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The Year Ahead: Branding and storytelling

Produce marketers look for new ways to differentiate their product.

“Suppliers want to really draw consumers in with their branding,” says Tia Ross, owner of Natureworx in Lake Oswego, OR.

She notes some companies are using pouch bags instead of clamshells for certain commodities because the whole package can be covered with graphics. “Everyone is trying to outdo everybody else with the wow factor,” she says. “It used to be sort of generic-looking; now everyone’s taking that extra step to create unique designs and colors.”

Regardless of how pretty packaging may be, freshness will always be an overriding factor for retailers and consumers alike, which is why the locally grown craze continues unabated. Fitting nicely into this trend is the proliferation of greenhouses popping up across the country.

Mary-Scott DeMarchis is sales manager at FresH2O Growers in Stevensburg, VA, which grows and sells hydroponic lettuce as well as actual greenhouses too.

With more consumers concerned about food miles and environmental impact, DeMarchis says customers appreciate the availability of local produce and “are willing to pay more for it. Retailers can then capitalize on that marketing aspect.”


To cap an eventful 2018, Blueprints asked produce suppliers and other experts to look into their crystal balls and weigh in on the trends and issues that will be most prominent in 2019. Karen Raugust is a freelance writer who covers business topics ranging from retailing to the food industry.