Fresh Report 2022

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industry leadership supplement


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Avocados 5 Celery 7 Healthy Snacks 9 Peppers 11 Prunes 13 Raisins 15 Salad Kits 17 Strawberries 19 Tomatoes 21 AN INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP SUPPLEMENT FROM CANADIAN GROCER

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Miguel Barcenas, head of marketing for Avocados

From Mexico international markets, shares his thoughts on why avocados are the perfect go-to fruit for both nutrition and fun.

Why are avocados gaining popularity?

Canadians love avocados! Not only are they healthy, versatile, and delicious, but they are super fruits, literally bursting with nutrients! They contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as being a great source of "good fats," which help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and are essential for muscle recovery.

Avocados From Mexico are appropriate for any time and for any recipe. As a matter of fact, avocados can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner—or even as a midnight snack—in any form: sliced, diced, mashed, in a sauce, in a paste or in smoothies. And whether the recipe is hot or cold, avocados can be enjoyed sweet, salty or spicy. Talk about versatility!

Avocados are also the “IT” fruit of the Gen Z diet, starring in more than 13 million videos generated on Instagram and more than six billion views on TikTok alone.

What avocado trends can we expect in 2022/2023?

Avocados From Mexico will be the foundation for any healthy eating plan, especially in Canada. This is the second-largest market for Avocados From Mexico after the USA. On average, people across Canada enjoy more than 99 million kilograms of avocados every year. Our avocados are widely available in Canadian grocery stores, with close to 95% of the market share.

Canadians want more sustainable products, too. Avocados From Mexico has announced its commitment to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which proves our dedication to the planet and desire to invest in a better tomorrow.

What are some unique ways to use avocados? Avocados for guacamole, on toast or in tacos is common, but lately there are more requests for new recipes. A 2021

IPSOS online survey we conducted in Canada, showed that 45% of respondents eat avocados in a salad, 14% in a smoothie and 7% in dessert! Avocados are also a great fat substitute for butter or mayo! With the ever-growing flexitarian community, they are perfect to add texture, taste and health benefits. Check out our website for recipes!

What initiatives are underway from Avocados

From Mexico?

We will continue our mission to inspire and educate with our “Anytime Is Avotime” campaign. We were at the National Bank Open this summer in Montreal and Toronto. As an official partner, Avocados From Mexico was visible on the central court and in different areas of both cities, as well as via a new TV commercial aired on TVA Sports and Sportsnet. We also activated grocers through online and in-store visibility programs. This led to announcing our partnership with Canadian tennis player Leylah Fernandez as our new brand ambassador.

We’ve also sponsored an epic “win or go home” avocado challenge in Top Chef Canada! Given only 20 minutes, chefs had to create an avocado-based dish that would win over judges. This autumn and winter, we will be boosting our in-store visibility with new shelf blades, bins and tastings across Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

What can grocers do to promote avocados?

Consumer education is key: giving shoppers tips and tricks on how to ripe an avocado or safely cut it, can reduce their apprehension when handling the fruit. In the past months, we’ve installed POS displaying educational content and will keep doing so. Also, with consumers always on the lookout for brands they share their values with, we’ll keep promoting our traceability and sustainable initiatives.

Presentation is also key. Having eye-catching POS close to fresh complimentary items like tomatoes or bread items, can attract shoppers. Retailers can contact Avocados From Mexico to imagine different merchandising solutions for both packaging.

CANADIAN GROCER || December 2022/January 2023
Year-round production and a commitment to quality and traceability means a steady supply of this delicious fruit

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Due to its versatility, celery is a year-round pantry staple, and as the weather gets colder, Duda Farm Fresh Foods sees demand increase for celery as the key ingredient for comfort dishes and soups. This winter is no exception, and Duda anticipates the market to tighten during this time of higher demand. The company says Canada’s celery growing season was excellent this year with some fresh stalk availability that carried over into late fall. The growing season in the U.S. has also been good, with no relative issues. Here are more insights from Duda, which markets celery under the Dandy brand.

Why is celery so popular with consumers year-round?

