Fresh Ideas: Expanding our horizons – and yours
When I was a produce clerk, our store had just started to receive an exciting new product: pre-cut bagged salad. They occupied far less space than the heads of lettuce that we would carefully stack so they wouldn’t roll down the aisles like leafy green bowling balls. These bags were the only types of precut produce available, other than what we cut ourselves.
Today, if you go into any retail produce department, the bagged salads and other mixes occupy far more space than those heads of lettuce. And it’s not just about salads. Shoppers can find various kinds of fruits and vegetables cut into a variety of shapes and sold on their own or combined with other products.
Those products do not exist in a vacuum. They are key players in a department known as “produce” that is part of an entity known as a “grocery store” where consumers can find products made from fruit and vegetables in many different forms.
Over the past two decades, we have focused exclusively on the fresh-cut industry. In the process, we have discovered so many other ways that produce can be processed — and are finding out about new ones all the time. Many of the issues that affect fresh-cut also affect these other kinds of produce processors, such as food safety, cold chain, packaging, traceability, marketing, government regulations and equipment.
That’s why we have decided to transform Fresh Cut magazine into a new entity called Produce Processing. We will continue to cover the fresh-cut industry, and place a very high value on it. That won’t change. What we’re doing is taking a “both/and” approach to all the ways produce can be processed. Think of it as visiting the whole store in search of fruits and vegetables, including the frozen, canned, juice and condiment aisles.
Thanks for all your support of Fresh Cut over the years and watch for the first issue of Produce Processing in January of 2015.