Melissa De Leon Chavez's IFPA GPFS 2023 Picks

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Fri. October 27th, 2023 - by Melissa De Leon Chavez

ANAHEIM, CA - Whether it was helping the environment, our industry’s popularity, or both, it was certainly a time for turning heads as produce purveyors gathered in Anaheim, California, for the 2023 Global Produce & Floral Show. Believe me when I say it is not easy to choose who stood out most, but here are a few I am still reminiscing about a week later.

SUNSET® Summer Dream Raspberries

Ever since I learned a raspberry is actually a rose, I’ve been hooked on these little berry buds, so I was incredibly excited to hear that the bright-colored promos from Mastronardi Produce® were for a newcomer to this particular category. Teal and pink are certainly a dreamy, summery combination—so the eye-catching packs prime consumers for the flavor inside that has you ready to blare the Beach Boys, no matter the time of year. Caution: May inspire inflatable flamingo purchases in addition to berries.

Giorgio® Everything Seasoned Stuffed Mushrooms

The Everything Seasoning seems to be the new Sriracha—it can up the flavor game on just about anything. So I was instantly curious when I saw some “everything” hints dropped around a new stuffed mushroom rolling out for Giorgio®, and my compliments to the team on leaving us in proper suspense! Amid much information and anticipation of launches at the show, this stood out as memorable. Then, when getting to discover the produce for myself at the booth, it did not at all disappoint. I have no doubt, as the everything wave continues to sweep, the familiar flavor term will win many new customers to Giorgio’s delicious line.

Mucci Farms Netpac Packaging

Sustainability is perhaps one of the industry’s biggest causes, and solutions to the food-safety-but-sustainable challenge are ever elusive. Mucci Farms, though, is pushing the boundaries of sustainability with its new Netpac, an all-new container made from PP Mono material that draws the eye while soothing consumers and the supply chain. Using 50 percent less plastic with a 40 percent reduction in weight from standard PET, this pack is actually completely recyclable, sealable with both plastic or paper, and available in standard top seal formats. I’m very excited to see this offering—currently being trialed in 1 pint, 1.5 lb, and 2lb Top Seal—spread quickly.

Stemilt EZ Band

Organic rings at the register are incredibly valuable and should not be lost by lack of clarity on the product. Bright green, environmentally friendly, and clear, Stemilt’s new recyclable 4-pack of apples, EZ Band, provides an attractive solution. Boosting pounds never hurts either! Made of 100 percent paper board, EZ Band helps pack large-sized organic apples into one scannable unit, ensuring an organic ring at checkout. EZ Band is currently wrapped around a full line up of Stemilt’s Artisan Organics™, including Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Fuji, Gala, and Granny Smith.

Oppy Avocado Halves

Oppy is upping the value in value-added when it comes to the avocado market, introducing both its new frozen avocado blend and halves. Hand-scooped avocado halves with the skin and pit removed, this new option means any barrier in avocado consumption is gone as well. Likewise, Oppy’s long-standing reputation in fresh means the product is carefully selected high-quality. No more gambling when it comes to this green fruit! Not only does this make life and avocado love easier for consumers, the offering is positioned well for foodservice customers in that there is little to no prep needed for a fresh avocado offering on the menu.

Red Sun Farms Purple Tomato

What’s in a name? For this little tomato, not much—still yet to have an official title, it is already making a splash. Among the first of its kind, namely as a bio-engineered offering with approval from both the USDA and the FDA, what is rapidly becoming known as “the purple tomato” is bringing a deep, alluring shade to the category that you can’t help but be fascinated by. I, for one, am very curious to see if this, like the little engine that could, might push back on what we understand consumers want.

Thank you to our beautiful industry for all that you do time and time again, continuously raising the bar for us and others to follow.