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Del Monte's 'Find Your Inner Chef' competition

delvidMIAMI — Kara Adanalian of Fresno, CA, took top honors in the Del Monte Fresh "Find Your Inner Chef" competition, besting runner-up Karen Gulkin of Greeley, CO, in a cook off held at the Miami Culinary Institute, here.

"The cook off event was as exciting to witness as it was to judge the entire span of the contest from launch to today's cooking competition," said Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing, North America, for Del Monte Fresh, based in Coral Gables, FL. "We're amazed at each finalist's culinary skills and at their creativity in using specific ingredients such as our Del Monte fresh fruits and vegetables during this intense competition."

Christou told The Produce News that the goal of the contest was to try to get fresh fruits and vegetables more integrated into everyday life.

"Consumers want ideas about how to use fresh fruits and vegetables, so we thought this would be a great idea to introduce people who regularly use them," he said. "At Del Monte, we are trying to become more relevant to consumers, and this contest was a way to do that, and it was extremely successful. We hope to build on this in the future."

T&A's Artisan lettuce perfect for Fourth of July celebrations

ta2As the Fourth of July approaches and consumers are shopping for their parties and cookouts, Tanimura & Antle's field-packed heart-healthy Artisan lettuce is sure to catch their eyes.

The packaging process for T&A's Artisan lettuce offers superior freshness and protection as a direct response to consumer preferences and retailer requests.

"This product has been field harvested and packed in a specially designed clamshell for freshness, then carefully packed in a carton and palletized," said Brian Antle. "From the field the lettuce is transported as quickly as possible to our facility to be cooled before being loaded onto a refrigerated trailer to transport to retail locations."

Each Artisan lettuce four-count clamshell will make at least eight side salads or four main dish salads. Unlike other lettuce blends, Artisan lettuce won't wilt when dressed, so consumers can choose the dressing that suits their final salad creation.

The convenience of this item makes it perfect for holiday get-togethers, and the company's lettuce is grown entirely on U.S. family farms, making T&A's verdant fields of lettuce as American as amber waves of grain.

Artisan lettuce is certified as a heart-healthy food by the American Heart Association. Packages feature the Heart Check mark, which easily identifies it as a sensible food choice in an overall heart-healthy diet.

Tanimura & Antle's Artisan lettuce is a select seed variety that has been carefully chosen for premium flavor, quality and variety. It includes three different petite whole head lettuce in both red and green varieties.

Buyer demand drives T&A's reintroduction of 'Field-Fresh' wrapped leaf lettuce

tavideo imageSomeone once said, "What's old is new again." Reviving a unique harvesting technique originally launched a decade ago, Salinas-based Tanimura & Antle has reintroduced its "Field-Fresh" wrapped leaf lettuce for one simple reason: buying segment demand.

T&A's research shows that its field pack technique increases shelf life by 11 days and reduces shrink 20 percent. These compelling stats, coupled with buying segment demand for the reintroduction of the process, have prompted T&A to return to a field pack process it originally launched more than 10 years ago.

"The special plastic and the sealing process we use on the whole leaf product keeps the lettuce more fresh and protects it," Brian Antle said in a field interview video. "There isn't as much handling of the product in the short amount of time it takes to go from the field to the box."

To help retailers educate shoppers on what it takes to get product from the field to the supermarket, T&A's field wrap plastic and channel strips carry a QR code that directs smartphone users to videos showing T&A’s lettuce being harvested and packed, as well as tips for preparation when it reaches consumer kitchens.

All Tanimura & Antle vegetables are field packed. T&A currently offers several varieties of field-fresh packed lettuce: romaine, red and green leaf, endive and escarole.

Retailers, growers join Produce for Kids to provide $4 million in donations to charities in a decade

produce kids Produce for Kids has donated more than $4.1 million to children’s charitable concerns, including the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and DonorsChoose.org. The program brings grower-shippers and retailers together to help raise funds that stay in the local community.

Produce for Kids started as a one-time spring promotion, conceived by John Shuman of Shuman Produce in Reidsville, GA, after his young son received care at a Children’s Miracle Network hospital. Shuman connected with Orlando, FL, marketer Heidi McIntyre for that first campaign. The results were so overwhelming the campaigns continued and Produce for Kids has since become a full-time, stand-alone organization.

Here’s a look at the highlights of last year’s Produce for Kids activities.

RockTenn’s Meta series improves efficiency with better strength and cost savings

Norcross, GA-based RockTenn, one of North America’s leading vertically integrated packaging manufacturers, has introduced a pair of products that can provide produce shippers substantial savings on materials and freight, as well as allow for better packouts and more product per pallet.

The “Meta” case and the “Meta Tray-8” have already helped some shippers save money and increase efficiency in produce distribution. The products, part of RockTenn’s trademarked “Meta System,” are engineered to provide greater strength and product protection while utilizing as much as 11 percent less fiber in production. The result is a lighter product that provides more support in critical areas and allows more produce to be packaged in the same amount of space as traditional materials. The new designs also let shippers add an extra layer to a pallet to cut shipping costs.

Here’s a look at the Meta production process and resulting benefits.