The United Fresh Produce Association's annual conference, held June 13-15, 2017, in Chicago, featured recent innovations for the produce department, with convenient and portable fresh foods dominating the exhibition.
Eat Smart Salad Shake Ups from Apio Inc., Guadalupe, Calif., are single-serve salad kits that come with an interior tray. This serves as a lockable lid making it conveniently easy to mix the toppings and dressing. Avocado Ranch contains red and savoy cabbages, shredded cauliflower, kale, shredded carrots, shredded cheddar cheese, roasted sunflower seed kernels, crispy onions, dried currants, freeze dried corn, naturally flavored bacon bean flakes and creamy avocado ranch dressing. Raspberry Acai contains shredded broccoli, green cabbage, kale, radicchio, dried cranberries, sliced toasted almonds, dried blueberries, hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds and raspberry açaí dressing. Tropical Lime contains green and Napa cabbages, broccoli, kale, dried pineapple, dried mango, dried papaya, white sesame seeds, golden flax seeds, roasted red quinoa, thin crunch noodles and creamy coconut lime chili dressing.
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Just in time for summer, Ready Pac Foods, Irwindale Foods, Calif., launched a limited-edition Roasted Corn and Pulled Pork Bistro Bowl. The new salad, with right-off-the-grill flavors, gives consumers the taste of summer they want in a convenient and healthy way. The salad features smoky poblano peppers and tender, seasoned pulled pork on top of a crisp chopped blend of romaine and iceberg lettuces. The consumer tops it with creamy chili lime dressing, cheese cornbread croutons and a barbecue sauce drizzle.
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Ready Pac Foods also will be expanding into the growing fresh meal category with the introduction of the Fresh Prep’d brand. Scheduled to hit shelves in September, the brand includes five varieties of soup kits. This will be the first fresh soup concept in the market. Each bowl contains a flavorful broth and on-trend ingredient combinations, including fresh, crispy vegetables. For example, Italian Style Wedding contains rotini pasta, baby spinach, turkey meatballs, chicken tomato stock concentrate, carrots, celery and parsley. The consumer simply mixes the ingredients with water and microwaves for three minutes. The brand also includes wrap kits, which feature high-quality ingredients that the consumer assembles into a wrap right before mealtime. This allows for a fully customizable experience with a fresh, never soggy, tortilla and crisp, crunchy vegetables, something not previously possible with pre-packaged, prepared wraps. The buffalo-style ranch contains oven-roasted white chicken chunks, romaine, celery, cheddar cheese, carrots, cabbage and crispy fried onions with a chili and onion tortilla and spicy buffalo ranch sauce. Both the salad and wrap lines contain vegetarian options. A single meal delivers 11 to 23 grams of protein.
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Dole Food Co., Westlake Village, Calif., is celebrating Disney-Pixar’s release of Cars 3 with character-inspired single-serve fruit snack packs of bananas, berries or pineapples. The Dole and Disney Consumables, Burbank, Calif., partnership is a multi-phased nutrition alliance aimed at encouraging families to make healthier food choices and increase produce consumption. Dole and Disney have a history going back to the mid-1970s, when Dole became a sponsor of the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland and introduced the Dole Whip soft-serve frozen dessert.
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The company also now offers Dole Go Berries! These fun three-packs deliver snap, rinse-and-go convenience of perfect snack portions of berries anytime, anywhere. Increased airflow around the berries aids cooling and improves freshness. The brand debuted with strawberries and blueberry is set to hit shelves in August. The three-packs of either sell for about $2.99.
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Mann Packing, Salinas, Calif., is growing its Nourish line of single-serve warm meals. New Bacon Maple Brussels Nourish Bowl features brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, real bacon and a sweet maple glaze. The meal bowl is ready in 3 to 4 minutes in the microwave. The new variety joins Cauli-Rice Curry, Monterey Risotto, Sesame Sriracha and Southwest Chipotle.
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Grand Junction, Mich.-based Naturipe Farms is rolling out healthy and convenient Naturipe Snacks, which pair fresh sweet berries and grapes with cheese and nuts in a variety of curated flavor combinations. The 5.5-oz packs come in six varieties. They are: Bold & Spicy (grapes, chili mango cashews and pepper Jack cheese), Classic & Sharp (grapes, blueberries, roasted sea salt almonds and sharp cheddar cheese), Rich & Savory (strawberries, roasted salted pistachios and mild gouda cheese), Smooth & Smokey (strawberries, blueberries, smoked almonds and Monterey Jack cheese), Sweet & Crunchy (strawberries, blueberries, cinnamon almonds and white cheddar cheese) and Sweet & Zesty (strawberries, cracked black pepper cashews and aged Swiss cheese).
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St. Paul, Minn.-based Urban Organics, which grows an array of produce using an aquaponics operation, has added nine blends of greens to its retail line. They are: Classic Duo (green and red romaine), Just Arugula (arugula), Just Romaine (green romaine), Patio Mix (arugula, green and red leaf, and Swiss chard), Rose Blend (red kale, red leaf and red romaine), River City Mix (green and red romaine, and Swiss chard), Spring Mix (arugula, bok choy, green leaf, romaine, kale, red leaf and Swiss chard), Twin Kales (green and red kale), Umami Blend (arugula, bok choy and green kale).
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Growers Express L.L.C., Salinas, Calif., a grower, packer and shipper of fresh vegetables, and value-added vegetable products, licenses the Green Giant brand from B&G Foods Inc., Parsippany, N.J. The company is in the process of rolling out five varieties of fresh vegetable noodles — beet, butternut squash, carrot, sweet potato and zucchini — in three different pack sizes. These are 6-oz bowls, 12-oz pouches and 20-oz clamshells. Washed and ready to use, vegetable noodles are used as a substitute for pasta and in stir fry.
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Ontario, Canada-based Mucci Farms now offers Veggies to Go, which come in three offerings. They are: Sun Drops sweet grape tomatoes, Sweet to the Point mini pointed peppers and snack-sized cucumbers called CuteCumbers. The snacks come in top-seal packages to allow for resealing.
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