David Castellon" />

Image via Fowler Packing

published on November 14, 2019 - 3:09 PM
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If you’ve packed your child’s lunch in recent years, or if you enjoy a little citrus snack, chances are you’ve heard of Halos or Cuties.

Now Fowler Packing Co. is hoping that parents and others who enjoy easy-peel mandarin oranges will take notice of their new product, Peelz.

Not that Fowler Packing is new to the market. The grower, packer and shipper was among the first Valley farming operations to plant mandarins and realize there would be a strong market for them. The company collaborated with two other South Valley citrus packers to pack Cuties — the first brand-named mandarins — and later, Halos.

But earlier this year, Fowler Packing officials decided to cut ties with its partner, The Wonderful Company, and stop selling fruit under the Halos brand, said Justin Parnagian, CEO and grandson of Fowler Packing’s founder Sam Parnagian.

The tangerine-sized mandarins are particularly popular among parents, because young children receiving them in their lunch boxes and bags can easily peel them without the need for knives or adult help, nor do they have to contend with seeds.

With that kind of popularity, Fowler Packing, the third-biggest supplier of mandarins in the nation, had no intent of abandoning the easy-peel market. Instead, over part of the summer, officials rebranded their mandarins as “Peelz” and worked out deals with some of the markets and distributors they’d been selling mandarins to previously.

Fowler Packing is opting to market Peelz more to adults who mostly buy the fruit they and their families eat, rather than to children. So the packaging doesn’t have a smiling cartoon mandarin on it, as does Halos and Cuties packaging.

Find out more about the changes in next week’s Business Journal.

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