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Wonderful says seedless lemons will be ‘game-changer’

CHICAGO — With an eye toward continued innovation in the produce industry, The Wonderful Company officially launched its new line of seedless lemons at the United Fresh trade show, here, sweetening an already popular and growing category.

Diana Salsa, director of marketing for the Los Angeles-based company, told The Produce News that the plan to market seedless lemons has been in the works for a couple of years after its farming team discovered the lemon variety in Australia. Wonderful has now secured the exclusive rights to market the lemons in North America, and production is under way.

Wondertful-10596-600-450-80Diana Salsa of Wonderful Cos. promoted the company's recently announced seedless lemons and new Chili Roasted and Honey Roasted shelled pistachios.“This is our first year and production will be somewhat limited, but we will soon be able to provide year-round supply,” she said.

Grown in Mexico and Ventura County, CA, the lemons are naturally seedless, Non-GMO Project Verified, so no netting will be required in the orchards.

“The lemon category has doubled in the last five years,” said Salsa. “We have done some consumer studies, which revealed that although consumers like lemons, they find the seeds to be very annoying and they would be willing to pay a premium for a seedless lemon. Like our other innovations in the produce department, we view this as a game-changer.”

The study revealed that ease and efficiency were the top two benefits of purchasing a seedless lemon, and 83 percent of lemon buyers said they are likely to purchase a seedless lemon, with 81 percent citing the inconvenience of seeds as a key reason.

Salsa said the company would be very visible in the produce department, with a team of merchandisers and retail displays for the seedless lemons once it starts shipping the fruit in October. Initially, the fruit will be available in one- and two-pound bags for retail, with separate packaging and strategy for foodservice. She said acreage will increase significantly in the next three years, based on the anticipated strong demand.

“We have proven success with our merchandising model, based on what we have done with Halos,” she said.

New pistachio flavors on the way

Wonderful also used the United Fresh convention to feature two new flavors in its line of shelled pistachios.

Joining its popular Roasted & Salted No Shells pistachios are Honey Roasted and Chili Roasted No Shell pistachios, in bright, attention-grabbing packaging.

“These exciting new flavors will be available at retail on July 29,” said Salsa. “We have also relaunched our other packaging to make it stand out even more and reinforce that Wonderful pistachios are the No. 1 healthy snack in the United States.”

Salsa said Wonderful’s full-service market research team tested various flavors and identified these two as winners.

“Similar to our other pistachio products, we will offer these new flavors in various sizes,” she said. “There will be something for everyone.”