The following items were compiled by The Packer staff from the show floor of the United Fresh Marketplace April 21-24 in Las Vegas.

John Deere Agri Services

John Deere Agri Services, Blackfoot, Idaho, has a new portable device that contains GPS navigational systems.

John Deere's national account manager for production, C. Richard Johnson, touted the device, which also can pick up Wi-Fi and serve as a cell phone. With this device, Johnson said, "you can scan in laborers, see what crews are doing. You can track performance. You can keep everything very specific to a particular organization."

Growers can also use the device to update payroll accounts, track orders and print out forms and send e-mails.

Key Technology

Walla Walla, Wash.-based Key Technology Inc. has introduced a redesigned automated wash system, Flume Wash, for fresh cut produce.

The Flume Wash is designed for medium-to-large processors, said Teri Johnson, fresh-cut industry manager.

It works with any processing line. Prices start at $20,000. The cost can be recouped in one year, Johnson said.

Kwik Lok

Yakima, Wash.-based Kwik Lok Corp. is taking orders for its new 898-A Separator, a machine designed for citrus bag operations, said Doug Rowe, regional sales manager.

Features of the 898-A include a counter and printer, he said, and it can produce 2,500 of the plastic bag locks per hour. Cost of the machine is less than $5,000, he said.

Mastronardi Produce

Mastronardi Produce Ltd., Kingsville, Ontario, displayed its kumato tomatoes and Little French cherry tomatoes, which come in 3-kilogram cartons, said Nancy Pickersgill, marketing coordinator.

Kumato tomatoes come wrapped in trays, Pickersgill said, and the company is just starting nationwide U.S. distribution.

Naturally Fresh

Naturally Fresh Inc., Atlanta, is offering five 12-ounce vinaigrette dressings, said Rick Brownlee, Eastern regional manager.

The product comes in pomegranate mixed berry, mango ginger, Chianti red wine, citrus orange poppy, and white balsamic and citrus.

The dressings will soon be in stores, Brownie said, as will two other dressings, a yogurt-based ranch dressing and a balsamic vinegar dressing in 12-ounce jars.

New Jersey Ag Dept.

The 25th anniversary of the Jersey Fresh program coincides with hard times for the state of New Jersey's budget, and that will translate into a lean promotion program for the next year, said Al Murray, New Jersey assistant agriculture secretary. Murray said the program is expected to receive about $150,000 from the state for fiscal year 2010, which begins July 1. That compares with $450,000 in 2009 and $850,000 in 2008.

Still, Murray said the program - and New Jersey growers - will benefit from the locally grown food movement.

"The supermarkets are looking for it, and they are putting pictures of farmers in supermarkets," he said.

Despite the budget cutbacks, Murray said the program continues to offer point-of-sale material to retailers, among other promotion opportunities.

Orics Industries

Orics Industries Inc., College Point, N.Y., introduced the ILTS 330, an in-line tray sealer, said Ori Cohen, president. The ILTS 330 is an upgrade from previous units and is one of several models offered by Orics Industries, he said.

The machine is capable of sealing up to 20 trays per minute, Cohen said.

PakSense

United Fresh 2009: Expo notes part 2

                                                                   Tom Karst



Boise, Idaho-based PakSense Inc. announced the release of Ultra TK at the United Fresh expo. Doug Thurston, director of sales for PakSense, says the product is designed to monitor perishable produce. The product won recognition from United Fresh as a top new product at the show.

Boise, Idaho-based PakSense Inc., announced the release of Ultra TK. Doug Thurston, director of North American sales, said the product is another addition of intelligent products designed to monitor perishable goods.

The Ultra TK is a cold case diagnostic tool kit that enables retailers to monitor temperatures. The instrument provides data on how cold cases are functioning, if proper temperatures are being maintained and if corrective action is necessary, according to a company news release.

Temperature information from all cases can be immediately reviewed on a reader screen, the release said, allowing corrective action to be taken. The data can also be viewed on a personal computer.

Meanwhile, the company's Ultra Wireless Reader, introduced last fall, is finding increasing interest from the trade, Thurston said. With a 300-foot effective range, the reader can read wireless sensors that can be placed on cartons or pallets within truck containers, allowing information to be accessed without opening the doors.

Some place the wireless sensors on the outside of truck containers to measure ambient air temperature, Thurston said.

Polymer Logistics

A raised floor bin and recently introduced reusable plastic container with active locking handles attracted attention for Polymer Logistics, Riverside, Calif.

Casey Smith, business development coordinator, said the raised bin should be in production by September, and retailers Aldi and HEB plan to use them in their displays. She said Polymer Logistics offers two bin sizes, one 30 inches tall and the other slightly taller. Heavy duty bands raise the floor of the bin when product is removed, so consumers don't have to bend over to retrieve product and packinghouse workers won't have to stoop to place products in the bins.

Meanwhile, she said the company's active-locking RPCs have been attracting positive reviews since being commercially in March. She said the handles shave off time with erecting and breaking down containers and won't get knocked out or shaken loose like conventional RPCs.

