Summit Success

Once again, PMA’s annual Fresh Summit entertained and educated attendees.

Potatoes, tomatoes and all types of fresh productsfilled Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center on Oct. 14-16 at this year’s PMA Fresh Summit. The show provided the fresh industry the opportunity to show off its latest and greatest innovations and most popular products. As Grocery Headquarters editors milled about the show floor, some companies stood out more than others. Here is a small sampling of those that did.  


Black Gold Farms 


Black Gold Farms introduced its new “Redventure” campaign, which aims to help retailers engage shoppers and build sales with new ideas, activities and attention-getting merchandising support. 

As a part of the new campaign, the Grand Forks, N.D.-based company developed Chipotle Red Potato Lettuce Cups featuring its products. The recipe won both the Buyers’ Choice and Kids’ Choice awards in the sensory exerience contest.

Visitors to Black Gold Farms’ booth not only got a look at its “Redventure” campaign, they learned how the company will roll out periodic updates throughout the year to keep the promotion seasonally-relevant and fresh.





Officials at Chep North America want it to be known in the industry that the company is much more than a pallet company. In fact, these executives at the Atlanta-based company said they could offer innovative solutions to their partners that can generate savings, increase sales and eliminate empty truck miles and the carbon dioxide emissions that come with them. 

Jason Adlam, vice president of new business development, said that companies that partnered with Chep from July 2015 to June of this year generated $20 million in savings, $13 million in incremental revenue and eliminated 3.5 million empty miles. 

“Our goal is to give our partners a solution that will help them look at their carbon footprint and save them on costs and increase revenue,” he noted. 

Skip Miller, vice president of customer service and solutions added: “This data represents the outstanding results of working together with our customers to optimize their supply chains. Our supply chain solutions portfolio is a collection of powerful tools that leverage our end-to-end supply chain expertise to help customers become more efficient, save money and improve sustainability.”

Chep’s portfolio addresses such specific supply chain opportunities as value stream mapping, sustainability, store fulfillment, transportation solutions and platform management. 


Mann Packing Co. 


Mann Packing Co. showed off the newest addition to its recently launched Mann’s Nourish Bowls line of single-serve, warm meals. The new Cauli-Rice Curry bowl offers a mix of finely chopped cauliflower, chickpeas, and savory vindaloo-style curry sauce to capitalize on the growing Indian cuisine trend, which is the fastest growing ethnic food segment in the U.S., company officials said. 

Mann’s, based in Salinas, Calif., also debuted packaging for its Sweet Potato Ribbons and Butternut Squash Zig Zags, unifying them with the Mann’s Culinary Cuts line, which includes shaved Brussels sprouts, cauliflower cauliettes and broccoli clovers. 

Not only will the appearance of the products be noticeably different, said officials, customers will also appreciate the consistency of the look, as the new bags feature improved physical characteristics designed to enhance shelf life. 




NatureSweet introduced its “Tomatoes Raised Right” campaign, which tells the story of how the company’s tomatoes are grown from start to finish.

In addition to the colorful new campaign, the San Antonio, Texas-based company launched its Cherub tomatoes in an 18-ounce size and its Constellation pack, which bears the slogan “a tomato for every occasion,” in a 16.5-ounce value size. Lori Castillo, brand manager, said the new sizes were inspired by consumers’ shopping habits

“It’s great for holiday entertaining and if a shopper isn’t going to visit the grocery store every day, this holds them over for a few extra days,” she said. 


​Potandon Produce


Potandon Produce debuted its line of Light-Blocking potato bags. The bags, which officials for the Idaho Falls, Idaho-based company said feature cutting edge technology, are available in the Green Giant line. 

The technology behind the bags was developed at Michigan State University’s School of Packaging. The end result of the long study was a Light- Blocker Half-N-Half bag that was proven to extend shelf life of potatoes, said Potandon officials. They added that the bags block out 99.5 percent of all visible and ultraviolet light rays, cutting down significantly on product greening. The bags also boast the ability to reduced dehydration, weight loss and sprouting incidences. 




RPE served up samples of its newest products from its Tasteful Selections brand: Take Shake single-serve cups and Season & Savor microwavable trays. Both ready-to-heat lines feature bite-sized potatoes in flavors such as Chipotle BBQ, Smoky Bacon & Ranch and Brown Sugar & Cinnamon. Visitors to the booth also had the opportunity to taste the Bancroft, Wis.-based company’s new Old Oak Farms Party Potatoes, which are quick and easy to prepare fingerlings offered in a high graphic 24-ounce poly-mesh bag.

In addition to these new innovations, RPE highlighted expansions to its organic program. RPE’s long-time growing partner, Chad Malek, experienced an unfortunate warehouse fire in 2015, but has since rebuilt a new facility that has allowed him to expand his organic program and provide other organic potato growers the space to wash, cool and store their organic potatoes. The new facility is capable of handling more varieties and sizes at one time, said company officials. RPE has also developed an expansion with organic sweet potato growers in Mississippi.


Shuman Produce


Shuman Produce is set to expand away from its well-known line of sweet onions to include such products as broccoli, Peruvian Onions and sweet potatoes. 

“We see a lot of opportunity out there for us,” said John Shuman, president of the Reidsville, Ga.-based company. “We are trying to diversify our operations and leverage our resources in farmland to offer these new products.”

Peruvian Onions from Shuman are available now through the end of February. Sweet potatoes from the company are also available now and broccoli will hit the market in early December. “We planted our first crop of broccoli this fall and we are very excited about it,” he noted. “Sweet potatoes consumption is starting to grow again and we believe our products, with their excellent taste, will be noticed by consumers.”    


More from our partners