Lynnell Brandt and Kathryn Grandy of PVM Disclose What It Takes to Stand Out in the Proprietary Variety World
YAKIMA, WA - As I look out in front of me at the expansive tree fruit category, I see a rainbow of colors ranging from deep ruby reds to tangy greens. With each variety serves a purpose, each flavor profile different from the last. I started to wonder what it’s like to manage popular varieties such as the Cosmic Crisp®, Pink Lady®, and many other proprietary brands. Thankfully, I could turn to Lynnell Brandt, CEO and Founder, and Kathryn Grandy, Director of Marketing, at Proprietary Variety Management (PVM) to find out more.
“I founded PVM because I felt there was a need to introduce new and exciting varieties that were coming onto the board. There needed to be a different focus, not only from the breeder and the packer to the retailer, but also ultimately the consumer. The consumer is the one that brings new money to the table for the entire distribution chain, which requires a different recognition and interactive focus. There was not an expertise generally available at the time,” Lynnell tells me. “I felt we needed to develop that expertise along with new IT and cutting-edge programs to help manage that on a global basis. We built the company, and it wasn’t very long after that when we had our first opportunity, eventually partnering with Washington State University.”
In 2013, PVM developed a partnership with Washington State University (WSU), forming a collaborative science program to develop different pome breeds. With so many brands and breeds to manage, many marketing aspects have to be established. PVM’s proprietary software, Idyia™, is useful in assisting all of PVM’s growers, packers, and sales desks partners in managing intellectual property across the spectrum, such as the licensing, branding, trademarks, social media, and flavor profiles. This comes in handy when managing the many varieties already in the system, and more being developed with WSU.
“We take care of the business side by helping set the brand’s quality standards, developing the name, helping to ascertain what the characteristics are, and illustrating how it will be marketed and presented to the industry and consumers,” says Kathryn. “Every aspect of commercializing the new fruit we touch. We then work with researchers on harvest maturity indices, such as when the best time is and how you tell when the apple is ready to harvest because they're all new and unknown cultivars.”
PVM works closely with the grower, distributor, and marketer to best collaborate with companies to find the right fruit for them to grow in the right soil and climate that they're growing in. These factors all have to find the correct combination together in order to yield the perfect results.
“It's a mammoth investment with a huge amount of risk. We need to help companies make sure that this is the right fruit for them, it will get a good return, and that it is what consumers want. All the way through the value chain, everybody has to be successful and succeed, or it simply will not work,” continues Kathryn. “We help companies with the research and testing side. Our growers in Washington State are an example across the country, and we take pride in being a national and international visionary, with connections all over the world.”
With industry allies like PVM, fresh produce varieties can shine from retailers’ shelves to consumers’ homes. Stay up-to-date with fruit and veg insights at AndNowUKnow.