Jordan Okumura's PMA Fresh Summit 2016 Picks
ORLANDO, FL - This year’s PMA Fresh Summit went off without a hitch, with record attendance, a buying community in force, and products to raise the bar in how we define flavor and produce innovation. Each year, for the past five that I have called this industry home, I have been constantly delighted and thrilled by how much the produce possibilities continue to evolve; from show-to-show, season-to-season.
As I walked the show floor this year, I took in the sights and sounds, flavors and trends, conversations and stories, of an industry that compares to no other. So what stood out to me in 2016? Here are a few of the many items, that caught my eye in Orlando, Florida.
Sun Pacific Mighties®
The first time I had a piece of kiwifruit, my mother told me to eat the peel. It has been one of my favorite fruits since then. I love a dynamic produce item; one that is flavorful and complex, convenient and colorful, nutrition-packed and in this case…fuzzy. What Sun Pacific has done with its Mighties campaign is introduced pure joy and fun into the produce department by bringing kiwifruit into the consumer fold. With vibrant, high-graphic merchandising support, and an on-trend product that is growing across the consumer palate, I can’t wait to see what this company will be bring to the category next.
SUNSET® Dill It Yourself™ Pickle Kits
When SUNSET® says that this is not your typical pickle, the team means it. With pickling trends skyrocketing at both retail and food service, its easy to see why this company created a product like this as it continues to bring value to the retailer. I grew up on pickled everything with my Japanese background, and this pickling kit calls not only to my current flavor preferences, but to my childhood as well. With a mix of nostalgia and a desire for amazingly flavorful produce options, I chose the kit to accompany this list. Consumers are presented with a pail of mini cucumbers and a perfectly portioned spice packet. Simply slice the cucumbers, add water and vinegar, stir in the spice packet, and refrigerate overnight. My kind of product!
Braga Fresh’s Josie’s Organics Sweet Kale Chopped Salad and Asian Chopped Salad
Yes please! Convenience is a theme here at AndNowUKnow. We are constantly looking for those items that build the trends we see in the value-added category and I believe that Braga Fresh has hit the mark. The company recently debuted its new Organic Chopped Salads under the Josie’s Organics brand and with the growth in organics, I can only see the popularity rising. What I really like about these items is the way they build flavor. The company’s Organic Sweet Kale Chopped Salad brings together dried cranberries, roasted pumpkin seeds, and poppy seed dressing, combined with kale, broccoli, green cabbage, and radicchio, while the Organic Asian Chopped Salad combines wonton strips, sliced almonds, and sesame dressing along with green onions, cilantro, celery, carrots, and green cabbage. Definitely adding these to my consumer basket.
Monterey Mushroom’s Portabella Porter
The first time I tried this libation, I was walking the floor at PMA Foodservice in Monterey. After trying it out, my only complaint was that the glass was not nearly big enough. This creation by Chris Thomsen, a spawn maker and mushroom grower for the company, is infused with Portabella mushrooms, and has a smooth delivery, with a subtle earthy, and sweet, finish. Just like the end of a show Should be. Lucky for those who attended Fresh Summit, Monterey Mushrooms brought out the treat again and quenched the thirst of many an attendee. My request now for Monterey Mushrooms…make it for mass market consumption, please! I would be a loyal customer.
Yerecic’s FlagTag! Label
Packaging should be an experience, at least I think so. The new FlagTag! label construction duo, is just that. This innovation seeks to add value tailored to the demands and desire of the customer, whether a company wants to add height to an item on the store shelf, or a pop of color on a clamshell, the FlagTag! Enhances a product to promote impulse purchases. Essentially it will “flag” you down, and then deliver added-value by showcasing dinner inspirations on the label, or highlighting low-price promotions. A win-win? I think so.
Walking the show floor from end-to-end is a great reminder of how our industry drives and answers trends and demand. Cheers, to PMA and the all that gathered in Orlando, on another amazing show!