Eurofresh Farms has redesigned package labels for its fresh tomatoes and cucumbers to inform consumers about growing practices, care and handling tips. The "Fresh Idea" labels will also help retailers notify consumers about the best uses for each variety.
Research conducted by the Perishables Group, a fresh food industry consulting firm, showed that 66 percent of shoppers do not know which type of tomato is best used for sandwiches, recipes or snacking. Pictures of pasta sauces, salads and sandwiches featured on the labels will identify the produce as ingredients in homemade meals.
Dwight Ferguson, chief executive officer of Eurofresh Farms, a leading U.S. producer of greenhouse tomatoes, said that consumers are interested in trying new, fresh produce varieties and want to know more about what they are eating before they make their purchases.
"Shoppers today are easily confused by the variety of tomatoes available, and several retailers have asked for solutions in educating consumers on how to incorporate our produce into meals," Mr. Ferguson said in an Aug. 12 press release. "Given the range of tastes and shapes associated with grape, Campari, Roma and other tomato-on-the-vine varieties, we want to provide fresh ideas to help our customer's customers make better purchasing decisions. We also want to encourage multiple variety purchases."
Locally grown produce is also important to Eurofresh Farms' consumers, according to the Perishables Group research, as 68 percent of those surveyed want to know where their tomatoes are grown. The company made sure to display "Grown in the USA" prominently on its labels to let shoppers know that the produce is grown domestically.
"Last year's Salmonella scare caused consumers to be wary of growing conditions and more aware of where their food comes from," Mr. Ferguson added in the press release. "We feel it's important for shoppers to know there are farmers in the United States supporting safe growing practices and their local economy."
The "Fresh Idea" labels also educate consumers on how to best care for their tomatoes. More than 50 percent of consumers still store tomatoes in the refrigerator, but Mr. Ferguson noted that this hurts flavor and can speed the ripening process. The company's new labels state that fresh, whole tomatoes are best if stored at room temperature, he said.