Thomas Fresh's Andrea Dubak and Heron Espino Discuss Strong Holiday Onion Push
CALGARY, ALBERTA - What’s the holiday season without an onion or two? Flavorless, absolutely flavorless. Fortunately, consumers, retailers, and foodservice operators won’t have to endure a flavorless winter this year as Thomas Fresh’s Canadian season has officially begun, adding to its U.S. operations and bolstering its supply of the 12 unique onion varieties it offers year-round.
To find out more about how Thomas Fresh is preparing for one of the busiest grocery shopping time periods of the year, I tapped the grower’s Andrea Dubak, Marketing Specialist, and Heron Espino, Potato and Onion Buyer.
“As a Canadian-based company, we see a strong push for our onions during Thanksgiving, which starts during mid-October. Demand stays elevated until the Christmas season—when shoppers are entertaining and generally cooking more from home due to the colder Canadian weather,” Andrea shared with me. “Onions are a staple offering at Thomas Fresh, and so we provide our customers with dozens of pack sizes and bulk variations to help them find the right onion product for their store.”
This season, that right onion product could be any of Thomas Fresh’s varieties, which Heron noted are sporting good overall quality from all regions the grower actively sources onions from.
“Our volume of sales has increased compared to last season. We have seen steady volume with our medium yellow, sweet, and red onions, as well as our tri-colored bag, which is a convenient mix of red, white, and yellow onions,” Heron said. “Mother Nature has been a challenge for the last few years, with cold weather potentially impacting our volumes in some regions this season. However, it is still too early to confirm, so we are not expecting any volume concerns to supply our commitments with our customers.”
Heron went on to describe the onion market as steady with the potential to become volatile in the next few weeks, based on a careful analysis of source reports in a number of regions. As a result, a spike in pricing is expected to occur sooner rather than later as we head further into the fall season.
“The increase is due to growing pressure in some regions to fill customer demand as the holidays approach,” Heron explained.
In addition to the upcoming holidays, this season is also expected to be an exciting one thanks to a few new Thomas Fresh packaging options and labels, including its second year of its Think Pink Onion program—this time as an organic onion—and its new eye-catching wine tag label for its 3lb sweet onion and yellow onion.
“Compared to our previous design, our new tags provide a bolder look for consumers. We look forward to offering this exciting new packaging during the holidays,” Andrea told me. “Another hot item is our 7 lb red onions, a new product launched in April. The 7 lb bag is a useful size for big holiday gatherings, as red onions are fantastic to caramelize or roast with butter, honey, and balsamic vinegar for Christmas dinners!”
It might only be the beginning of November, but I don’t think anyone in the supply chain will have to worry about anything but a holiday season bursting with flavor thanks to Thomas Fresh and its team. As AndNowUKnow continues to bring you the latest news from fresh produce fields around the world, stay right here.