Gills Onions' Megan Jacobsen Talks Coming Season, New Mascot, and More
BAKERSFIELD, CA - It may be December for us, but for Gills Onions it is already springtime with an eye on summer and plans for autumn. With plantings complete for the upcoming 2021 spring season and preparations in place for the months to follow, the year is well underway, Megan Jacobsen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, shares.
“While there have definitely been some challenges this year, it has been a busy one and, in terms of onions, it’s already 2021!” she laughs. “We have finished planting in Brawley, California, and are currently putting onions in the ground in our big fresh region, Bakersfield. So far everything looks to be well on track, and we are very optimistic about the season to come.”
Off the field, Gills Onions has been hard at work to bolster not just its own brand, but onions in general.
“What I love about the onion industry is everyone serves a purpose—yes there is competition as with any category, but we also all play an important role in ensuring supply meets demand. More than 400 truckloads of onions are shipped and consumed daily in the U.S. Onions are the backbone of not just grocery, but industrial and foodservice as well, and everyone is needed to make that happen. So we have put a lot of energy this year into making the message not about Gills, but about onions in general,” Megan shares.
Part of that effort has been to introduce a new team member to Gills Onions’ digital presence—Jumbito.
“It’s strange the things that can influence consumers. And with this year being lived out online more than ever, it became apparent that there was no fun, friendly onion representation online,” Megan says. “For how many recipes and dishes include onions, that had to change. So we introduced our new mascot, Jumbito, a very cute, friendly character that invites people to post more about onions.”
After all, as Megan points out, it’s the little steps that add to the biggest moves. When I ask if one of those moves might see Jumbito strutting off the screen and onto Gills packaging and physical presentation, Megan laughs.
“I never say never to potential growth of any kind,” she teases.
Jumbito joins a strategy that kicked off with a strange premonition for the grower to bolster its cyber presence, having launched a blog in January of 2020. Now, one year later, Megan says the move has been invaluable to remaining connected amid the pandemic.
“The blog ended up being an amazing way to continue getting our message out there, and even to help educate consumers as they became more and more health conscious. For example, onions help build respiratory health—a key piece of information as COVID is especially detrimental to the lungs. Articles and advice like that have been more important than ever this year,” Megan comments. “I wish people knew the importance of consuming fresh produce, especially onions, in defending against all kinds of illnesses and issues, including COVID. And the blog helps us to accomplish that.”
The desire not just to spread the word about fresh produce’s superpowers, but to shout it from the rooftops, is certainly a resolution I can get behind as we approach a new year. With new challenges and rewards on the horizon, we will certainly be sure to bring the fresh produce industry up to speed on all the latest here at AndNowUKnow.