Celery is such a versatile vegetable and can be used in many recipes, as well as enjoyed on its own. Our marketing efforts engage with consumers by sharing recipes on social media as well as communication via email and frequent promotions to help drive demand year-round. The obvious and most popular celery eating occasions include the Super Bowl, the holiday season including Thanksgiving and Christmas, but Easter, Canada Day and back-to-school season are also important. During the warmer weather months, there is an emphasis on using celery in lighter dishes such as added crunch to a salad. During the colder months, celery is often used as a soup base.

What products and innovations do you offer?

We offer a variety of fresh and fresh-cut celery options to meet the needs of retailers and consumers. Whether consumers are looking for a pre-portioned snack or something a bit larger to feed the whole family for a week, Dandy has it covered. Products include full celery stalks, celery hearts, and fresh-cut celery sticks in a variety of pack sizes ranging 1.6 oz. to 2.5-lb bags.

What can grocers do to encourage high

celery sales?

We all know price drives consumer sales, but there are several other ways to boost purchases. When applicable, we encourage retailers to utilize bright and engaging displays that offer recipe inspiration, produce application or coupon discounts in the store. Cross merchandising is another great way to boost celery sales in store! Placing fresh dips in the produce section, especially near celery, offer additional ideas for consumers to combine and enjoy the product. Cross promotions with in-store coupons on the items that are merchandised together are also key to completing that path to purchase. Considering that celery shoppers are more likely to purchase radishes and bunched greens, retailers may also consider placing these items close together in their produce section to ensure higher basket size.

CANADIAN GROCER || December 2022/January 2023

Exotically Delightfu

A melon for every meal, the exotic flavors of alonna™ Canary Melons meld effortlessly with fine cheeses, cured meats, mixed berries and honey. With its lunar like glow & silky texture, the quality & consistency of availability of a greenhouse grown alonna™ Melon ensures consumers have a flavorful & continuous supply regardless of the season

A L W A Y S ™
greenhouse grown

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P ure Flavor® has officially debuted a sweet, sustainably grown melon that will entice you with its tropical allure. Alonna™ Canary Melons are your own personal paradise, complete with an ambrosial, refreshing flavour that can persuade effortlessly with a single bite.

Introduced in October 2022 at the IFPA Global Produce & Floral Show in Orlando, FL, Alonna™ Canary Melons are the brand’s second greenhouse grown melon to hit grocery store shelves in 2022. In May, Pure Flavor® announced the very first personal-sized, sustainable, greenhouse grown melons: Solara™ Mini Galia Melons. Shoppers are savouring the tropical flavours of these unique, new products that offer summer sweetness and sustainability 365 days a year.

What makes Alonna™ Canary Melons such an enticing healthy snack for consumers of all ages?

Tropical flavor combines with a smooth, creamy texture and refreshing juiciness for an Exotically Delightful™ experience. What’s not to love? With each bite, you will discover a healthy cocktail of fresh flavours: it’s your own personal paradise, right in the palm of your hand.

The convenient size of Alonna™ melons make them an easy, healthy choice to mix into your daily routine. For families always rushing before school, it’s easy to scoop or slice a taste of paradise to take on the go. Older students or busy parents can add a touch of tropical flavour to their lunch by incorporating Alonna™ melons in a healthy salad or simple cheese tray.

With their distinct tropical taste, what other flavours pair well with Alonna™? The supreme sweetness of these melons is perfectly complemented by cured meats like prosciutto and fine, creamy cheeses like Brie, making them a great choice for an elegant charcuterie board. They can be added to a fruit bowl with berries and honey or combined with herbs and spices like dill, parsley, and oregano in a variety of recipes.

What kind of savory recipes can they be added to? Alonna™ Canary Melons are the melons for every meal. From sunrise to sunset, create some culinary magic with savoury recipes like Glazed Pork Chops with Melon Slaw, Melon & Prosciutto Pizza, and Spicy Shrimp & Melon Kabobs. Make sure to visit for more recipe ideas.

What makes Alonna™ Canary Melons a great sustainable option for Canadian shoppers this winter? Each melon is grown in climate-controlled greenhouses where it’s paradise year-round. Inside these state-of-the-art greenhouses, a team of expert growers can dial in the optimal amounts of light, water, humidity, heat, and nutrition to deliver the flavour consumers love, regardless of how cold the weather may be outside.

