Retail produce managers know bright and colorful displays can help sell more fresh produce. That’s why grower-shippers are investing in more attention-grabbing high-graphics boxes and other colorful packaging.


Research shows that packaging is important in consumers’ shopping behavior, so Yerington, Nev.-based Peri & Sons Farms Inc. wanted its new packaging to bring excitement to the category, said Teri Gibson, marketing and customer relations manager.


“Customers buy with their eyes,” she said. “These are bright, attractive and informative.”


All of Peri & Sons’ products will soon be available in new packaging. The first new pack was a 40-pound bulk carton, which some retailers plan to use in displays this summer, Gibson said. Redesigned retail packs are expected to be in wide distribution by late June, and a new Peri & Sons Farms Sweetie Sweets package will be available when the season starts in August.


Peri & Sons’ new 2-, 3- and 5-pound packages feature colorful film wrap and mesh that are 100% recyclable, Gibson said. The onion type is identified on the front of the package. Two recipes, health information and nutritional facts are on the back.


Onions Etc., Stockton, Calif., has high-graphics bags with recipes and ingredient shopping lists on the back, said Derrell Kelso Jr., owner and president. The bags encourage consumers to add items to their shopping lists, thus increasing incremental sales, Kelso said.


For example, Onions Etc.’s new Tuscan Sweets red Italian and yellow Imperial sweet onions are packed in 2-pound bags featuring a recipe for a strawberry, sweet onion and spinach salad. A photo of the salad is on the front of the bag. In addition to onions, shoppers would need strawberries, blue cheese, walnuts and spinach to make the salad, Kelso said. The 2-pound Tuscan Sweets bag was introduced by Onions Etc. this spring.


Other Onions Etc. bags feature recipes for tropical fruit salad and for onion and grapefruit salad. The high-graphics bags continue to advertise to consumers as the bags sit on kitchen counters in homes.


Onions Etc. offers a soup and stew pack of pearl onions and a kabob bag of pearl onions, which were introduced before the Christmas season.


Mark Bassetti, vice president of customer development, Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., Wellington, Fla., a subsidiary of A. Duda & Sons Inc., Oviedo, Fla., said retailers are more often promoting onions using high-graphic bins in displays. Many shippers, including Duda, now offer high-graphics bins to retailer customers.


Brooks, Ore.-based Curry & Co. Inc. has a new high-graphics box this season for its Vidalia Sweetheart Onions program, said Matt Curry, president. Curry said the display-ready box is bright and colorful.


Brings Co. Inc., a division of H. Brooks & Co., New Brighton, Minn., plans to begin using new 8- and 10-pound header and poly bags this spring, said Pat Coan, president. Brings repacks most of its onions in mesh bags with wineglass labels because they are less expensive than some other bags.


Glennville, Ga.-based Bland Farms LLC is constantly tweaking its packaging styles, said Delbert Bland, president, chief executive officer and owner. The company packs in more than 100 stock-keeping units.


“We’re trying to continually work with it,” he said.


Frontera Produce Ltd., Edinburg, Texas, ships an average of 78 different SKUs a day, said David DeBerry, director of category management.


“Rather than trying to build something around a package that we like and want to promote, our strategy is to go to our accounts and ask what they want,” he said.


While it can be a logistical nightmare to handle so many different package styles, DeBerry said he and Frontera’s management prefer to let customers drive packaging decisions.


“It’s so diverse,” he said. “I’d rather have it this way instead of being too heavily invested in one or two things.”


Retailers know their customers and stores best, so Melbourne, Fla.-based Sweet Onion Trading offers a range of packaging to satisfy customer needs, said Barry Rogers, president and chief executive officer.