Mucci Farms Strawberries Wins President’s Choice Fresh Product of the Year Award
KINGSVILLE, ONTARIO - While fresh to the strawberry game, Mucci Farms is already earning accolades and turning heads with its berry brand. The company recently won Loblaw’s President’s Choice Fresh Produce of the Year award for its PC Ontario Greenhouse Strawberries at the 2018 Loblaw Brands Innovation Summit held in Toronto, Ontario, on April 5th.
“We’ve been growing traditional greenhouse items for over 50 years, but strawberries were our first attempt at growing an unconventional greenhouse product,” said Danny Mucci, President of Mucci International Marketing, who, along with Joe Spano, was on hand to receive the award. “Our team and I were completely blown away and speechless when we got the news that we were nominated.”
Mucci Farms first began trialing its SmucciesTM Sweet Strawberries brand in 2014, eventually going to market with full scale production in 2016. Mucci Farms grows its award-winning strawberries in one of the largest indoor strawberry farms in North America and is still expanding. With phase two of the three-phase 36-acre expansion completed in October of 2017, the final 12-acres expansion phase is set to be completed by the fall of 2018 and will include supplemental HPS grow lights to accommodate year-round growth.
“I would like to thank the entire LBL-PC Team for working closely with us and entrusting us with this ambitious project,” said Joe Spano, Vice President of Mucci International Marketing. “The PC, procurement, and merchandising teams showed a great deal of interest in the greenhouse growing process. From R&D to traveling with us and learning about our industry, they were with us every step of the way. This not only strengthened our relationship, it helped us establish a unified vision for the program. We have truly been Partners in Produce.”
According to a press release, the criteria for the prestigious award required the product to be launched between fall 2016 and summer 2017. Along with being a truly unique stand-alone as "first to market" in Canada, the item also had to be a commercial success, generating additional sales and profit, and resulting in a major impact on the category. In the end, the winner was determined by a ballot vote by colleagues of Loblaw.
“Mucci Farms is passionate about growing because growing is what they love to do,” said Dan Branson, Senior Director; Produce, Floral & Garden at Loblaw in a video aired at the award ceremony. “What’s important to both of us is that we really behave as partners in development. Not only is the greenhouse strawberry an amazing tasting piece of fruit, the greenhouse strawberry is moving to a point where we are producing it year-round so it’s taking a lot of trucks off of the road, it’s giving amazing consistency, and more importantly than anything, it tastes like a strawberry is supposed to taste.”
In addition to searching for potential new greenhouse items, Mucci Farms is also highlighting an emphasis on greenhouse education.
“There is a story and a strong message to be told and shared about greenhouse grown produce and as we build on the consumer education component, we believe that the greenhouse story will become the greenhouse revolution,” Emily Murracas, Director of Marketing, Mucci Farms, said. “Mucci Farms is committed to being at the forefront of that movement, and building on our success.”
PC Greenhouse Strawberries are available across Ontario in several retail supermarkets owned and operated by Loblaw Companies Ltd.
Congratulations, Mucci Farms! For more produce industry accomplishments, stick with us at AndNowUKnow.