In the Midwest, retailers are responding to demand and expanding their own fresh-cut product lines. Whether supplying product to fresh-cut processors or implementing their own processing program (on the premises or elsewhere), receivers are stepping up to deliver whatever is needed.
For the Maglio Companies, melons are a hot ticket item. “Our fresh-cut operations consider melons to be a very strong commodity,” Sam Maglio, Jr., president of the Maglio Companies, Milwaukee, WI, so the company developed the ReadyRipe bag, which holds a quarter-slice of watermelon.
“The bag gives extended shelf life and cleaner ‘no drip’ packaging, which saves the retailer substantial packing time,” he says. “The consumer benefits from a convenient carry handle and a reusable zippered pouch which fits in the refrigerator at home.”
Maglio mentions another major trend: juicing.
“We’ve also worked extensively in the fresh juice arena, both organic and conventional. With our own high-pressure-processing equipment, we’re able to produce cold-pressed juice and pasteurize it without adding any heat or destroying any nutrients.”
Store redesigns and available space are putting some pressure on receivers too. One impact relates to their stock in trade — emphasizing changes in fresh offerings.
“The retail product mix and store layouts are attracting a more diverse, more quickly changing set of produce items,” says Daniel Corsaro, director of sales and marketing at Indianapolis Fruit Company. This means providing a mix of products at all times, which sometimes mean scrambling for short supply.
Carkoski says the Twin Cities market was ripe for his company’s new line of organic fresh-cut products. “The biggest part of our Earthgrown fresh-cut label is Earthgrown Organic. Last year we had 12 to 18 SKUs, and this August we have about 60 organic fresh cut SKUs we’re pushing out to retailers,” he says. “There aren’t a lot of people cutting organic produce yet, and it’s been a significant source of growth for us.”
This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full article.