Supermarket Perimeter - October 2020 - 40

Produce

NELSO

DEMAND FOR PACKAGED FRESH PRODUCE has been trending up
for years, driven by food safety concerns, the need for convenience and
a variety of other factors.
For many produce shippers and their retail partners, COVID has only
accelerated that demand.
Consumers are gravitating to their comfort zones during this time
of massive change, and one of those within fresh is the protection of
packaging as a barrier to the environment, said Tom Byrne, president of
Salinas, Calif.-based Growers Express/Green Giant Fresh.
"There are certainly consumers who feel compelled to
purchase what they feel comfortable with and appeals
to them, whether that be in bulk where they can
inspect and decide or within a packaged product
where there is an added layer of safety," he said.
"Packaged produce isn't a new phenomenon
but one that can help in times of worry
around safety and also when consumers are
looking for more value-added, time-saving
preparation items."
Items from Green Giant Fresh that fit that
description include pre-cut Green Giant Fresh
Butternut or Spaghetti Squash and Broccoli Slaw,
he said.
The Green Giant Fresh roster of items is diverse in that
it covers both bulk items like avocados, corn, and asparagus, but
also value-added packaged items like Cauliflower Crumbles and halved
Brussels Sprouts, Byrne said.
The company's product lineup has not been adjusted specifically
for the pandemic, he added. Instead, Green Giant Fresh has remained
focused on delivering the best quality items under a brand name
40 - OCTOBER 2020

SP_Oct20.indb 40

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that has earned consumers' trust for decades. Demand for packaged
produce ramped up quickly in March as consumers felt concerned
about the risks of others touching the fresh produce on display, despite
clear indications from health authorities that the virus cannot be
transmitted through food, said Karin Gardner, executive director of
Vancouver, BC-based Oppy.
"It was a scary time and understandable that people would take
any precautions they felt they could to protect themselves," she said.
"Packaged fruits and vegetables provide a level of comfort while
also presenting a family-friendly offering of a little more
fresh produce to go around while households were
initially locking down together, and the habit of
buying more packaged produce has continued."
Oppy has adjusted its product roster to provide
more packaged product "to some degree,"
Gardner said. The company is broadening its
range of apple and grape packs, for instance,
notably debuting Ocean Spray grapes not only
in bags but also in two-pound clamshells, which
are selling "very well," she said.
Other, more established items continue to
perform well in the packaged category for Oppy.
"The item knocking it out of the park just now is the
one-pound Zespri SunGold kiwifruit pack," Gardner said
in late August. "It checks all the boxes, being full of in-demand
vitamin C and other nutrients, delivering an amazing flavor and arriving
ready to cut and scoop in a fully recyclable container."
About 40% of what Oppy sells is in some kind of consumer pack -
citrus in mesh bags; berries, grapes and kiwifruit in clamshells; apples in
poly and pouch bags (just to name a few).

GREEN GIANT, OPPY

DY
BY AN

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9/25/2020 9:14:53 AM


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Supermarket Perimeter - October 2020

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