NASHVILLE, TN—I see a lot of trade shows in this business, so I like to think it takes a lot to get my attention when it comes to new product innovations.
At the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Innovations Expo on Sept. 13, I found seven things that really jumped out at me.
In no order, they are:
Shuman Farms’ Garbage Display
I say this with all the love, of course. Shuman Farms BB #:362826 plans to roll out a reduced-plastic bag for its organic onions this fall with the new crop from South America. The bags offer a lighter weave of plastic and a narrower label for a total of nearly 40% less plastic, and the company literally used a pile of plastic junk and trash to highlight the new bags. It was an eye-catching reminder of why consumers are going this direction.
The company also is promoting the fact that its cartons are made from 80% recycled fiber. Both are a smart move as consumers are looking for smarter packaging choices.
Goodness Gardens Herb Blasts
I may be channeling my inner Salt Bae here, but I just want to grab a fistful of the new Herb Blasts and go to town. The huge containers are a foodservice option Goodness Gardens BB #:161818 is considering, though it is still working out just the right size for its gently cut herb product. I still think the big ol’ bucket o’ herbs has consumer potential.
CeCe’s Veggie Co. Noodled Ramen
Ramen is one of the “it” dishes in Austin, TX, right now, so it makes sense for the hometown purveyor of fine veggie noodles, etc., to offer up an option. I cannot wait until these from CeCe’s Veggie Co. BB #:333864 hit the shelves at my local H-E-B.
Mission Avocado’s blind taste test
So, apparently people have avocado bias? Mission Produce BB #:118126 set out to prove that Peru can go head-to-head with Mexico when it comes to avocado flavor with a blind taste test for attendees.
The first time I tried it, I actually preferred Peru (which, to be fair, is at the end of its season). When I went back, I liked Mexico better. Does this mean I have a Mexican avocado bias? I love all avocados, folks!
Still, it was a good way to get people talking about global sourcing.
Giumarra’s persimmon mission
The last time I tried a persimmon, my sister was pranking me as a child. I grew up in Missouri, where they grow wild. Let me tell you, an unripe wild Missouri persimmon makes a big bite of Play Doh seem like a delicacy.
But apparently, consumers are hot on persimmons – flat fuyu persimmions, to be precise. Giumarra Cos. BB #:153202 is launching a new campaign #DoYouFuyu to promote the fruit, with fall-themed promotions in store.
Tomato Thyme Corp.’s Red n’ Tasty branding
I’m a sucker for a good tomato, and the big, juicy slices offered up by Tomato Thyme BB #:157519 stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t need anything fancy – just a dash of salt. I like the new Red n’ Tasty branding here, along with the pouch bag for differentiation.
Highline Mushrooms’ top seal till
This Leamington, ON-based company offers the top seal mushroom till only in Canada at the moment, but this idea is genius. It’s re-sealable, especially handy for the large size at 24 ounces, and it also has perforations to keep your mushrooms fresh.
Now that I’ve had a few days to digest this idea, the filmy plastic overwrap on the mushroom till in my fridge seems a little strange.
So that’s a quick rundown of Seven Southern Innovations Standouts from this year’s show in Nashville. Did I miss something? Drop me a line. I’m always open to suggestions.