infused after slicing which means the texture and appearance are not changed, says Freytag.

Crunch Pak’s Salad Kitz come in two versions: a Sweet and Creamy Tropical Salad that features diced sweet and tart apples, dried pineapple, mango, papaya, candied pecans with a creamy dressing and a Crunchy Creamy Waldorf Salad. www.crunchpak.com

Del Monte Fresh Produce, Booth #509
At Southern Exposure Del Monte Fresh Produce will reiterate its standing as a leading vertically integrated producer, marketer and distributor of whole and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables. Officials for the Coral Gables, Fla.-based company, say its commitment to quality and safety, combined with its sales department provides all of its customers consistently safe and premium products.

Officials add that food safety is a priority to Del Monte Fresh Produce and the company tries to maintain the highest food safety standards in its daily operation. Recently it has implemented a series of programs including water safety, field and packing facility sanitation, transportation cleaning and finished product testing to provide safe and wholesome products to all of its customers. www.freshdelmonte.com

Idaho Potato Commission, Booth #210
The Southern Exposure show coincides with the culmination of the Idaho Potato Commission’s (IPC) Idaho Potato Lover’s Month. Company officials will be available at SEPC to discuss Idaho Potato Lover’s Month, and to review the Retailer Support Guide, which was released in November. “One of the greatest benefits to retailers who work with the IPC is our proven ability to help boost sales in the overall produce department,” says Seth Pemsler, vice president of retail and international, for the Eagle, Idaho-based IPC.

“Whether it’s through promotions like our popular Idaho Potato Lover’s Month Display Contest or the one-on-one service our retail promotion directors give to each and every retailer, the IPC’s marketing programs and services are unmatched in the produce industry.”

For Idaho Potato Lover’s Month, the IPC has teamed up with Hormel Foods for its 22nd annual display contest. Retailers are encouraged to drive sales by creating an exciting product display with custom point-of-sale materials and recipes featuring Idaho Potatoes and Hormel Real Bacon Bits. www.idahopotato.com

Mann Packing Co., Booth #205
Mann Packing Co. will feature several of its washed and ready to eat fresh cut vegetable items at Southern Exposure. Elena Hernandez, marketing and communications specialist for the Salinas, Calif.-based company says that in addition to its Broccolini which is a naturally occurring hybrid cross between broccoli and Chinese Kale, Mann will also feature new lidless party trays as well as pre-cut butternut squash in a clamshell package and crinkle-cut sweet potato fries. www.veggiesmadeeasy.com

Ocean Mist Farms, Booth #422
Ocean Mist Farms will feature Brussels sprouts packages in 1-pound and 2-pound cello bags as well as a microwaveable bag. The microwavable Brussels sprouts bag is an extension of the Castroville, Calif.-based company’s micro-choke line that provides the user the option to open the bag and season the vegetables before microwaving.

“Brussels sprouts were an overwhelming hot topic with retailers last year,” says Kori Tuggle, director of marketing and business development. “Based on our recent meetings—they still are.”

Although the company grows more than 30 vegetables, the timing of the Southern Exposure show is in line for preparing and planning peak of spring artichoke season retail promotions. Ocean Mist will have its entire artichoke product line on display including the debut of its newest item, a single count microwavable artichoke bag. www.oceanmist.com

Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, Booth #516
“Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers will focus on two marketing programs that are meeting with excellent response at retail level, the kid friendly SnaQ program and the versatile U-Pick the Flavor program,” says Dan Wohlford, national marketing representative for the Wenatchee, Wash.-based grower.

The SnaQ program, which includes Apple SnaQ, Pear SnaQ and Cherry SnaQ, focus on kids being active and physically fit.  Wohlford says that cherries, in particular, are a healthy snack for kids and families to take along with them to fuel their healthy and active lifestyles.

Oneonta Starr Ranch’s U-Pick the Flavor program further allows retailers to showcase multiple varieties of apples or pears for consumers; “U-Pick the Flavor, allows retailers to pick the quantity and size of the fruit they want,” says Wohlford. www.Oneonta.com

Prime Time International, Booth #916
Prime Time International, grower and shipper of colored peppers, offers year-round availability of all peppers from eight distinct growing areas throughout California and Mexico. “This year’s expo will proudly feature the Prime Time mini sweet peppers which have become hugely popular with customers in the past year,” says Mike Aiton, director of marketing. “The small-sized beauties are conveniently packed in resealable 1- and 2-pound poly bags which contain an attractive mix of small sized red, yellow and orange peppers.”

