The phrase “less is more” applies to many different facets of life and business. In the food realm, more consumers are gravitating toward small plates and appetizers, such as Spanish tapas. Noticing bite-size trends in snacking, Mucci Farms, based in Kingsville, Ontario, produced and soft-launched its own new product, ultra-small CuteCumber Poppers.
Below, Mucci Farms director of marketing Emily Murracas, gives us the dish on this new offering.
Produce Grower: Mini cucumbers are already pretty small, and CuteCumbers are even smaller. Why did Mucci Farms decide to grow and sell these snacks?
Emily Murracas: At Mucci Farms, we are always focused on finding ways to have an impact on the snacking category. Trends over the past few years have showed us that snacking and convenience are amongst the most rapidly growing areas of the food industry but the space is dominated [by] unhealthy options. With an emphasis on introducing fresh fruits and vegetables to children in particular, we saw a new opportunity with CuteCumber Poppers that we could market as a kid-sized product, to add to our already existing lineup of kid-friendly items. With no cutting or chopping required, we also thought it would be a nice touch to add a dip to the package.
PG: When it comes to small snacks, does Mucci Farms see CuteCumbers as an answer or an alternative to baby carrots?
EM: We see CuteCumber Poppers as a complementary product as opposed to an alternative to baby carrots. Our goal is to help grow the healthy snacking category by adding items rather than replacing items. We believe there’s plenty of room for them both!
PG: Mucci Farms took home the Innovation Award for Best New Packaging for its CuteCumber Poppers at this year’s United Fresh Produce Association’s United FreshMKT Expo. What sets this packaging apart from the competition?
EM: Our focus was to offer a lineup of new packaging options for CuteCumber Poppers. The club size at 1.5 pounds and the individual size package at 5 ounces are a tray within a tray, which allows us to add an individually packaged tasty veggie dip to each container. The other offering is a 3-by-3-ounce container with EZ snap convenience allowing each compartment to be separated through a perforated tray and film.
PG: Why is it important to market cucumbers and other produce as healthy snacks to children and adults?
EM: As a fruit and vegetable company, health and fitness is of premium importance to us because we believe that a healthy society is a happier and more productive society. With child obesity being a big topic of discussion for the past several years, we feel a sense of obligation to educate and contribute to improving their lives. It’s no secret that poor eating habits at a young age can impact the entire lives of people, so we donate several pounds of produce weekly to multiple primary schools and participate in a variety of health and wellness initiatives directed to kids. One of these programs is the Eat Brighter! program, which is a partnership between the Produce Marketing Association and Sesame Workshop, which allowed fruit and vegetable companies to leverage Sesame Street characters onto our packaging to entice children to consider healthy foods. We have participated in this program since its inception in 2013.