Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc. will release a new eight-ounce stand-up
bag for its roasted pistachios in mid-October, company officials said.
Joseph Setton, the firm's vice president of sales and marketing, told The
Produce News Sept. 22 that "the smaller pack size is attractive this year
because of pricing," and added that the firm believes that this will help
increase sales of pistachios that might otherwise be lower due to the
downturn in the economy.
The new bag will join the firm’s 16- and 32-ounce stand-up bags, Mr. Setton
said, noting that the company also offers its pistachios in 12-, 16- and 48-
ounce lay-down bags.
Setton Pistachio also plans to release several specially designed shippers,
complete with eye-catching graphics, for the new bags, including one that is
designed for retailers’ checkout aisles.
“We will have various sizes to provide flexibility for produce buyers,” Mia
Cohen, the firm’s chief operating officer, told The Produce News. “They will
also [enable] us to create programs for promotions during the year.”
Ms. Cohen said that the release of the new packaging was “purposefully
timed” to coincide with the new pistachio crop harvest, which is currently
“We are expecting good quality and size,” she said, noting that estimates call
for the crop to be about 400 million pounds, “which taking into consideration
the lack of carryover into this year is on par with the salable supply of last
The family-owned-and-operated firm is one of the United States’ larger
growers and processors of pistachios.
“Our goal is to increase household penetration,” Ms. Cohen said. “The more
[consumers] eat, the more they will continue to purchase” pistachios because
“they are delicious and good for you too.”
To that end, the firm has a heart healthy logo prominently displayed on the
front of its pistachio packaging and a qualified health claim on the back.
Ms. Cohen mentioned several health benefits that pistachios provide,
including reducing the risk of heart disease and Type II diabetes. At 49 nuts
per serving, pistachios offer the largest amount per serving of any nut, she
“They also promote satiety, so consumers feel full faster,” one of the more
important inherent characteristics of pistachios, she said.
Setton Pistachio’s commitment to California pistachios does not stop at
marketing. It extends to its food-safety message and its ongoing investment
in its food-safety program, Ms. Cohen said.
The firm has implemented and continues to improve upon its food-safety
program which “is arguably one of the most sophisticated programs in the
entire nut industry,” Lee Cohen, the firm’s general manager, said in an e-mail
correspondence. “Our thinking surrounding food safety revolves around a
single principle, which is a complete and absolute commitment to the
underlying science behind food safety. We have drawn on internal technical
resources as well as external scientists, consultants and engineers to lay a
framework for our quality program, which is grounded in science.”
Mr. Cohen said that “we are currently utilizing concepts from
thermodynamics, microbiology, chemistry, anemometry, optics, electrical and
mechanical engineering in our program. In 2009, we conducted an exhaustive
review and GAP analysis of our food-safety program, and [created] a program
which strategically addressed as many vulnerabilities in our food supply chain
He said that the program starts in its pistachio orchards, where the firm has
implemented a Good Agricultural Practices program that “educates our
partner-growers on best practices for farming and harvesting as well as
bringing them up to speed on the latest agricultural and pesticide research. This harvest we also expanded our water treatment program to monitor, test,
treat and recycle processing water used during the water-intensive pistachio
harvest. Most of our water is recycled back to our orchards. Additionally, in
cooperation with a leading bird control organization, Setton installed bird
control netting over our main pistachio hulling facility as an added preventive
Setton Pistachio employs a wide array of optical devices to safeguard against
defective pistachios entering its supply chain, and “as a first for the industry,
last year Setton designed and implemented a facility-wide anemometry [air-
flow control] program to control and minimize potential cross-contamination
through airborne risks,” he said.
In another first for the industry, Setton Pistachio is also “in the process of
scientifically validating mechanical auto samplers for microbial and aflatoxin
sampling,” he said. “These devices were designed, engineered and
manufactured in-house and are compliant with sampling protocols defined in
the CODEX Alimentarius and the International Commission on Microbiological
Specification for Foods.”
He concluded, “Setton is proud of our food-safety program. We have
implemented a state-of-the-art food-safety program that distinguishes us
from our competitors. As a result, the quality and wholesomeness of our
pistachios is universally unparalleled.”