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Five standouts from Southern Innovations

SAVANNAH, GA – When I attended the Southeast Produce Council’s BB #:191194 Southern Exposure in April, many of the attendees were enthusiastic to be back in-person.

At Southern Innovations in Savannah, held Sept. 9-11 the enthusiasm had a different feel to it. Most of the people I talked to were relieved to be in-person, but anxious about the rest of the events planned for the produce industry this year, most notably the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in New Orleans.

The core theme for Southern Innovations, “What’s New?” was featured in education sessions focused on the challenges of hiring and retaining employees in this pandemic economy, and all-new research from Anne-Marie Roerink of 210 Analytics.

At the expo, I found a few new products to talk about:

Fresh Innovations Mashed Avocado

Hand-scooped, with a more chunky texture, the Mashed Avocado from Fresh Innovations has Avocado Toast lovers in mind. It’s available in an 8-ounce tub and a 4-pack of 2-ounce single serving cups.

NatureSweet To Go

Launched in August, these 2.5-ounce cups from NatureSweet Ltd. BB #:152351 offer a washed and ready-to-eat snack that’s designed to be displayed in the refrigerated case along with other fresh produce snacking options. They retail for $1.49 for a single serving and $3.99 for a three-pack. Both Cherubs and Constellation tomatoes are part of the launch.

Ark Foods Shishito Cooking Kit

For consumers not familiar with how quick and easy it is to make blistered shishito peppers at home, Ark Foods BB #:290462 has a new kit with a packet of olive oil and sea salt for inspiration.

Fresh-cut Pinkglow Pineapple

Pinkglow Pineapples are all about what’s inside, so it only makes sense that Del Monte Fresh Produce BB #:111187 would offer them in a fresh-cut format.

Giorgio Shredded Portabella Mushrooms

It’s not unusual to see crowds around the mushroom booths, aiming for a savory snack on the show floor, but it took me a while to get a chance to try the new shredded portabella mushrooms from Giorgio’s Kitchen BB #:161206. They come in a spicy Sriracha and milder, but still flavorful, BBQ, designed as a mix-in for sandwiches, wraps, salads, or even a baked potato topping.

The Southeast Produce Council plans to host Southern Exposure 2022 March 3-5 in Orlando, and Southern Innovations 2022 September 22-24 in Nashville.

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.