Top-selling fresh-cut value-added produce items from The Woodlands, Texas-based The Fresh Food Group are drawn from a number of categories, including Snacking, Cut Fruit, Cut Vegetables, Meal Kits and Side Dishes, says Doug Burris, executive vice president of sales, marketing and purchasing.

The Fresh Food Group consists of three companies: Country Fresh, Sun Rich and Tiffany Gate.

“The Fresh Food Group was created in response to strong consumer demand for fresh, ‘on-the-go’ convenience,” he says. “It combines three best-in-class organizations with complimentary production and products.”

Country Fresh is a leading provider of fresh-cut fruit, apple slices, vegetables and fresh snacking solutions.

Sun Rich cuts and prepares made-to-order fresh fruit for foodservice, and Tiffany Gate creates, manufactures and delivers fresh prepared foods to some of the largest retail and foodservice companies in North America.

“Under the Fresh Food Group, we united fresh cut expertise, prepared food capabilities and an expanded geographic presence to become a full-service, fresh solutions partner for retail, foodservice, club and convenience stores,” Burris says.


Snacking, ready-to-eat meal trends drive growth

Fresh Food Group continues to see strong trends in snacking, side dishes, ready-to-go meals and meal kits. Demand is high for products that add to the convenience value proposition, Burris says. Consequently, fresh cut/value-added produce is moving farther down the processing continuum. “Our goal is to get product as close to the final state as possible, making it as convenient as possible.  This requires continued investment in R&D, cooking technologies and packaging design.”

A cornerstone of the Fresh Food Group philosophy, Burris adds, is agility. The company partners across channels with retailers, club, c-stores and foodservice to develop products tailored to their customers and consumers.

“We also develop custom packaging designed to maximize shelf space. Our geographic footprint ensures speed to shelf, enabling frequent and low-mile deliveries to distribution centers across the country.”

Fresh categories are merging and sometimes undefined, Burris says. Fresh-cut is expanding beyond produce and into other departments, such as deli. Moreover, consumer tastes and trends change rapidly. As a result, fresh cut partners must be agile to quickly adapt to an ever-changing ecosystem.  

“From food safety benefits to reduced labor, reduced shrink and higher customer satisfaction – all lead to better results for the retailer and a more efficient program overall.”


New salad kits

Sidney, Ohio-based Freshway Foods has added four new salad kits to its fresh-cut produce product lineup: Turkey in the Garden, Italian Kale, Cucumber with Red Vinaigrette and Broccoli Crunch.

“Fresh deli salad kits from Freshway Foods will save you time and money without sacrificing freshness, taste, and quality,” according to Freshway. “Packaged in components that you quickly assemble in-store, these salad kits complete a meal in just minutes.”

Freshway’s salad kits offer:

·          Culinary-inspired salads with premium ingredients

·          Contain all components for a complete behind-the-glass deli salad

·          Make a great addition to your salad bar as a prepared salad

·          Uniform weight for controlled cost per salad

·          On-trend ingredients that consumers prefer

·          Easy preparation – no additional cutting or washing required

·          Grab n Go salad kits make eight complete entree-sized salads


Grill it up

Highway 28 Farms, the fresh-cut arm of Des Moines, Iowa-based Loffredo Produce, has griller sets for summer barbecues and the tailgating season that follows.

Highway 28’s grillers come in 10 oz servings and are ready in just 20 to 30 minutes. There are four varieties: mushroom medley, pepper onion blend, mixed premium blend, and mixed vegetable blend. Just add olive oil or the seasoning of your choice and sauté it on your grill, according to the company.

Grillers are part of a full lineup of value-added items offered by Highway 28 Farms.

The company offers product in eight different categories: Veggies, Snack Cups, Fruits, Pico de Gallo, Bean Dips, Fruit & Veggie Trays, Soups and Ready-to-eat Fruit.

Pico comes in three varieties and ships in both 7 oz and 16 oz packages. “Our Pico de Gallo, Black Bean Pico, and Tropical Pico go great with chips, fish, chicken, and your favorite beverage,” according to Highway 28.

The company’s cut fruit lineup includes 15 SKUS in both 10 oz and 16 oz packs and ranging from mango chunks to watermelon chunks to apple fruit medleys to melon mixes.

The 17 SKUs on Highway 28’s Veggies roster include diced onions, peppers and tomatoes and carrot and celery sticks, ranging in size from 5 to 14 oz. Carrots and celery are packed in water for maximum freshness, according to the company.

Tray options include mixed fruits with accompaniments including caramel dip and cheddar cheese and veggies with ranch.

In addition, Highway 28 sells eight SKUs of ready-to-eat 2 oz or 4 oz packs of sliced apples or oranges.

Products are prepared and packaged in the company’s own 45,000 square-foot facility that’s equipped with state-of-the-art processing equipment. “We operate under stringent safety protocols and quality management systems,” according to Highway 28. “Plus, all the waste from production is used in a sustainability program called Waste for Feed that diverts organic waste from the landfill and provides it to farmers for feed for their livestock.”


Attention to detail, commitment to food safety

Whether it’s bulk packs for kitchens/salad bars, retail packs for supermarkets or convenience stores, packed for private label or under its own FreshPro brand, West Caldwell, New Jersey-based FreshPro Food Distributors has the facilities and hands-on attention to detail to provide the highest-quality product that meets the most stringent food safety standards.

“Our partnership with major growers allows us to get the right products for processing year-round,” according to FreshPro. “Maintaining the cold chain throughout, all products are handled properly from receipt at our facility though processing until it reaches your location.”

FreshPro is also certified to process and repack organic products, and the company’s quality assurance team closely monitors daily operations in its modern HACCP facility, which is third-party certified.

In addition to produce, FreshPro can provide retailers with one-stop-shop capabilities with its full lineup of deli meats, cheeses, specialty items, chilled foods, soups, prepared entrees and deli salads in retail and foodservice packs, as well as chips, crackers, snacks and condiments.