"They are compatible with all RPCs, and a lot of people have seen it and really like it," she said.

Pulse Instruments

Pulse Instruments, Van Nuys, Calif., is introducing the APS AquaPulse system through its subsidiary AquaPulse Systems.

The system generates chlorine dioxide, which is an alternative chemical to chlorine-acid combinations used in some produce cleaning equipment, said AquaPulse account manager Steve Solis.

"It's a more powerful disinfection," Solis said.

Ramsay Highlander

A patented harvester that uses water jets to cut lettuce will see its first commercial applications later this year, said Frank Maconachy, president and chief executive officer of Ramsay Highlander Inc., Gonzales, Calif.

Offering food safety advantages to growers, the water jet technique won't cause bleeding and browning the way a conventional harvester does, Maconachy said, and the first commercial version is expected to be shipped in June. The company was also promoting a traceability system that allows consumers to look up the exact location where the lettuce was harvested.

Walter P. Rawl & Sons

United Fresh 2009: Expo notes part 2
                                                                                   Tom Karst



Under the Lazy Town label, Walter P. Rawl & Sons rolled out single serve fruit and vegetable snack packs designed for retailers in February, says Ashley Rawl, director of sales for the Pelion, S.C.-based company. Lazy Town is a global brand spinoff of a popular fitness oriented children’s program.

Walter P. Rawl & Sons Inc. highlighted additions to its product lineup and changes to some of its packaging.

The firm is in the process of changing its rigid clamshell line of Versatile Veggies, switching from a round container to a square container to reduce shelf space, said Ashley Rawl, director of sales and marketing for the Pelion, S.C.-based company.

In addition, he said the company has added some blends to its line of greens and added a 1-pound chopped cabbage pack, he said.

Under the Lazy Town label, the company rolled out single-serve fruit and vegetable snack packs designed for retailers in February, he said. Lazy Town is a brand spinoff from a popular fitness-oriented children's program.

"We started this for the fresh fruit and vegetable snack program and really started selling to schools (last year), but we're going to see what happens at retail," he said.

In other company news, Rawl said Stephanie Barnes was hired as outside sales manager in February.

Ready Pac

Ready Pac Inc., Irwindale, Calif., displayed a variety of new products, including snack packs and party platters.

Ali Leon, senior director of strategic business development, said the company is now offering two reduced-sized fruit and vegetable platters, from 20 ounces to 2 pounds.

Also new are 4.75-ounce snack packs that come with carrots and snap peas, apples or hummus with flat bread, Leon said. The platters will start to ship in June and snacks will ship in August, Leon said.

REYCO Systems

REYCO Systems Inc., Meridian, Idaho, has unveiled an ultraviolet anti-pathogen system.

"The units range up to 12 feet by 5 feet and treat meat products or produce in 30 seconds with no increase in temperature," said Mike Miller, area sales representative.

The ultraviolet system, which destroys mold, viruses and pathogens, is approved for organic produce, he said, and no labeling is required. A unit was installed this year in a bell pepper packinghouse in Florida. Bulb life is projected to be one year, Miller said.

Sambrailo Packaging

Watsonville, Calif.-based Sambrailo Packaging introduced RunRite high-speed clamshell packaging for blueberries.

The clamshells are designed to run at higher speeds through packing lines and allow for easy denesting, align with conveyor guides and have dependable lid closure, said Jim Scattini, director of new business development for Sambrailo.

Scattini also said the company is getting ready to introduce Mixim Snap-Flap containers for spring mix and spinach. A single-unit, double-hinged container, Scattini said the benefits of the Snap-Flap include reduced materials inventory, tamper-evident label, no heat-shrink seal required and reduced product pack time.

San Miguel Produce

San Miguel Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif., rolled out several 8.8-ounce packs of Asian vegetables.

The packs resonate with Chinese consumers because the number eight is considered lucky, and there are Chinese language characters on each pack, said Jan Berk, vice president.

"The pack is authentic to core consumers but also has appeal to crossover consumers," she said.

Berk said the items feature recipes, and the line includes Asian flowering cabbage, baby bok choy and snow pea shoots.

She said the packs allow retailers the chance to create Asian merchandising sets in the produce department, which creates appeal to Asian consumers.

Silliker

Silliker Inc., Modesto, Calif., which markets food safety and quality products, has developed a 14-hour turnaround time to test for salmonella.

Jeanna Kilmer, technical sales manager for Silliker, said the test is Safe Quality Food certified. Kilmer said the company began testing leafy greens in Yuma, Ariz., and has since conducted tests in more than 50 locations around the world. The test is based on DNA testing, Kilmer said.

Silliker also offers technical and auditing services in addition to training and product validation studies.

Sormac

Netherlands-based Sormac introduced the CRR-25 rotary cage peeler, consisting of a large number of peeling rollers forming an elongated drum, said Jeroen Luijten, area sales manager, U.S.

"It's used mostly with baby carrots," Luijten said, "but it's also suitable for baby peels, potatoes, root vegetables and red beets."

