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Five standouts from Southern Exposure

TAMPA, FL – The trade show floor at the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern exposure wasn’t QUITE as fiber-heavy as what I saw at Fruit Logistica in Berlin, but much of the innovation I saw was aimed at smarter use of plastic.

Fiber-based packaging: 

Cal Giant, Ocean Mist Farms, Oppy and Jac. Vandenberg Inc. all showcased a fiber-based packaging option, from mandarins to kiwifruit.





Same bag, less plastic:

Shuman Farms introduced its plan for a reduced plastic net bag for organic sweet onions at the Southern Innovations show in the fall, and now the bag is in the market. It represents not only less plastic use – about a 33% reduction – but also a lower cost option.


Consumer awareness:

Village Farms plans to add call-outs to its pouch bags to emphasize the benefits for consumers. Pouch bags provide optimal shelf life extension with much less plastic than traditional clamshells, says Helen Aquino, director of brand marketing and communications.


A local throwback:

North Carolina-based Cottle Farms is trialing a plastic clamshell designed to call attention and differentiate its local deal for strawberries with a throwback plastic basket design. The company is still tinkering around with the design to try to keep the look, but maintain the shelf life.


Smaller size, intense flavor, less waste:

Melissa’s World Variety Produce showcased its miniature Charentais melon, which is entering its second season of availability in the U.S. At just 2-3 pounds, the melon packs a lot of flavor without a lot of waste.




Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.