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Christopher Ranch introduces pre-peeled specialty onions in retail consumer packs

by Rand Green | September 08, 2010
Christopher Ranch has added three new packs of peeled specialty onions to its product mix, according to a Sept. 2 press release issued by the Gilroy, CA- based company.

The products are Pearl onions, Cipolline onions and shallots, and Christopher Ranch LLC is offering the value-added pre-peeled products in ready-to-use six-ounce retail consumer bags.

"With the success of its peeled garlic in eco-friendly bags, Christopher Ranch knew the timing was right to expand its consumer line of products in the new packaging," the release stated.

"The six-ounce bags are easy to use and store, and the resealable closure is a press-and-seal type to keep the onions fresh," according to the press release. "Each bag is 100 percent recyclable, and each is coded with a 'best before' date (five weeks from date of peeling). These bags stand up for great retail display but can lay flat in the consumer's refrigerator."

"We have been in the specialty produce business for a very long time" and have long carried Pearl onions, Cipolline onions and shallots as part of the company's product line, Patsy Ross, vice president of marketing at Christopher Ranch, told The Produce News Sept. 8. "We have always had them available fresh" in whole form. The company has also offered the products in peeled form to "the foodservice end of the business."

But the products are new to the retail side, she said, noting that they fit well with the many other "pre-prepped products" that are currently available at grocery stores such as ready-to-use baby carrots, pre-cut salads, coleslaw mixes, other pre-cut vegetables and also pre-cut fruit.

Consumer feedback on whole specialty onions indicates that consumers find them to be "not easy to peel," Ms. Ross said.

With the availability of the new packaging equipment the company is using for peeled garlic in bags, "it is easier for us to try new products," she continued. "So we did a little bit of research with some retail customers and brokers, and they thought there would be an interest for something like this, so we moved forward. We are just at the very beginning stages. It is basically at the sampling stage right now. We are giving it a try, and we will see. So far, the interest level has been high, but it is at the very beginning."

"Pearl and Cipolline onions are tasty and not just used as ingredients but are often served as a side dish," according to the press release. "Shallots are generally used as a sauce onion in French cuisine."

The press release quoted Bill Christopher, managing partner of Christopher Ranch, as saying that the company's foodservice customers "have been enjoying freshly peeled shallots, Pearl and Cipolline onions for years, so we're excited to be able to offer these great products to our retail customers."