Valley Growers Using Imaginative Packaging


As the competition for shelf space in the grocery store intensifies, produce and packaging companies are trying harder to lure consumers with new and attractive containers.

In California's central San Joaquin Valley, a leading producer of fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts, three companies have rolled out, or will soon introduce, several new products: premium peaches in an easy-to-carry box, fresh salad toppings and destemmed grapes in a plastic bag.

Food companies say the new products and packages provide convenience, the perception of higher quality and potentially increased consumption.

If the products take off, it won't just be farmers who stand to benefit. The makers of the packages, boxes and equipment--many also based in the Valley--will see a boost in business too.

For some, that is already happening.

"There is no question that we are seeing more interest from people wanting to move away from traditional packaging and into something where they can create a brand for their produce," said Darin Jones, executive vice president of Modesto-based Pacific Southwest Containers.

Jones' company, which has a manufacturing plant in Visalia, designs and creates packages for everyone from winemakers to peach growers. Sales at Pacific Southwest Containers have grown 20 percent over the last two years.