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Fresh Fruit, Veggies Hit the Snack Aisle

NEW YORK -- Produce companies are trying to entice customers by putting fresh fruit in fun, kid-friendly packages and carrot and celery sticks in convenient packages designed to fit in car cup-holders, reported

Grab-and-go food items have long been popular in the convenience industry and the produce industry is now trying to catch up with pre-packaged sliced and washed snacks.

Sunkist's Fun Fruits consists of sliced oranges, apples, pineapples or stem-less red grapes, each available in half-cup-serving packages featuring pictures of children. The company also is working on “grown-up” versions.

“The kids love them. They open them up just like they would a package of potato chips, but there's no fat in them, and it's all healthy,' said Rick Harris, general manager of Sunkist's value-added division. “Everyone's talking about super foods. This is like the super-snack food.”

Del Monte Foods offers fresh-cut fruit in single-serving plastic containers that are sold in convenience stores for $2.19.

“Everybody wants to get into [grab-and-go food],” said Kirk Teske, a sales director for Del Monte. “It's just multiplied like crazy, and it'll get bigger.”

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