DelFrescoPure's Carl Mastronardi and Fiona McLean Talk CPMA
ONTARIO, CANADA - In addition to its beautiful architecture, Montreal is a setting for innovation. And, come early next month, that stage will be set for innovations in fresh produce as CPMA’s annual convention and tradeshow comes to town. After chatting with Carl Mastronardi, President, and Fiona McLean, Marketing Manager, I suggest you make sure DelFrescoPure is on your show list.
“The CPMA is a chance to interact with current customers, as well as possible new ones, and we have so much to share this year,” Carl tells me. “As a producer, you are there to show retailers what you can do for them. They are there to increase their competitive advantage; my job is to ensure they try a product, and that’s much easier to do with a new product! Living Lettuce, Living Microgreens and cut microgreens!”
Among those products, Carl and his team will be showing a local offering, as well as an innovation that promises potential for international growth. The latter, Carl and Fiona explain, is a trend born in top-tier restaurants with room for opportunity in grocery.
“We are excited to be showing our LivingCube™ at CPMA, which we will definitely be looking to expand to the U.S.,” Carl shares. “Living lettuce really is unique as a product. Usually what I see comes in the hard clamshell, where we will be offering a three-pack lettuce so alive you’ll be able to take plastic off in a recyclable bag and water it.”
Carl and Fiona explain the produce will come with the option to continue to grow in the rectangle box by removing the crisper bag and add water to grow, or ensure the bag is zip-locked to create the crisper affect and place in the fridge. Each package contains 3 heads of tender living lettuce with 5 varieties to choose from.
“The box itself tells the consumer that they can keep the product in the fridge in the bag, or keep it on the counter and add a bit of water,” Fiona shares. “At our booth, we will have a display fridge so we can show retailers what our products will look like in-store and which merchandising materials or ideas are available to educate consumers at the store level. We want to show how we can help our retail partners increase the basket size through merchandising and creative flexibility, everything from the details on our packaging to display cases, shelf strips, shelf talkers, and merchandising execution.”
Another exciting aspect of the LivingCube is the ability for it to expand. In addition to lettuce, DelFrescoPure offers living microgreens like basil and cilantro. While more is in LivingCube’s future, Carl says right now the focus is on ensuring that the existing line is given the attention needed.
“We are not looking to expand to everything right away, but we are excited to see it grow,” he shares.
As for the local focus I touched on earlier, DelFrescoPure will also be showing its increasingly popular YES!Berries Your Everyday Snack® strawberries, high in flavor and on the shelf locally within 24 hours—a key selling point, the way Carl and his team explain it!
“We’re doing something a little different with our YES!Berries, offering a unique taste experience that is high in brix. It’s a great, sort of tangy-sweet flavor,” Carl shares. “Our retail partners tell us they have a hard time keeping the YES!Berries in stock since they fly off the shelf. Thankfully, we are pretty centrally located—we pick, pack and ship the same day and are more focused on taking care of our own backyard before trying to expand where we distribute YES!Berries. Another thing we are excited about is that we haven’t sprayed them with pesticides for about a year now and are looking really hard into going completely pesticide-free.”
This is quite a feat. Even organic, Carl and Fiona remind me, uses approved pesticides while the DelFrescoPure team is aiming to go without any pesticides at all, providing “natural products that don’t kill anything.”
“Right now we are pesticide-free in 17 acres of greenhouse-grown berries,” Carl says.
This is just a small glimpse into what you can find when you swing by booth #2203 come April 2 through 4. If you happen to catch me there, excuse me if I’m stuffing my face with YES!Berries—Taste’s like summer all year long®!