California-based Readypac has seen strong growth for fresh cut fruit, while in August it will be launching a line of five fruit parfait products with yogurt and granola. Marketing director Tristan Simpson tells www.freshfruitportal.com how the different products could help raise overall fruit consumption by finding a new market niche.
A messy mango or a spiky pineapple can be unwieldy for the uninitiated consumer, while the busy lifestyles of U.S. consumers mean less time for preparation, even for those who love to get their hands into it.
National Mango Board (NMB) statistics show the country's mango sales haves risen significantly over the last four years, but the U.S. still lags behind other key markets in consumption. Simpson says her company's fresh cut approach to the fruit is helping boost the category.
"Convenience is a significant driver, so with mangoes we find the challenge is getting consumers understanding first of all how wonderful they are, and secondly how to cut the mango so it can be an educational opportunity," says Simpson.
"To the point of why in the United States it hasn’t taken as strong a hold, it’s that convenience factor, and the educational hurdle in understanding how to cut.
"Interestingly enough, the fresh cut mango that we sell does extremely well, and people can just simply enjoy it."
Mangoes will be one of four fruit categories the company will include in a fruit parfait range to be launched in August, which Simpson describes as ideal with kids going back to school and the onset of the fall season.
Other parfait products will include blueberries, red grapes, apples and a mango-apple blend.
"We're trying to get consumers to incorporate fruit into their diet, and the nice part about about this particular project is it creates that meal occasion all ready; it's all in tact with the yogurt, the granola and the fresh fruit," she says.
"A lot of the feedback we’ve received about the potential for this product is that it really sits nicely into a breakfast where in and of itself it is a breakfast meal because of its size.
"It's really capturing that market that a lot of supermarkets are possibly missing out to food service chains like a Starbacks or a Panera, where people are grabbing on the run for breakfast; supermarkets are looking to see if they can participate in that."
She says the initiative creates opportunities for a range of different players across the supply chain.
"An interesting point to make is that it really fits a need on a number of different levels, so from the farm all the way to the store, you’ve got the growers looking for outlets, but we also have to look at the other side about what consumers are looking for, and what value it is providing for them.
"The nice part is it provides a different way to offer that same item; whether it is a bowl of fresh cut mangoes for the family, or fresh cut mangoes in a single serving of a parfait, we’re still accomplishing the same goal which is increasing the consumption of fresh fruit."
She adds the fresh cut apple volume has been significant for the company, while seasonal medleys and pineapples have also shown positive sales results.