U.S. company Village Farms has won this year’s Joe Nucci Award for Product Innovation at the New York Produce Show and Conference for its Stackable Snackables tomato line.
Helen Aquino, the company’s director of brand marketing and communications, was presented the award during the Thought-Leader breakfast which was part of the all-encompassing four-day event presented by Produce Business and the Eastern Produce Council.
The award was presented by Jim Prevor of Produce Business and Joe Nucci’s sister Lorri Koster.
Stackable Snackables were launched by the vertically integrated greenhouse grower this year. The top-seal program is for the company’s exclusive specialty snacking tomatoes, uniting a family of varieties under bold and colorful imagery.
Available in 10 oz.-sized containers are Heavenly Villagio Marzano, Cabernet Estate Reserve, Cherry No. 9, Lip Smackn’ Grape, Maverick Mix and Lorabella Blossom. Each variety has its own branding identity.
Aquino said the company, which was nominated for the award last year, was “beyond elated” to win the award.
“This is our first year to win the overall Joe Nucci award, and it’s very exciting for us,” she said.
She explained that the tomato line is designed to make healthy snacking fun and easy for consumers with its high-impact graphics.
“We’ve had a really great response to this from our own retailers. They’re very intrigued, first and foremost, by the new designs. They’re looking to brighten up the shelf and create some point of differentiation,” she said.
In addition, she said retailers are embracing the program for its three-fold benefits; more items per square inch of merchandising space allowing five-high container stacking, increased shelf life compared to bags or clamshells and reduced plastic waste compared to clamshells making top seal better for the environment.
While top-seal packaging is common in Canada, it is relatively new in the U.S, she said.
“We wanted them to understand the benefit for themselves – that’s why we developed the Stackable Snackables. We also did side-by-side shelf life testing and found that the top seal actually performs 10% better compared to a clamshell,” she said.
She added that the combination of the great visuals and the ability to stack the packages high helped lead to the product line’s slogan: “Stack ‘Em High, Watch ‘Em Fly.”