Thanks to the latest in growing technology, Pure Flavor® is able to guarantee a consistent supply of highquality products every day of the year. For Canadian consumers, that means the melons they love will taste just as great in winter as they do in the heat of the summer.

Introducing Alonna™ Canary Melons
CANADIAN GROCER || December 2022/January 2023

Divine Flavor is a company dedicated to flavor.

We are a family-built company commitment to treating the land and people with respect, and it is our mission to provide Better Food for a Better World.

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A s Quality Assurance & Public Relations Manager at Divine Flavor, Michael DuPuis has first-hand knowledge about the high standards needed to ensure that bell peppers coming to Canadian grocery stores from Mexico maintain their taste and quality. He tells us why bell peppers from Mexico should be on every grocers’ radar—now more than ever.

Peppers are a produce staple but what makes them so popular now?

As the temperatures get cooler and we get further into cold and flu season, peppers are really beneficial to our health. They support a strong immune system and healthy heart, and they are a great source of vitamin C. Did you know that red, orange and yellow peppers have more than double the vitamin C of oranges? If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that people have chosen to cook more at home and they’re choosing healthier ingredients.

Plus, when it comes to preparation, there is so much you can do with peppers—from eating them raw with a guacamole or other dip, stuffing them, or sauteing them with some steak or other protein. There are also mini bell peppers which make a convenient-sized snack or salad addition. For grocers, peppers are also one of those items that bring a lot of colour to the produce aisle, and they are easy to work with because they hold up in quality very well.

So why are Mexican peppers a hot commodity now? Working with our growers in Mexico allows us to provide Canadian consumers with fresh, high-quality bell peppers year-round. These aren’t merely just peppers either; they have a story behind them that includes the growers themselves with more than 40 years of experience, organic growing methods starting with high-quality soil, and a focus on sustainability. We always promote responsible growing principles to ensure our products are sustainable for the long-term, which also means producing them in a way that is beneficial for the growers too. A philosophy of our company is that we want to give back to the land we take from. That means restoring the soil in a way that produces healthy plants, which in turn produces high-quality products that consumers—and retailers—can rely on.

What are some ways Divine Flavor is driving excitement around bell peppers?

Our newest campaign, Product Hero, (which we launched at the recent International Fresh Produce Association’s Global Produce and Floral Show in Orlando in October), aims to highlight the strength and power of fresh fruits and vegetables, so we can educate consumers about all their health benefits. We’re starting with peppers as our first super-power hero of the produce aisle. We’re doing lots of fun promotions on Instagram and will be including QR codes on our packaging where consumers can learn more about all the health benefits of bell peppers. For more information on this campaign go to https://divine

As the temperatures dip, bell peppers are a nutritious and reliable go-to
CANADIAN GROCER || December 2022/January 2023

Consumers are going into stores looking for not just any dried fruit or prune — they want California Prunes. 47% of Canadians reported they would prefer to PURCHASE PRUNES FROM CALIFORNIA than anywhere else.* Don’t miss out! Make sure it says “California” on the label. Contact us at to inquire about placing the Prunes logo on pack to signal quality to your customers.

*Based on an independent survey conducted by Rose Research in June 2021 among 1,502 English- and French-speaking male and female Canadians, aged 16 to 75, who are the primary grocery shopper and have ever purchased any dried fruit.

has a comprehensive, national promotional program that supports
trade. Choose the premium dried fruit preferred by consumers –California Prunes
California Prune Board
Canadian | @CAprunesCAN
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Esther Ritson-Elliott, Director of International Marketing and Communications at California Prunes, shares her thoughts on why prunes are increasingly popular, and what makes prunes from California so special.

What makes California Prunes unique?

They come from a stock of plum trees that was imported to California from France during the Gold Rush. When combined with the state’s legendary sun and soil, plus the industry’s innovative and precise tunnel-drying technique, you get the larger, sweeter, great tasting, and higher-quality prunes that California is recognized for. They’re not like other dried fruit, and consumers have become loyal to California Prunes as they become more aware of their great taste and health benefits through our extensive promotional activities in Canada.

