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CMI hits home run with two-pound pouch

Columbia Marketing International, headquartered in Wenatchee, WA, believes it has hit a home run with the introduction of its new two-pound stand-up fruit pouch.

"They have a rich premium look," Vice President of Marketing Bob Mast told The Produce News on Sept. 21. The bag will be one of several new items to be rolled out at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit in October.

CMI owners and growers, as CMI-collagewell as members of the sales, marketing and export teams, will be available at Booth No. 4202.

"There is some really nice clarity to these bags," Mr. Mast said, adding that they are versatile and can be used for a variety of fruits such as apples and pears. "The two-pound bag allows consumers to try a product without so much sticker shock at the register."

PLU codes are printed directly on the bag handles, eliminating any confusion when cashiers ring up consumer purchases.

The bags are part of a new marketing campaign for the Ambrosia and Kiku apple varieties. Mr. Mast said that Ambrosias have become extremely popular, and this season a total of 500,000 cartons will be marketed.

"We will be at a million boxes in the next five years," he said of the variety's planned growth. "It's a very precocious variety. It continues to get incredibly positive feedback."

Ambrosia cartons have also been updated. According to Mr. Mast, the cartons are stackable and create an attractive pattern in retail space. The company's Ambrosia shipper has also been redesigned this season. "It has a compartment that holds tote bags," Mr. Mast said. Information about the Ambrosia apple story is printed on the bags. "It takes the story and message down to the consumer level," he went on to say.

Similar bags and shippers will also be introduced for another CMI darling, the Kiku apple. "This is the first time we will roll out a shipper for Kiku," Mr. Mast commented.

In addition to the two-pound pouch bags, traditional polybags will also be available. Mr. Mast said that the bags will feature QR codes and information that will take consumers to Facebook to learn more about the varieties.

As part of its marketing effort, a special contest for Ambrosias will be announced on Facebook. And CMI is participating in a global contest where consumers will have a chance to design a Kiku tee shirt.

CMI's line of organic fruit is marketed under the "Daisy Girl" brand. Mr. Mast said organic fruit will also be available in the two-pound pouch.

He noted that the premium pouch is filled by hand. CMI is hoping to be able to automate the process in the future.

On the conventional side, CMI will introduce a new "Orchard Fresh" display-ready box featuring bright colors juxtaposed with a look from days gone by.

"They're nice stackable boxes," Mr. Mast said. They have been designed to display a variety of fruits and accommodate various types of packaging.