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The Year Ahead: Strengthening storytime

2024 year ahead

Growers and marketers have embraced the art of storytelling to get their messages out, but much more can be done on this front.

Naturipe is already on board.

“We want to focus in 2024 on continuing to educate consumers on how we grow our proprietary berries like Mighty Reds and Mighty Blues,” says Jim Roberts, president of sales for Naturipe Farms, LLC, BB #:116078 in Salinas, CA, who notes demand for berries grew at a fast pace in 2023.

“Naturipe and its owners have invested heavily in our breeding programs, and we’re excited to share the results of that with the world,” he adds.

Tammy Collum, in sales for Vanguard Direct, LLC BB #:338552 of Bakersfield, CA, is enthused about upcoming efforts on behalf of grapes. “Growers will find ways to connect to consumers, via social media, recipes, marketing in stores, etc.”

Branding is also becoming more important for engagement.

Lori Taylor, founder and CEO of The Produce Moms BB #:366223 in Indianapolis, IN, cites companies such as Sun World International, LLC, which has a long-running breeding program and is launching one of the first global branding campaigns in the category.

Taylor notes that much of the branding activity in produce tends to focus on proprietary varieties; bringing the technique to high-volume categories like grapes would likely drive more sales and consumption of fresh produce.

Nelia Alamo, vice president of marketing at Markon Cooperative, Inc. {{BB #:123315}} points out that education and marketing are important in the foodservice space as well, to help educate operators about ways to incorporate more produce in their menus and focus on making produce the star of the plate.

“This includes bar menus, appetizers, and desserts—the applications are endless, so helping to tell that story will become even more important.”

Consumers want to hear not only about the product, but the company’s progress on sustainability, charitable efforts, and other pro-social activities.

“It’s about knowing that the products are a force for good,” observes Taylor, who applauds NatureSweet, Ltd.’s achievement in becoming a B Corporation, the largest controlled-environment farm to earn the designation.

This is an excerpt from the feature story from the January/February 2024 issue of Produce Blueprints Magazine. Click here to read the whole issue.