Health Meets Convenience

Published in CSP Daily News

Food companies introducing grab-and-go fruits, vegetables

CHICAGO -- In a recent CSP Daily News Poll, more than 50% of respondents said the obesity issue, particularly as it relates to children, is not getting enough attention. While filling newspapers and the nightly news with statistics about how fat Americans are, the trend has left retailers looking for ways to present solutions that could also benefit their bottom lines.

Help is on that way as food companies introduce new produce packaging that brings health and convenience together. This was evident during the Produce Expo & Conference held this [image-nocss] month in Chicago, where companies such as Chiquita, Ready Pac, Sunkist and Del Monte all unveiled convenient new packages that make grabbing a healthy snack almost as easy as ripping open a candy bar.

The challenge for the food companiesand, ultimately, for retailersis that precut, prepackaged fruits and vegetables require a higher labor cost, said a recent Associated Press report. The companies, however, hope increased demand for the products will offset the increased cost. A rundown of some of these products introduced at the Produce Expo:

Ready Pac has come out with 6-oz. containers of sliced apples and carrot and celery sticks. Packed in water, the plastic cups are the perfect size for cars' cup holders. Chiquita has added similar 6-oz. plastic cups filled with watermelon and pineapple to its Fresh Cut Fruit line of precut fruits. Del Monte has fresh-cut fruit in cup or salad-size portions. The offerings include sliced watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and grapes, according to an Expo report in the Chicago Sun-Times. Sunkist has introduced Fun Fruit, the Sun-Times reported. These are 2-oz. and 3.5-oz packets of fresh-cut apples, oranges, pineapples and grapes that would easily fit into a lunch bag.