Northern exposure

Produce exhibitors at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association annual event had lots to show attendees. 

Eager to bring their products to a growing and apparently extremely sophisticated Canadian market, a number of produce companies attended the annual Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s trade show in Vancouver in April. The event attracted about 6,000 attendees, visiting more than 100 booths.

“The Canadian market is growing and Canadian consumers are known for being a bit more selective than their American counterparts,” said one supplier at the event. “We know we have to be on top of our game to get into this marketplace, and we do want to. It is pretty special.”

Here is a sampling of what some of the exhibitors were offering at the show.

LA62702LOGOParamount promotes grapefruit
The grapefruit category may not be the hottest produce segment around, but officials at Paramount Citrus think that the right product can still make a difference at retail. The Delano, Calif.-based company introduced Sweet Scarletts Texas red grapefruit. Currently rolling out in the Midwest, it will be available in Canada in 2015.

“The grapefruit category has been in decline for years,” said Scott Owen, vice president of sales and marketing. “But it is still a core part of the citrus category and, frankly, it is a wonderful fruit. It is time to get ready for the next generation. Sweet Scarletts is a naturally sweet grapefruit that does not need any added sugar. It contains 100% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C in half a grapefruit.”

Sweet Scarletts will be available in 5- and 8-pound bags and a bulk 40-pound box, Owen says.

Bland expands its reach
Already know for its Vidalia onion products, Bland Farms is moving deeper into the snack food market and condiment business. The Glennville, Ga.-based company’s Vidalia Brands snack food line includes: Sweet Onion Petals in Original and Zesty Ranch, Sweet Potato Fries and Kettle Cooked Potato Chips in two flavors, Sweet Onion and Sweet Onion & Barbecue.

The snacks are available in 3.5-ounce packages and have a suggested retail price range between $2.49 and $2.99.

Bland Farms now has 15 products in its condiment line, including the newest introductions: Caesar Dressing and Hibachi White Sauce. Other products in the line include Sweet Onion Creamy, Honey Mustard, Raspberry and Balsamic dressings, as well as Blossom Sauce. Suggested retail prices run between $2.89 and $4.

“The Vidalia onion is so popular with consumers that we believe many of these items can play off that popularity,” said Delbart Bland, president. “Consumers recognize our name and know the quality of our products. This is an opportunity to get them to try a quality item and get them to come back time and time again.”

Rainier’s new pouch bag
Officials at the Rainier Fruit Co. want to help retailers make it easier for consumers to pick up apples at supermarkets. The Selah, Wash.-based company is offering a stand-up mesh pouch that contains 45% less plastic than other standard poly pouch bags and can highlight the variety of apple contained inside.

According to Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing, Rainier has the exclusive marketing rights for several types of apples, including the Lady Alice, Junami and Honeycrisp varieties. The company is the co-marketer of other varieties, including the Jazz and Pink Lady types.

“We think the mesh pouch is a great way to help consumers recognize these varieties and should help retailers command a premium price at their stores,” said Wolter. The apples are available in 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-pound pouches.

Watermelon board gets patriotic
The National Watermelon Promotion Board is tying together the 200th anniversary of the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner, the U.S. national anthem, with National Watermelon Month in July. The promotion will include a retail display contest and will encourage consumers to submit watermelon carvings.

“Our goal is to give retailers more material to work with to promote the purchasing of watermelons in their stores,” said Gordon Hunt, director of marketing for the Orlando-based association. “Also, we want to do all we can to educate retailers on why they should sell more watermelons and how to sell watermelons, not to mention reasons for consumers to purchase watermelons.”

Hunt added that 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the National Watermelon Association, the 50th anniversary of the National Watermelon Queen competition and the 25th anniversary of the Watermelon Promotion Board.

140228_Spiker_Cherries_2301Chelan’s cherry bowl
Chelan Fresh Marketing is distributing Cup O’ Cherries, a convenience item designed to allow consumers to eat cherries out of one compartment and spit the pits into a separate compartment. According to Mac Riggan, director of marketing for the Chelan, Wash.-based company, there are 26 cherries in each 8-ounce cup. It has a suggested retail price range between $4.99 and $5.99.

“The key here is that there is absolutely no mess with this product,” Riggan said. “These are stem-free cherries which means that they can be consumed anywhere. It is also great for kids.”

Two new apples a day for CMI
CMI is importing two unique brands of apples to the U.S. The Wenatchee, Wash.-based company is importing Kiku and Ambrosia apples from New Zealand, according to Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing.

“Right now we are the only ones that have Kiku apples and it is the sweetest apple grown today,” Lutz said. “The Ambrosia apples have a very loyal following and is also a great apple. By carrying these two brands, retailers will have the opportunity to get consumers to trade up on their apple purchases. We find that consumers are quite willing to pay more for a more flavorable apple. That will result in bigger rings for retailers and more profits.”

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