What are some ways consumers use prunes in their diets?

Why should prunes be on the grocer's radar in 2023?

Canadians of all ages love prunes for their health benefits and exceptional taste, and they are seeking them out in their local grocery stores. And they’re not looking for just any type of prune—they specifically want prunes from California because they know they’re higher quality.

The California Prune Board has a comprehensive promotional program that reaches millions of consumers across Canada every year. We’ve had exceptional success with our marketing efforts, with traffic to the Canadian website more than doubling in the last year alone. We also consistently see increased awareness, as well as purchasing intent and frequency, of California Prunes in regular third-party consumer surveys.

Our sampling program, which takes advantage of inperson events in various regions across Canada, has also shown us the popularity of California Prunes. We’ve discovered that of those who aren’t already regular prunes purchasers, about 80% plan to purchase California Prunes after sampling the product. They’re always impressed by how juicy and sweet our prunes are. There is nothing else like them on the market.

California Prunes are commonly eaten straight out of the bag as a quick and healthy snack, but we’re also seeing them used in sweet and savoury dishes. They’re great paired with chocolate for a sweet treat, chopped and tossed into a salad, simmered into sauces for poultry or pork, or pureed to use as a fat or sugar substitute in baked goods. At the end of the day, a bag of California Prunes goes a long way in a consumer’s kitchen. They can be used in dozens of ways, plus they’re also providing invaluable nutrition.

Consumers are looking for functional foods that help maintain their health. California Prunes are full of nutrients to boost immunity, support gut health, and enhance bone health. They’re a high-performing food that is also delicious and versatile.

Anything grocers can do in-store and online to better promote prunes?

Consumers are seeing California Prunes at events, on social media, in their favourite magazines, on TV, and more. The number one thing that grocers can do to take advantage of the increased awareness and demand is ensuring their products say “California” on pack. Even better, contact us at about placing the California Prunes logo on pack to signal the highest quality to your customers.

Consumers are going into stores looking for not just any dried fruit or prune—they want California Prunes specifically, so make sure they’re labelled and easy to find instore, particularly in the baking aisle and produce section.

Delicious and filled with nutrients, consumers are gravitating to California Prunes
CANADIAN GROCER || December 2022/January 2023

California Raisin Academy: Raisinomics 101

California Raisins can be added to trail mixes, salads, smoothies, yogurt and more, so consumers get more for their money (and you get cross-promotional opportunities)

California Raisins are dried naturally in the sun, to produce their unique carmelized flavour (and better for the environment too!)

California Raisins represent a sustainable, reliable fruit grown close to Canada (and available year round)


There are a lot of reasons California Raisins were purchased by more Canadians than any other dried fruit in 2022. And if customers are looking for California Raisins, that’s an opportunity to drive more sales with creative merchandising!

Your homework assignment is to learn novel ways to utilize this superfruit by visiting:


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Tim Kenny, vice-president of marketing for the Raisin Administrative Committee shares some insights on raisin trends in Canada and why this grocery staple continues to be a favourite among Canadian shoppers.

What are some recent raisins trends in Canada?

According to our latest consumer survey results, raisins are the most popular dried fruit purchase choice for Canadians (67% purchased raisins last year and 77% purchased products that included raisins). Two-thirds of Canadians feel that raisins are “one of the most healthy and nutritious foods” or “very healthy/nutritious.” When fresh fruit isn’t available, raisins are a reliable option you can always have on hand at home. Statistics from Trade Data Monitor (January to September 2022) show that year to date, raisin consumption in Canada is up 1% in volume and 6% in value.

Why opt for California raisins in particular?

Our survey results show that Canadians are five times more likely to recognize the California/USA origin than any other raisin-producing origins and three-fifth believe they’re a better quality. As California raisins are processed, they are washed numerous times, which ensures a very clean food product. Taste comes into play too. Whereas other producers use drying ovens, California raisins are completely sun-dried which is a far more sustainable method. Sun-drying them also gives California raisins a caramelized taste that is delicious and unique.

