(April 15) PLACENTIA, Calif. — Customer demand is pushing some strawberry growers toward using clamshell packaging. The main reason, to paraphrase the Big Bad Wolf, is that it’s all the better to see the berries with, my dear.

Doug Circle, president and chief executive officer of Sunrise Growers Inc., Placentia, Calif., said his company is moving 100% of its Irvine, Calif., district strawberry production into the common footprint, or Euro flat, container design.

“It’s been a customer-driven move,” Circle said. “Some customers are excited about the common footprint and the opportunities for consolidation in the warehouse, while others like the design and the way it shows off the fruit more clearly.”

The new clamshell provides a 20% increase in viewing space for the 1-pound clamshell vs. Sunrise’s previous packaging. The modular design also allows multiple units to be cross-stacked on the same pallet in order to save space.

Circle said the program began in January, when Sunrise began shipping some of the containers to gauge customer response. He said there was enough positive feedback to warrant a full run out of Irvine this spring.

The Irvine crop represents about 20% of Sunrise’s total strawberry crop. The company also has programs in other California locations — Orange County, Oxnard, Santa Maria, Watsonville — and in Baja California.

Circle said Sunrise is planning to ship some of the containers out of Oxnard and Santa Maria, as well, and will increase their numbers if customer feedback remains positive.

For more information on this or other Sunrise programs, visit the company online at www.sunrisegrowers.com.