Naturipe Farms' Joe Dugo Talks Expanding Avocado Program
SALINAS, CA - With berry demand continuing on its upward trajectory, Naturipe Farms has been experiencing sweet success with a portfolio that encompasses strawberries and blueberries, as well as blackberries and raspberries. As a company always evolving, the team at Naturipe has expanded its focus in 2017 to include another popular category and bring even more value to its industry partners: the awesome avocado.
Here to share the latest and greatest on the new Naturipe avocado venture is Joe Dugo, National Sales Director for Naturipe Avocado Farms, who walks us through the program’s highlights.
“This is an exciting time for us at Naturipe. We now offer a year-round supply on avocados to our customers from all of our growing and packing regions,” Joe shares, adding that in its present growing region in Mexico, the program is experiencing very good quality as is normal with the temporal crop. “We expect to see a small drop off in volumes in the second part of December, but volumes will ramp up in anticipation of strong demand in January in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.”
The company has avocado growing and packing operations in Mexico, Peru, and Chile with North American operation centers set up in Texas, California, and the North East with bagged and preconditioned capabilities in all locations.
Naturipe currently has a balanced mix of retail, foodservice, and wholesale business because as growers, Joe adds, the company understands it needs to focus on selling the entire crop, which allows for a diverse portfolio of customers.
“We offer customers multiple packing options such as bagged, single layer, RPC, club pack, and foodservice packs,” Joe says. “We are working with customers with a focus on dry matter and pressures to ensure that we are delivering the optimal eating quality to their consumers. This will, in turn, lead to increased sales for our customers and increased consumer satisfaction.”
So, where did the new venture take root? The Naturipe avocado program was the result of carefully invested time and was several years in the making. It started with two of the company’s berry growers in Peru and Chile. These growers, in addition to growing berries for Naturipe, had also been growing avocados for more than 10 years. They bonded together, along with a Mexican partner, to form Naturipe Avocado Farms. This gives Naturipe a strong presence in two of the fastest growing categories in produce: berries and avocados.
“We are growers first. Our product comes from our own groves, packed in our own packing houses,” Joe tells me. “We can offer year-round, stable programs in what is typically a very unstable environment, because we own the production. We are able to provide the close attention to detail that our customers deserve with the strong consumer and industry brand of Naturipe. We have a lot of synergies with our berry division so we are able to combine operations in several locations, giving customers a one-stop-shop solution for avocados and berries.”
And from what I can see, Naturipe has no plans of slowing its growth making for a very fruitful 2018 path ahead.