Proprietary Variety Management's Kathryn Grandy Talks Expanding Reach, Branding Success, New Varieties, and Innovation
YAKIMA, WA - Fame is fickle, but the right representation is a strong place to start. Experience, presentation, and the confidence of previous success can bring clarity to the murky waters of pleasing your audience.
“We are working to take the fruit industry into the future, so we are responding directly to the interests and needs of consumers. We can grow the best fruit in the industry, but if that product is not answering the needs of the consumer, how can we expect retailers to sell it?” Kathryn Grandy, Chief Marketing Officer for Proprietary Variety Management (PVM), raises.
It is a strategy that is showing marked results, with the still-new Cosmic Crisp® WA 38 recently having yielded an unprecedented 27 percent brand recognition (according to Category Partners) across the United States before it has even achieved a 12-month sales program—a milestone PVM anticipates to mark this year for the first time. And it is no wonder, with the global commercialization company having quietly parented several successful brands—Pink Lady®, global development of Lucy™, Sunrise Magic®—over the years.
“Our company, and commercialization in fresh produce as a whole, have seen tremendous attention over the last seven years,” Kathryn shares. “But, elements of PVM are over 80 years old. We are not new to the game at all despite recent growth bringing us to the forefront.”
So, while elements of stardom in fresh produce, like any other industry, can be attributed to right timing and perhaps some cosmic—no pun intended—assistance, there is also a lot of intention and experience that ensure much more can and should be expected from the expanding PVM team and the new Intellectual Property technological developments by the organization.
“We are members of AIGN (Associated International Group of Nurseries), with 11 members around the world that share intellectual property. We have contracts and licenses with universities and leading breeding organizations across the globe and are constantly working on new trademarks, managing overarching brand labels and intellectual properties, nurseries, technologies, and test orchards,” Kathryn details.
Amid all this, PVM is educating growers about best practices, quality control, and consistent brand and image communication. Its portfolio encompasses not just apples, but cherries, apricots, pears, and more, with new varieties coming down the pipeline as I write.
“Consumers want brands and better tasting fruit, and we feel like we are meeting the needs of the marketplace,” Kathryn shares, acknowledging that this rapidly growing market is becoming incredibly complex for the retail side to navigate. “Traditionally, shoppers list ‘apples’ on grocery lists—we want them to say ‘Pink Lady,’ ‘Cosmic Crisp,’ or ‘Sunrise Magic.’ As we continue to work toward that goal, we are aware there are over 100 apple types being sold with 40-plus brands, creating a lot of options for retailers and a lot of pressure. Not everyone can get that shelf space, so it comes down to differentiating the umbrella of the company and family of brands, making the consumer aware of the value of the items, and helping the retailer understand how this fits the needs of those their markets serve.”
Bringing us back to the extensive work PVM has done to ensure it is not just providing high-quality and flavorful products, but that it is answering demands of today’s consumers in the U.S. and far beyond. A strong partner to have at your side in this or any industry looking to stand out.