Retailers forgo field for hothouse tomatoes

05/24/2013 10:49:00 AM
Tom Burfield

The gusseted bag can accommodate clear graphics and costs less than a clamshell container, he said.

Fresh Pac International, Oceanside, Calif., is focusing on flavor to help retailers drive the tomato category, said Brian Bernauer, sales director.

The company’s goal is to offer the “right varieties with the right flavor — something that will knock their socks off,” he said, and spark repeat purchases.

Offering the right high-quality varieties has resulted in “a significant increase percentage-wise in retail sales” for Fresh Pac, he said.

There are a couple of other changes taking place in the produce department, King said.

For one, shoppers are paying more attention to where their product came from, he said.

They also want to know that it’s grown and packed in a safe environment “with necessary controls in place.”

It’s a victory if you can trumpet local, but the industry today often touts “locale” instead, King said, to indicate “a world-class growing area” for a specific item, such as California’s Napa Valley and premium wines.

Over the past 25 years, Andrew & Williamson has searched out the best growing regions for its crops, he said.

“We identify the best regions for growing crops and focus on those areas as the finest locale.”

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