Fruit and vegetable shippers capitalize on healthy snack trends

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Nature Fresh Farms, based in Leamington, Ont., offers a full line of greenhouse vegetables for the snack market, said Stephanie Swatkow, the company’s marketing manager.

Items include Little Snackers Cocktail Cucumbers, Mini Sweet Peppers and a wide range of tomatoes including cherry tomatoes, cherries on the vine (red, orange and shaded), red grape tomatoes and a mixed mix.

The latest addition to the Nature Fresh snack portfolio are greenhouse grown strawberries.

“Snacking is a very big category in fresh produce,” Swatkow said. “Everyone is looking to see how they can be healthier – by finding better and smarter ways to snack that will help boost immunity. Parents are constantly trying to figure out how they can squeeze a few more nutritious snacks into a box. bite-sized products make it much easier”

As consumers’ desires and needs for snacks have evolved, so has Nature Fresh’s approach to this category, she added.

“We have become a little more sophisticated. The snack tomato category allows us to really make an impression with flavour. This is where seed selection and cultivation processes really impact flavor, texture, and appearance.

Nature Fresh’s different snack tomatoes all have distinct flavors, Swatkow said. The company’s cherry tomatoes are very sweet, for example, and its new tomato – the Hiiro – is very sweet with a deep umami flavor.

In 2021, Nature Fresh won the Greenhouse Vegetable Awards in the Best Bite Sized Tomato category, winning 1st, 2nd and 3rd place against leading North American growers. And his new strawberry came in 2nd place in the Sweetest Strawberry category.

After a trial for strawberries last year, Nature Fresh will follow with a full launch in the first quarter of this year. Hiiros will also get the full launch treatment later this year. Both products will ship under the company’s premium black label.

“We are very excited to share these products with the world because we truly think they are so amazing.”

Healthy convenience

Fresh Del Monte, based in Coral Gables, Fla., and its subsidiary Mann Packing Co. currently market avocados for guacamole and assorted fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks, said Pablo Rivero, the company’s vice president of marketing. for North America.

Additionally, Mann Packing’s value-added fresh vegetables are commonly eaten on a variety of party platters alongside other snack products such as dip, chips and pretzels, hummus and cheese.

With snacks still on the upward trajectory, these and other value-added products are a great fit, Rivero said.

“We believe the fresh cut market continues to be one of the fastest growing categories in the fresh produce segment. This is largely due to recent consumer trends that favor healthy, well-packaged ready-to-eat foods. This aligns directly with the mix of snack products over the years, as both brands have seen an increase in consumers and a desire for convenient products and snacks. »

Del Monte and Mann Packing are able to provide the highest quality fresh-cut produce and snacks through vertically integrated operations and just-in-time delivery, Rivero said.

This guarantees high quality from the company’s farms to the final consumer, an uninterrupted cold chain from field to store, innovative packaging, without additives or preservatives, products prepared and packaged in our own facilities, processing equipment at the state of the art, operating under strict food safety, quality management systems.

Due to the growing demand for snack products, Del Monte and Mann Packing Co. are currently exploring different snack options to share with consumers and retailers in 2022. The brands will also offer several promotions this year and share these plans with consumers. and retailers. soon, Rivero said.

Help from real snacking experts

Raisin giant Sun-Maid, based in Fresno, Calif., is enlisting children to help it come up with innovative snacks.

Six children ages 6 to 12 will be chosen for the company’s second annual Board of Imagination. The kids will work with Sun-Maid executives to help them make decisions about future product innovations.

The six children – five selected through a national search and one through an internal Sun-Maid employee competition – will receive a donation of $5,000 for their school, $5,000 for a university fund in the form of a 529 donation, including an entire year of Sun-Maid Raisin Snacks to enjoy with their classmates.

Through quarterly meetings with Sun-Maid’s leadership team, children’s board members are tasked with sparking imagination and creativity, while inspiring positive change, according to Sun-Maid. They are given product challenges and provide feedback that truly guides the direction of future snacking innovations.

“Imagination plays a crucial role in everything Sun-Maid does, and we know there’s no better place to turn than the unapologetic creative minds of children,” said Harry Overly , President and CEO of Sun-Maid. “We have been very impressed with the value our inaugural Board of Imagination kids have delivered in year one, and we look forward to hearing from other kids across the country eager to share their imaginative ideas with us. “

Board members will be nominated in March and officially elected in April.

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