Prime Time, based in Coachella, Calif., will feature a full array of red, green, yellow and orange peppers. All peppers, whether grown in a protected environment or in the field, are grown and picked under the constant supervision of the Prime Time cadre of trained produce professionals, say company officials. They are then graded, sorted, sized and packed in a state-of-the-art packing house. “Retailers can stop by and plan an effective and profitable promotion of these sweet mini peppers,” said Aiton. “They are fast becoming an integral part of the ever expanding pepper category.” www.primetimeproduce.com

Rainier Fruit Co., Booth #103
Lady Alice apples, one of two exclusive varieties offered by the Rainier Fruit Co., take center stage at the show. Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing, says production has increased since the Lady Alice introduction a few years ago as appeal with consumers has taken off. Rainier, based in Selah, Wash., supports each retailer’s Lady Alice program with multiple POS options, social media, demos and other customized promotional efforts.

Rainier will also display its newly designed organic apple and pear packaging, designed to assist consumers with organic product identification. As organic growth continues to surge, Wolter says Rainier Fruit has positioned itself to meet growing demand through an extensive organic mix available of apples, pears, cherries and blueberries.

Rainier Fruit is also participating in the Fuel Up to Play 60 marketing program. “Retailers can learn about a program with the potential to reach the next generation of shoppers by influencing life-long healthy eating habits through a promotion that brings together multiple store departments,” says Wolter. “They also have an opportunity to increase sales by reinforcing the education message to parents and students as they learn new behaviors about healthy eating.” www.rainierfruit.com

Shuman Produce, Booth #500
Shuman Produce will be sharing its full line of packaging and marketing programs designed to drive sweet onion sales for its retail partners with booth visitors.

“Southern Exposure is perfectly timed for sharing our new programs for Vidalia sweet onion season,” says John Shuman, president and director of sales for Shuman Produce, based in Reidsville, Ga. “This year, we’re thrilled to present the Sweet Vidalia Taste of Summer promotion in association with the Vidalia Onion Committee to bring together great cross-promotional marketing opportunities through a fully integrated campaign that’s set to become an annual event in the produce department.”

Highlighting the seasonality of summer produce, including Vidalia onions, the Taste of Summer program features an outdoor entertaining theme including events like barbecues, picnics and summer holiday gatherings. The campaign is designed to appeal to all demographics, build excitement in the produce department and drive sales throughout the season.

“Our own promotional programs will build upon the campaign, adding value through additional content and offers available only through the RealSweet brand. We invite retailers to visit our booth to learn more about these unique and innovative programs,” says Shuman. Shuman Produce’s staff will also be ready and available throughout the show to discuss how the Taste of Summer campaign, along with their own marketing programs, can make a difference in Vidalia sweet onion sales all season. www.realsweet.com

Wayne E. Bailey Produce Co., Booth #409
Wayne E. Bailey Produce Co.’s “convenience line” of sweet potato items has been streamlined under its George Foods label. These items include microwave steamer bags, individually wrapped microwavable’s, 4-pack trays and bagged sweet potatoes. George Wooten, president of the Chadbourn, N.C.-based company, says the brand aims to provide benefits to both consumers and retailers by providing easy brand recognition with cohesive display options within the produce department.

In addition to the George Foods label, Wayne E. Bailey Produce is the exclusive fresh sweet potato packer/shipper for Green Giant and supports the box tops for education program associated with Green Giant.

“Our main focus is to provide consumers the sweet potatoes they need for a healthy, delicious and enjoyable life,” says Wooten. “Today’s consumers are always seeking a more convenient way to purchase and prepare sweet potatoes and we are providing those solutions.” www.sweetpotatoes.com

Well-Pict Berries, Booth #310
Well-Pict’s full line of premium berries will be on display at Southern Exposure. Developed for size, taste, aroma and color; Well-Pict, based in Watsonville, Calif., offers proprietary strawberries year-round, in both conventional and organic lines, as well as an almost 12-month availability of proprietary conventional raspberries.

“It’s been a good winter season for Well-Pict’s strawberries, and availability from winter growing areas has shown an increase that should continue through March, when the spring harvest regions will be in full swing,” says Dan Crowley, sales manager. “So, there will be plenty of beautiful, sweet berries to show and sample at the SEPC Expo. Well-Pict staff will also be on hand to provide sales and handling information for retailers.”

Well-Pict’s proprietary varieties are bred to be sweeter and have a higher juice content than other commonly grown varieties, and the skin of the strawberry has integrity and good shelf life while still providing a “soft bite” rather than the firm crunch of many other varieties, adds Crowley.

Well-Pict offers packaging options for their proprietary strawberries and raspberries. Other options include 1- and 4-pound strawberry packs and 6- and 12-ounce raspberry packs. www.wellpict.com

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