Lauren R. Hartman

January 30, 2014

3 Min Read
Artfully 'green' package for artisan lettuce


Engineered to protect each product as well as the environment, new packaging adopted by Tanimura & Antle Fresh Foods Inc. is almost as “green” as the company's products themselves. Deep in the lush Salinas Valley of Salinas, CA, the produce giant maintains that its living lettuce is “so beautiful, that it comes with a bodyguard,” according to its ad slogans. That strong-arm is a new, custom-designed scalloped clamshell for Artisan Lettuce in four- and six-count quantities, which promotes freshness and a longer shelf life.

Thermoformed by a proprietary source (the company declines to specify packaging materials or suppliers), the clear, custom clamshells wear transparent pressure-sensitive film labels printed with graphics and product copy in eye-catching leaf colors.

“With our new, top-of-the-line scalloped clamshell packaging, we're able to maintain the freshness and integrity of our product and provide our customers with not only convenience, but also an easy way to help preserve the earth's limited resources,” reports CEO Rick Antle. “The introduction of this packaging goes hand in hand with our core business values of bringing only the highest standards of quality to the market.”

Even more importantly, the company says the curvy packaging also uses 12-percent less material than a typical square clamshell, which adds another element to Tanimura & Antle's environmentally responsible goals, as the company is also striving to improve its energy and water usage. “We are dedicated to reducing energy waste and improving equipment performance,” declares a message on its website. “To that end, we involve our employees in our energy use decisions.”


A recent high-efficiency lighting upgrade in the company's cooler in Salinas aims to reduce energy consumption comparable to planting 75 acres of trees. Tanimura & Antle says it is also looking to upgrade the efficiencies of its corporate headquarters facility.

The grower farms more than 40,000 acres of fertile farmland and ships its line of produce throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Versatile and available year-'round, the lettuce varieties include: Red and Green Petite Gem; Red and Green Petite Oak; and Red and Green Petite Tango. Grown on Tanimura & Antle farms in Salinas from approximately mid-April through mid-October, the artisan lettuce is grown in Yuma, AZ, from mid-October through mid-April.

The lettuces come in a range of quantities, including two- and four-count packages for retail sales, six-count packages for clubstores and 8-lb cartons for foodservice distribution.

Long-life lettuce

Most beneficial to consumers, when properly stored, the clear containers contribute to the lettuces' refrigerated shelf life of more than two weeks. The clamshells can be merchandised either horizontally or vertically while protecting the delicate, buttery lettuce leaves.

The whole heads of lettuce can be left in the clear containers, intact until they're ready for use, which Tanimura & Antle believes provides a compelling change from packaged salads and blends.

Unlike salad packs in bags, the individual heads of lettuce contained in each clamshell allow consumers to customize a blend, the company explains. Artisan Lettuce is easy to prepare—make one to two cuts, rinse, crisp and serve. The petite size and shape of each Artisan Lettuce head allows for quick and easy preparation, as well as flexibility in size and cuts.

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