The rise of grocery e-commerce, the need for convenience, and an expanded selection in virtually every category – these are all reasons that packaged produce has taken off in recent years. What started with packaged salads and fresh cut fruits and vegetables has now taken off in every area of produce. Whether on-the-vine or in snack size, packaging is now common for tomatoes. Pouch bags with resealable seals and a handle for grab-and-go are standard now for grapes, cherries, and even apples and pears. And let’s not forget about the clamshell – which can be found packaging everything from peeled beets to living lettuce.
All of this begs the question – is packaging in produce a trend or here to stay?
As producers of fresh apples, pears, cherries, and stone fruits, those of us at Stemilt Growers, believe packaging of produce is most definitely here to stay.
Not only are the mechanisms for purchasing produce evolving with more retailers diving into online grocery via delivery or click-and-collect, but the sheer growth and attention on the perimeter of the store has companies using packaging to market the attributes and unique qualities of their products to shoppers. This is especially important as the emerging generations (Y and Z) become primary shoppers. In general, they value time over money, and the convenience that packaged produce provides offers that time savings they desire.
Packaging has evolved greatly at Stemilt in recent years. We’ve found packaging as the best outlet to market intent to different consumer groups, as well as to promote our brands and proprietary varieties. Take Lil Snappers® kid-size fruits for instance. This brand markets directly to a select group of shoppers – parents buying snacks for their kids – and focuses on flavor, quality, and petite size in order to build fruit fans for tomorrow.
Knowing that packaging is here to stay in produce can be beneficial to you as a retail dietitian. Many companies will utilize packaging to promote the nutrition of these healthy fruits and vegetables, as well as how to incorporate them into healthy meals at home. Packaged produce is an ideal choice for the array of “Dietitian Picked” items you have a hand in displaying, and packaging is a great way to get to know the brands and suppliers that your store is connected to. Packaging is helping us all learn and share the stories behind healthy produce in hopes that shoppers will eat more of it.