(Nov. 14) ATLANTA — Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International Inc. announced to buyers its national rollout of fresh-cut retail apple packs at the Produce Marketing Association's Fresh Summit 2005 on Nov. 6 in Atlanta.

The Chiquita Fruit Bites sliced apple packs are available in five selections — sweet red, tart green and blended red and green in 14-ounce packs that come in six-count boxes.

Go Packs are 2.4-ounce packs of sliced red apples that are available in five-count bags. Caramel apple dip trays are included in 3.5-ounce packs that are shipped four to a bag.

Chiquita was building distribution for the packs by lining up retailers in early fall, said Sherrie Terry, Chiquita’s vice president of category development.

Chiquita-owned Fresh Express Inc., Salinas, Calif., will do the cutting, sales, marketing and distribution of the Chiquita-branded products, she said.

The national effort follows successful January and February test-marketing in Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Ohio, Harrisburg, Pa., Indianapolis and Kansas City, Mo.

Three regional processing facilities are available for retail orders, according to Chiquita’s marketing material. Chiquita said it will deliver the packs to retailers three to six times a week. Fresh Express has fresh-cut operations and distribution facilities in Salinas, Chicago, Atlanta and Greencastle, Pa.