Okanagan Specialty Fruits' President Neal Carter Shares Details of PMA Fresh Summit Plans
SUMMERLAND, BC, CANADA - For those familiar with the trade show circuit, the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Fresh Summit is a whirlwind of networking and innovation. As we navigate the lead-up to the show, we’ve touched base with some companies we believe buyers should mark on their “must-see” list. Okanagan Specialty Fruits® is one such company. I talked to President Neal Carter to find out what Okanagan Specialty Fruits has in store for showgoers.
“This year, we're excited to continue the expansion of our product line and are offering two new options for our customers,” he began. “Our brand-new 5 oz packages of fresh slices will be available in both our Arctic® Golden and Arctic® Granny varieties and are the perfect size for grab ‘n go snacking. This is also the first year that our harvest will support our introduction into the foodservice industry so we are thrilled to be debuting a 40 oz option specifically for foodservice and retail in-store fresh-cut programs.”
In addition, Okanagan will be showcasing its Arctic ApBitz®, which are dried apple snacks in the shape of fries. As the perfect snacking option, ApBitz contains just the one ingredient: Arctic apples. Samples of both products will be available for attendees to try, alongside a new “Charcuterie Bar” where folks can experiment with different food pairings for Arctic apples. (Exactly what my millennial heart desires!)
“Our key messaging at the show reinforces the many opportunities that Arctic apples offer to the produce industry. The just-picked flavor and fresh appearance of Arctic apple slices provide retail and foodservice the ability to utilize fresh slices without sacrificing flavor, convenience, and customer satisfaction,” Neal explained to me. “We are also excited to share the results from comparative taste testing research we completed earlier this year. In taste comparisons, consumers prefer fresh Arctic Golden apple slices over sweet, red apple slices of the leading national sliced apple brand. The results are a testament to the exceptional quality of Arctic apple slices.”
Given that Okanagan developed Arctic apples specifically for slicing, the result is a just-picked eating experience that’s unparalleled, Neal shared. The non-browning benefit of Arctic apples also ensures that “fewer apples are wasted and more apples are tasted.” A sentiment we can all get behind, I’m sure.
As the company makes its way into the foodservice sector, I asked Neal how this was made possible, and what Okanagan has done to ensure new growth opportunities.
“We expect to have 8.5 million pounds from the 2019 crop, a substantial volume increase over the 1.7 million pounds produced in 2018. This large volume increase opens up new opportunities for our company including new retail partnerships and our entry into the foodservice industry,” he shared.
The exciting news doesn’t end there, as Neal offered up another tidbit before signing off.
“We’re also extremely excited to be launching our new tagline at Fresh Summit: Cool Fruit, Epic Freshness™. We have a 'cool' new booth this year, and we will have an 'epic' prize wheel that you can spin to win some swag and a chance to win an Apple watch,” he concluded.
Do you need any more reasons to check out Okanagan Specialty Fruits? Stop by booth #183 to see the apple wizards in person, and follow alongside AndNowUKnow’s coverage of the event.