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Apio, Inc. Announces Distribution Agreement with McEntire Produce Inc

08.26.2010

GUADALUPE, CA – July 20, 2010 – Apio, Inc., the leader in processing and marketing fresh-cut specialty vegetables in the U.S., announced today that Apio has entered into a co-packaging and distribution agreement with McEntire Produce Inc. to enhance the distribution of Apio’s Eat Smart® specialty packaged fresh-cut vegetable products.

McEntire, based in Columbia, South Carolina, is a producer and marketer of salad and tomato products. McEntire will produce and distribute Apio’s Eat Smart specialty packaged fresh-cut vegetable products in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Apio’s Eat Smart specialty packaged fresh-cut vegetable products are unique in that they utilize the Landec BreatheWay® proprietary breathable packaging to extend the shelf life of specific produce products.

Under the agreement McEntire will supply the facility, labor, management and distribution services while Apio will provide materials and equipment plus sales and marketing support. The initial focus of the operation will be the local production of Apio’s market leading vegetable trays. Subsequent product offerings will include bagged vegetables and regional products. Initial production shipments are expected in early September 2010.

“We are excited about offering regional production and distribution of our Eat Smart products to the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions,” said Ron Midyett, Chief Executive Officer of Apio. “During peak holiday seasons, demand for our vegetable tray products can vary significantly, making it challenging to respond to short lead-time customer demand. By partnering with McEntire, we will be able to be more responsive and help our Southeast and Mid-Atlantic retail customers manage their inventories and avoid shrink, not only during holiday seasons, but also year round. With its focus on quality, freshness of produce, and distribution reach, McEntire is an ideal partner for Apio’s Eat Smart fresh cut products.”

“We look forward to working with a proven, category leader such as Apio,” said Carter McEntire, Senior Vice President of McEntire Produce Inc.  “We feel strongly that the capabilities of our respective organizations align well in this relationship, and that we well be able to deliver positive enhancements to both businesses.”

About McEntire Produce Inc.
McEntire Produce Inc., headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, started in 1938 as a repacker and distributor of tomatoes. Today McEntire has nearly 400 employees and the Company has become a leader in quality, service, reliability and innovation in the secure, food-safe environment processing of fresh fruits and vegetables. The Company recently moved to a new, 163,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, allowing the Company to process a greater variety and larger quantity of produce products, as well as provide capacity for future expansion. In addition, the Company expects to benefit from greater operating efficiencies of the new facility, enabling an improved competitive position and more growth opportunities for the future.

About Apio, Inc.
Apio, Inc., founded in 1979 by five growers of celery in the Santa Maria Valley in the central coastal region of California. and named “Apio” for “celery” in Spanish, is today the leader in processing and marketing fresh-cut specialty vegetables in the U.S. Headquartered in Guadalupe, California, Apio sells its specialty vegetables and party tray products under the Eat Smart® brand. Apio’s fresh-cut specialty vegetable products are unique in that they utilize the Landec Corporation BreatheWay® proprietary breathable packaging technology to extend the shelf life of specific produce products. BreatheWay membranes are designed to naturally extend the shelf life of virtually any fresh product that would benefit from reduced oxygen levels and managed carbon dioxide levels. The adjustable selectivity ratio and temperature switch features of the BreatheWay membrane allow the flexibility to meet the specific modified atmosphere requirements for a wide range of products throughout the total supply chain. Landec Corporation, a polymer science and specialty materials company based in Menlo Park, California, acquired Apio in 1999. For more information about the Company visit Apio’s website at www.apioinc.com.

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