Joe Spano and Dan Branson Discuss Mucci Farms Strawberry Program and Valentine’s Day Merchandising
ONTARIO, CANADA - It’s berry time all the time, especially with amazing supply-side partners like the kind you find in Mucci Farms. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, consumers are already looking to the produce department to bring that fresh message to the special day. So, retailers, time to give those grocery baskets what they long for: a strawberry strategy that delivers.
“At Mucci Farms, our production window is 365 days a year thanks to the largest controlled environment berry farm on the continent that allows us to harvest fresh strawberries in the middle of February in a cold climate,” Joe Spano, Vice President of Sales and Marketing shares. “This is made possible by innovative growing techniques, ongoing research and development, and a massive 72 acres of scale to deliver on our quality and commitment.”
Mucci Farms prioritizes local production in cold regions and is currently servicing Eastern Canada and the Midwest United States.
So, how does one make the best of the strawberry category partners? Dan Branson, Senior Director of Business and Product Development, tells me that—particularly with greenhouse growers—the team highly recommends that retailers enter long-term partnerships to ensure consistent quality and supply throughout the year.
“In the winter, it’s always a bit tougher to find product in general. And, in cold regions, finding locally or regionally grown product is even tougher. With finite farming real estate, planning in advance is imperative as it ensures that consistent quantity and supply will be available specifically for the retailer,” Dan reveals. “Our experienced team of experts is well-versed in putting together comprehensive strategies specific to our retail partners that include consideration for higher traffic seasons.”
Along with solid recommendations to fuel sales and long-term consumer loyalty, Mucci Farms is also a leading source for merchandising tips and strategies to create destinations that speak to the consumer as well as the bottom line. A big part of that starts by dedicating effort in high-traffic areas rather than inline when it comes to holiday promotions.
“Do as much cross-merchandising as you can with complimentary items throughout the store, including floral if it’s available,” Dan tells me. “Specifically for Valentine’s Day, merchandising strawberries with floral or chocolate could be a big hit. Reinforce these efforts on social media to market these complementary combinations and have them all accessible at arm’s length in the store.”
For those focused on a relationship beyond a business transaction, Mucci Farms has your ticket. The company maintains a vision of working with its partners for the long haul and building plans that bring items to market, expand production on key items, improve sales, and offer a wide range of support through its in-house marketing capabilities.
“The biggest advantage of working with us begins with our emphasis on quality, consistency, and flavor of all our fruits and veggies. That’s first and foremost. With that nucleus, we utilize our team of nearly 2,000 to innovate and execute for our partners across the continent,” Joe says. “In terms of strawberries, growth and innovation are our lifeblood. Nobody on the continent has grown strawberries indoors at this scale because it’s a very difficult product to master from end to end. In partnership with a large retailer, we worked together through numerous stages of trial and error to get to the production and efficiency levels we have today.”
It is impressive to write about such a well-rounded company as Mucci Farms. And, the team is taking their dedication one step further—into the community. For the local Windsor/Essex, Ontario, community, the company is putting its own spin on candygrams by doing SmuccieGrams in partnership with The Flowershop at Thiessen’s in Kingsville, Ontario. For $20, locals can send a red rose, a pack of award-winning Smuccies™ Sweet Strawberries with a special custom label, and a mini jar of Nutella. Even better, delivery is free and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to The Welcome Center, Shelter for Women and Families in Windsor.
I would say it is a happy Valentine’s Day on multiple fronts, from retail shelves to the community plate.