How are consumers using raisins

these days?

Adding raisins to traditional trail mix is always a popular choice in Canada, as it’s a great nutritious snack to bring along when you’re outdoors. Raisins are naturally low in sodium and a source of potassium, fibre and iron. They’re also versatile in other uses: raisins can be added to salads or other savoury meals and of course, they’re a great

addition when baking. Raisins can be used in sauces, glazes, stir-fries, chutneys and salsas too. As consumers look to cut down on processed sugar, raisins also add that natural sweetness with no added sugar. I even see people around the world doing things like soaking California raisins in alcohol for a more ‘spirited’ snack.

How can grocers better promote their raisin products?

Consumers already know about raisins but sometimes familiar can be boring. One of our goals is not only to remind consumers about the health benefits of raisins but to show them interesting new ways to incorporate more raisins into their diet. Grocers can help by crossmerchandising raisins in various parts of the store such as the baking, snacking and produce sections. Grocers can also highlight the nutritional attributes of raisins beside displays or online and in flyers. For recipe ideas and more information visit,

The most popular dried fruit around, this Canadian staple from California continues to shine
CANADIAN GROCER || December 2022/January 2023

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The value-added salad category continues to grow, and in Canada salad kits are the largest segment of that category, with 36 per cent of dollar sales. Amanda Knauff of Taylor Farms explains why salad kits are a win with consumers and retailers, and discusses some of the company’s recent innovations.

What is the appeal of salad kits for consumers and retailers?

We constantly strive to create new categories and innovative flavours that bring convenience to consumers. Our fan favourite chopped salad kits feature bold, provocative flavours that can simply be prepared as-is or tailored to your personal taste, at home or on-the-go. The ability to adapt our chopped salad kits to the perfect side dish or main dish, adding your favourite protein or mixing in additional vegetables or toppings, is something consumers love about our offerings. For retailers, chopped salad kits are some of the fastest-selling items in the value-added salad category. Our most popular Taylor Farms flavour in Canada is the Taylor Farms Dill Pickle Chopped Salad.

Chopped Kit, Sunflower Crunch Chopped Salad Kit and Steakhouse Wedge Chopped Salad Kit. We also recently introduced a Spiced Apple Chopped Kit to complement cozy winter meals.

What should consumers know about sustainability in the category?

Our new 2022 Taylor Fresh Foods Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report is now available in the social impact section of our website: The report highlights a variety of strategies, practices, and investments in innovation, environmental stewardship, and ways in which we are building healthy communities. With each chopped salad kit made, we carry on our mission of

What new salad kits have you launched this year?

This year we wanted to explore how to execute seasonal trends through salads kits, as we have seen success in other areas of the grocery store and in restaurants that offer rotational items for consumers. To play up refreshing seasonal flavour options we launched the Tangerine Crunch Chopped Salad Kit, Watermelon Crunch

Shoppers are currently drawn to promotions that lower the purchase price on desired items, so promotions on value-added salads, including our chopped salad kits, can help encourage the sale of these products. Leaning into the versatility and flexibility of chopped salad kits can encourage consumers to purchase and adapt the product to exactly their liking. It’s important for retailers to focus on the right assortment of chopped salad kits based on consumer purchasing habits, especially considering that refrigeration spaces aren’t increasing at the same rate as category growth.

CANADIAN GROCER || December 2022/January 2023
Strawberries Retailers around the world depend on Florida’s farmers to supply high-quality produce. For information on sourcing Florida products, contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services | (850) 617-7330 | December
First in Season
- April

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Delicious and nutritious, strawberries continue to be a favourite fruit for consumers of all ages. Strawberries from Florida perform very well, and are the number one commodity in the fresh produce category exported to Canada. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) shares why strawberries are so appealing to consumers and grocers.

Why are strawberries so popular with consumers?

Strawberries are an incredibly versatile fruit. From a healthy breakfast staple to pair with oatmeal or blend in smoothies to a classic fruit featured in desserts, Florida strawberries’ bright colour and sweet flavour appeal to consumers all year long. Consumers also enjoy strawberries on their own, muddled in craft cocktails, dipped in chocolate, or paired with sparkling wine for special celebrations such as New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. Thanks to Florida’s warm climate, consumers can enjoy strawberries in the winter months when Florida is a top producer and exporter of strawberries to Canada.

