(Oct. 9) OXNARD, Calif. — Buyers can look for four new retail fresh-cut onion items from one of the country’s largest processors of fresh red and yellow onions this fall.

Gills Onions is introducing diced yellow onions, sliced red onions, sliced yellow onions and a mix of diced celery and onions. The products, which are cross-docked in Salinas; Yuma, Ariz.; Los Angeles; and year-round in Oxnard, have shelf lives of 16 days.

“Onions are following the same market growth pattern we saw with salads and other cooking vegetables,” Susan Schmidt, director of sales and marketing, said in a news release. “The popularity and success these now familiar retail items saw in the foodservice industry have crossed over to the consumer. Fresh-cut onions are no different. They’ve been extremely popular with foodservice operators, and it only makes sense that the consumers will be looking for the same convenience.”

Research sponsored by Gills shows that onions are the No. 1 commodity that consumers want to see next in the fresh-cut case. The research also showed that 10 ounces is the ideal size and that resealable packaging is a critical consideration for consumers.

Schmidt said that made sense. She pointed out that bulk onions can be labor-intensive and uncomfortable for consumers to prepare.

“They also have no viable frozen counterpart, so we’re optimistic of the marketplace potential,” she said.

Schmidt said fresh-cut in general still has a low household penetration, so that new and innovative items like fresh-cut onions have plenty of room to drive segment growth.

The company recommends that retailers merchandise the sliced and diced onion items in the fresh-cut vegetable segment of the value-added area.

“The onion products provide a great color break and look natural next to the stir fries, cooking vegetables and cut carrots,” Schmidt said.
Gills will exhibit the new products at its booth at PMA Oct. 11-15 in New Orleans. The booth number is 5117.