Daniella Velazquez de León Talks About Organic Unlimited's Mission for Fair Pricing
SAN DIEGO, CA - Fair pricing is essential, not just for business practices, but for shoppers perusing the aisles as well. Consumers want to know where their food comes from and the workers behind the produce. Organics Unlimited is one company that holds this aspect in high regard and believes in fair pricing throughout its network of growers. How so? I tapped Daniella Velazquez de León to find out.
“To us, fair pricing is important because it is at the root of who we are as a business from day one,” Daniella, General Manager, shares with me. “As organic has increasingly entered the mainstream, those original values have been diluted with a stronger focus on price and availability, and, of course, these are vital topics to discuss, especially in today’s climate of inflation. However, I would argue that we should learn from the lessons the pandemic has left us and prioritize a decentralized, resilient food system.”
The food system should be strong enough to support a wide range of small growers, explains Daniella, and it will be more resilient than a system that relies on just one source. Essentially, the price for the product should reflect the true cost of production in addition to recognizing the human dignity at each stage of the supply chain that brings our food from farm to table.
“We have a symbiotic relationship with our growers, and strong decades-long partnerships with both clients and vendors have been invaluable in navigating through this pandemic,” Daniella informs me. “Independent retailers have led the way in helping to educate consumers on the reasoning behind changes in price. At the same time, partnerships with growers have ensured fair, competitive contract pricing for the year which has guaranteed full, uninterrupted supply for our customers. A key priority this year will be to work together throughout the supply chain to drive efficiencies, so we can bring the most competitive pricing to consumers.”
This doesn’t come without its challenges, though, as Daniela points out.
“Growing organic comes with a higher cost structure, and prices of organic bananas should reflect that,” illustrates Daniella. “If we look at recent trends, organic demand continues to trend up. Consumers have come to expect retailers to carry organic options.”
As Daniella puts it, organic banana costs are on the rise. However, organic banana prices have gone down systematically in the past 10 years. Bananas are usually one of the cheapest fruits offered, both organic and conventional. So, the grower is ensuring that this category is also a more sustainable growing system.
2021 and 2022 brought on challenges across the board for every industry, including increased costs and supply chain impacts. But through it all, the grower is keeping to its ethos by doing good to its workers.
“Respect, commitment, continuous improvement, sustainability, and passion are the pillars we hold to. Four generations of our family have grown bananas organically, so organic growing is who we are, and it is what we know,” Daniella concludes.
Organic farming protects farmworkers, surrounding communities, consumers, and our environment. The grower is reinforcing this practice through its GROW program and Fair Trade Certified label bananas. Additionally, Organics Unlimited prides itself in paying fair prices to its growers, which brings it to a full circle in the cycle of sustainability.
With companies like Organics Unlimited at the forefront of fair practices, one can only hope to see these sentiments spread through the rest of the categories in the aisle.