Crispy Green in Fairfield–maker of unique freeze-dried fruit snacks–is partnering with the Power Your Lunchbox campaign to encourage parents to pack healthy and nutritious lunches for their kids as they head back to school next month.
Now through September 18th, the campaign asks parents to “take the pledge” to fill lunchboxes with healthy and nutritious food. The Power Your Lunchbox website offers ideas, tips and coupons. For every pledge, the sponsor, Produce for Kids, will donate $1 to Feeding America to support children’s hunger programs.
Crispy Green’s freeze-dried fruit packs were developed by biochemist Angela Liu, the company’s founder and CEO. The technology enables pieces of fresh fruit to be flash frozen. The freezing process turns the juice into ice crystals. The frozen fruit is placed in a vacuum chamber that slowly heats, evaporating the ice, leaving crisp, feather-light, flavorful fruit wedges that are packed into single-serving, sealed-foil snack packs with a shelf life of two years. The only ingredient is fresh fruit.
“They are crunchy and the fruit flavor explodes in your mouth,” says Alan Levitan, the company’s director of business development.
Crispy Green comes in seven flavors: apple, pear, tangerine, banana, mango, pineapple and cantaloupe. The packs can be found in the produce departments of Acme, Kings, Fairway, Foodtown, Fresh Market and Shop-Rite stores. Single packs retail for $1.39-$1.49 and six-pack packages can be purchased for $6.99-$7.99.
Crispy Green says its freeze-drying process preserves all the nutrients of the fresh fruit and adds nothing else, including no preservatives, no fat, no sugar. The product is gluten-free, cholesterol free, non-GMO and certified Kosher. The contents of each pack amount to 55 calories or less.
“It goes into lunchboxes and knapsacks for kids. It goes into purses,” says Levitan. “Our product goes anywhere,”
Ten years ago, when Liu first developed the idea, she had the product produced in her native China, which, according to Levitan, makes about 85% of the world’s freeze-dried fruit. She turned her West Orange garage into a warehouse and took her product from store to store, asking them to let her give away samples.
According to Levitan, sales doubled every couple of years. Liu’s garage is again functioning as a garage. Crispy Green, where the fruit is still processed and packaged, has a 10,000-square-foot facility in Fairfield for warehousing, shipping and administration. Crispy Fruit can be purchased in 51 states.
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