Dole tests plastic for shelf-stable pineapple

In test since January in supermarkets in the Pacific Northwest is Westlake, CA-based Dole Food Co.'s Select Fruits. The shelf-stable cups-each containing 4.6 oz of either pineapple or pineapple mixed with other tropical fruits-are marketed in pairs in attractively decorated paperboard sleeves.

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They sell for about $1.49 per pair. Single-serve cups of fruit are of course available from other firms, but typically they're canned. Dole is touting the product visibility its cup offers and describes its package as more convenient than cans of fruit. It's also touting a "light and gentle" cooking process that, compared to the processing of canned fruits, is "much gentler and involves fewer and smaller temperature gradients, which leaves the fruit tasting fresh and juicy." This packaging concept was first commercialized by Dole in Europe and Japan, and the cups in the test are in fact filled and lidded overseas. Dole isn't saying much about packaging materials or technology, nor will it comment on shelf life. The clear cup is obviously polypropylene since it bears a "PP #5" code on the bottom. The unidentified clear film lidding, printed with the Dole logo in one color, appears to be heat-sealed to the cup.

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