The CRR-25 has double bearings on each roller for easy dismantling and side access for cleaning and maintenance, according to a release by the company. There are two separate water systems, which apply water either to the outer side of the roller drum or internally.

Sunkist Growers

Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif., redesigned its meyer lemon package to provide better visibility at retail, said Lance Freeman, marketing associate. Sunkist now has a year-round meyer lemon program, Freeman said, and started distribution of the redesigned bags and cartons at the end of April.

United Fresh 2009: Expo notes part 2
                                                            Dawn Withers



Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif., redesigned its meyer lemon package to provide better visibility of the product at retail.

Sunlight International

Madeline Sabovich, a veteran of the San Joaquin Valley produce industry, has joined the marketing staff at Sunlight International Sales Inc., McFarland, Calif.

Sabovich, a third-generation farming family native of the valley, was previously with Castle Rock Vineyards, Delano, Calif. and Sun Pacific Shippers, Bakersfield, Calif.

TraceGains

Software developments at TraceGains Inc., Longmont, Colo., eliminate anonymity and automate accountability, said William Pape, founder and executive vice president.

The software permits consumers to take digital photographs of in-store products and receive immediate informational replies to text messages, he said. The replies include such information as pesticide application dates, grower-shippers, picking crews and specific locations of harvested fields.

The software service, which includes TraceGrains' hosting of its own servers, may be used at any point in the supply chain, Pape said. Retailers may use the software to determine a commodity's proper rotation, sales performance and shelf life of displayed produce, he said.

Val Verde Vegetable

With the help of a matching funds grant from the "Go Texan" state promotion program, Val Verde Vegetable Co. Inc. promoted the start of the company's Asian vegetable deal in south Texas. Frank Schuster, president of the McAllen, Texas-based company, said the harvest should begin in south Texas by mid-May.

"This is building off the Indian vegetables in the winter trade," he said.

Schuster said the company provided $22,000 to promote Asian vegetables and the state program matched it. The money will be used to advertise and raise awareness about the new deal.

Long squash, Chinese okra, bitter melon, snake gourd, methileaf and daikon are among the items offered in the program.

Van der Graaf Inc. Drum Motors

Brampton, Ontario-based Van der Graaf introduced Crossdrive, an electric rotating cylinder for the end of conveyors - with a twist.

"We've taken the traditional motor and brought the electric motor external," said Mark Robertson, sales and marketing for Van der Graaf. "It gives the customer direct access to the electric motor. It's designed for crucial lines, where you can't be down for more than 15-20 minutes."

Robertson said it is easier to clean, more sanitary for the conveyor system and more efficient. It's just hitting the market now, Robertson said.

United Fresh 2009: Expo notes part 2
                                                              Dawn Withers



Jim Grabowski, merchandising manager for Well-Pict Berries, Watsonville, Calif., and Julie Lucido of Marketing Plus display Well-Pict’s 2-pound strawberry clamshell packs.

Well-Pict Berries

Well-Pict Berries, Watsonville, Calif., showed its 2-pound strawberry clamshell packs it started distributing in March, said Jim Grabowski, merchandising manager. The clamshells are made from recycled water bottles and offer a larger viewing window for consumers to see the strawberries.

Wilkinson Industries

Roy Massey Jr., vice president of research and development for Fort Calhoun, Neb.-based Wilkinson Industries Inc., said the company unveiled a tamper-evident lid for rigid containers. He said the lid replaces the shrink band.

"Now you don't need a shrink band and the labor to apply it," he said.

World Variety Produce

World Variety Produce Inc., Los Angeles, which markets specialties under the Melissa's brand, showed four new products.

The company is offering ready-to-eat fava beans in cartons of 12 3-ounce packs, said Bill Schneider, director of marketing. The fava beans will be starting distribution in May, Schneider said.

The company also redesigned the packaging for its pomegranate arils to include a sleeve over a plastic sealed tray, Schneider said. The product will be available nationwide in late May or June.

Additionally, the company is offering a 6-pound bag of seedless lemons and a 6-ounce peeled pearl onion pack.

YottaMark

Elliot Grant, chief marketing officer for YottaMark, Redwood City, Calif., said the United Fresh Produce Association's traceability demonstration area on the expo floor provided the company a chance to showcase its customers and products. New customers deploying the company's HarvestMark system for item and/or case-level traceability include Sun World International LLC, Bakersfield, Calif.; California Giant Berry Farms, Watsonville,; and Foxy Strawberries and Camarillo Berry Farms, Oxnard, Calif.

HarvestMark launched a G1 phone application for tracing produce products using a cell phone, Grant said.

"We basically wrote an application for the G1 phone that allows the user to point the camera at a label and it instantly traces it - you don't have to type anything in," Grant said.

He said the HarvestMark system has been used on more than a quarter of a billion items. The company is also exploring opportunities in other perishable products, including meat.





Check out more coverage from the show floor of the United Fresh Marketplace in The Packer's United Fresh 2009: Expo notes part 1.