What should consumers know about sustainability and safety in the strawberry category?

When shopping for strawberries December through April, look for the “Fresh From Florida” logo. Consumers can feel confident they’ve selected quality fruit when they choose

strawberries from The Sunshine State. Visit our website or follow @freshfromflorida on Facebook and Instagram to find food safety tips, strawberry recipes and more.

How can grocers encourage sales of strawberries?

Featuring the “Fresh From Florida” logo alongside Floridasourced produce in weekly circulars and advertisements is key to driving sales of Florida strawberries. Grocers can partner with FDACS to develop “Fresh From Florida” strawberry promotions. Cross-merchandising and recipe promotions have proven successful at driving impulse buys by simplifying consumers’ shopping experience while offering a visually appealing display. “Fresh From Florida” sampling events have also been very effective at driving shopper interest in Florida products. Of course, the best results come from a multi-faceted approach. This can include a range of promotions from display contests to “Fresh From Florida” point-of-purchase materials and product stickers to the inclusion of the “Fresh From Florida” logo in weekly circulars. “Fresh From Florida” marketing specialists collaborate with retailers on customized promotions based on their needs and offer retail incentive dollars.

For more information on sourcing Florida products or promotional partnership opportunities, contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at (850) 617-7333 or email

CANADIAN GROCER || December 2022/January 2023

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Demand for tomatoes continues to grow, with bitesize, snacking varietals being the primary driver behind the growth in Canada, says Leona Neill, director of marketing and packaging for Red Sun Farms. “Fresh produce has become part of all three main meals, desserts, and snacks in Canadian households. There are tomato varieties that can be incorporated into virtually any recipe, and one-bite tomatoes are the most popular option in vegetables.” Here are more insights from Neill on the tomato category.

Here are a few key initiatives.

• New Varieties: Sweets Family – Sweetpops is quickly redefining our snacking tomato standards. This variety is all about delivering an explosion of flavour, in a snack-size tomato.

• Light Technology: We’re planning for the second season of our winter pepper crop with one-of-a-kind LED technology that will supply Ontario peppers yearround.

• Sustainability: Our farms have been using sustainable practices in water recycling, yield optimization, and minimizing food waste. Red Sun Farms is a proud industry leader in sustainable agriculture, closely working with packaging suppliers to develop new and sustainable options.

What trends are you seeing?

New variety and premium categories designed to deliver flavour, texture and consistency year-round. This was the foundation for our Sweetpops, Sweetpeaks, and Sweetpeps. We have received great feedback on our Sweetpops, and are excited to continue supporting the growth of this new tomato experience to retail partners. We also continue to see interest in innovation, technology and sustainability from retailers and consumers.

What is the appeal of tomatoes for consumers and retailers?

Tomatoes are a staple in North American cuisine. Versatile enough to be used as a condiment, a side dish, or an ingredient, this delicious fruit is a necessity in every kitchen. Consistency plays a significant factor as well, so many of the newer varieties we offer today were created and cultivated to deliver a premium eating experience, 365 days a year.

What are some recent innovations from Red Sun Farms?

Red Sun Farms has been focused on our product innovations, our investment in technology, and doing our part to improve sustainability from the farm to finished goods.

How can grocers boost sales of tomatoes?

Canadian retailers do a great job merchandising their fresh produce offerings. Tomatoes are a huge category with dozens of commoditized and specialty varieties to choose from, and there’s been a lot of heavy lifting done in recent years to entice the consumer to “trade up.” While a TOV consistently moves volume, specialty tomatoes allow grocers to cast a wider net and introduce consumers to something new. We’ve experienced significant top-end category growth with many of our retail partners who’ve done great work in executing this strategy. For example, we receive countless emails each week from consumers thanking us for our Sweetpops. When a shopper takes the time to send you an email regarding a $3 or $4 purchase, it validates all the hard work we do at our farms and facilities.

CANADIAN GROCER || December 2022/January 2023
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