Grimmway Farms is exhibiting new products and sustainable packaging initiatives this week at the first-ever virtual Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit Conference & Expo. Exhibiting for the 23rd consecutive year, Grimmway has transformed its impressive in-person booth, typically stocked with a market’s worth of fresh produce, to a virtual experience that allows visitors to tour its diverse growing regions and learn about its expanding carrot and organic farming operations.
While the company’s booth takes a different shape this year, Grimmway is more focused than ever on bringing innovative products to the market, reducing waste among packaging materials, and helping the industry make fresh produce available to everyone.
“Innovation has always been the root of our growth,” said Eric Proffitt, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Grimmway. “We listen and work closely with our customers to create items their shoppers want, and we’re committed to rigorous testing to develop products that will sell.”
The company is showcasing new items from its organic division, Cal-Organic Farms, including Rainbow Carrot Chips in 12-ounce retail packs and Baby Bok Choy in three-count clamshell containers. Cal-Organic’s colorful carrots chips are an exciting new option for fresh produce snacks, conveniently packaged in a resealable bag. The baby bok clamshell packaging protects the vegetable’s delicate quality through transit, which is especially helpful considering an increase in online grocery shopping and delivery.
Cal-Organic is also promoting their upcoming seasonal red carrot program as well as their new crop potato, dry onion and sweet corn programs. The company’s exclusive red bunch carrots will be available from December through March and its spring potato, onion and sweet corn crops are slated to begin shipping in May.
“Growth of organic produce continues at a strong pace, and despite economic challenges consumers show no indication of shifting their purchases away from organic fruits and vegetables,” said Jeff Huckaby, president of Grimmway Farms. “We continue to expand our certified organic acreage and we’ve established programs in the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast to extend our growing seasons. This is helping us widen availability windows for seasonal commodities and recognize efficiencies that will help us meet increasing demand.”
Also on the horizon for Grimmway and Cal-Organic are packaging initiatives centered on improving the sustainability of materials used throughout the product lifecycle. Notably, the company has converted more than 25 products to ship in cases with optimized dimensions, reducing materials used while improving palletization. They have also engineered a case made of polypropylene, which is 100 percent recyclable and weighs about half as much as a competing wax and fiber carton.
“When it comes to packaging, our commitment to quality is twofold. We’re seeking solutions that will help us deliver our produce safely, however we’re also looking for materials that can meet this end while creating minimal impact on our environment,” said Jason Higbee, general manager of Cal-Organic and corporate procurement at Grimmway. “When our packaging uses less material, weighs less and is the right size to protect our product, we can pack more vegetables into each delivery, resulting in less wax consumed and less fuel burned.”
The shift to a virtual venue presents a silver lining everyone in the industry can support—new event sponsorship opportunities that directly benefit charity. Grimmway’s commitment to charitable giving, empowering families through nutrition education, and delivering healthy produce to those in need made the opportunity to partner with Houston-based non-profit Brighter Bites a perfect fit. This year Brighter Bites was selected as the first-ever nonprofit recipient of the annual SUNSET Rocks concert and Grimmway is proud to sponsor the virtual benefit.
PMA Fresh Summit 2020 is taking place from Oct. 13 to Oct. 15 and registration is free for retailers, foodservice operators and foodservice distributors.