(UPDATED COVERAGE, Jan. 28) Repositioning itself as a value-added provider, Pero Vegetable Co. LLC has changed its name and is entering the fresh-cut vegetables segment.

Pero Family Farms is the new name of the Delray Beach, Fla.-based vegetables grower-shipper, which rolled out a retail line of fresh-cut vegetables and salad topping packs in late January.

Pero Family Farms Food Co. LLC is the legal name of the company that will market and distribute Pero’s products.

Pero’s trademarked “Salad CutUps” come in five varieties of washed and ready-to-eat gourmet toppings that feature different combinations of diced green and/or red bell peppers.

Pero is also introducing microwaveable green beans packs, bags of cut bell peppers mixed with yellow onions and packs of cut colored red and green pepper mixes.

UPDATED: Pero Vegetable changes name for value-added focus

Courtesy Pero Family Farms

Pero Family Farms is entering the fresh-cut market with five varieties of salad toppings. Other fresh-cut products from the company include cut red and green bell pepper packs and microwaveable bags of green beans.

UPDATED: Pero Vegetable changes name for value-added focus

Courtesy Pero Family Farms

Pero Family Farms sells packs of fresh-cut bell pepper and onion mixes, and more value-added products are planned for the 101-year-old company that recently changed its name from Pero Vegetable Co.

Ed Sullivan, Pero Family Farms’ chief marketing officer, said the name change comes with the rebranding of vegetable packs to ensure marketplace continuity with retailers and shoppers.

“We almost left Pero Vegetables in the commodity business because it had such a heritage to it,” Sullivan said. “Because our customers know the Pero name, we didn’t want to create inconsistency in the brand and decided to keep the Pero name in place.  This is the warmest approach that really states what the company is: a farm-based organization in these businesses that best expresses the company’s heritage and speaks to consumers.”

In 2006, Pero changed from Pero Packing & Sales Inc. to Pero Vegetable Co. LLC.

Declining to state the cost of the fresh-cut addition, Sullivan said the family company invested millions of dollars in the fresh-cut processing line at Pero’s Palm Beach County operation.

Peter Pero, chief executive officer, conceived the idea of the 101-year-old company entering the fresh-cut business, Sullivan said.

Sullivan said new produce marketplace has been pushing more towards value-added product and that Pero Family Farms has an advantage because it owns the growing operations.

While the products are primarily marketed to retail customers, Sullivan said Pero sells some 5- and 10-pound packs to south Florida foodservice customers such as Sysco. Sullivan said that segment doesn’t constitute the core of Pero’s sales.

While most companies that have built their business in fresh-cut rely 80% on foodservice sales, Sullivan said Pero plans to flip that paradigm and rely on 80% retail sales for its fresh-cut products.

“There are some companies that have an aspiration to do fresh-cut, but it’s a hard business,” Sullivan said. “You have to have something innovative and different. We don’t plan to knock someone off the shelf that’s doing a good job. The Salad Cut Ups is an example of how you can be innovative and think of offering some new (stock-keeping units) to stores and help them make profits where they haven’t made profits before.”

The Salad Cut Ups line, comes in 6.5-ounce and 7.5-ounce packs:

  • The garden pack features green bell peppers, diced cucumbers, grape tomatoes, chopped red onions and julienned carrots.
  • The Asian variety has green and red bell peppers, snow peas, shredded red cabbage and wonton strips.
  • The Tuscan variety includes green and red bell peppers, garbanzo beans, cabbage and onions.
  • The Double R pack has green and red bell peppers, diced cucumbers, tomatoes and ranch-flavored croutons.
  • The Southwest blend has green and red bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, corn tortilla trips and pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds).

Sullivan said Pero Family Farms plans to release other convenience-oriented microwavable products this year and is consumer testing a prepared foods product.

Green beans, which come in 12-ounce microwaveable packs, are available in conventional and organic.