Dave's Specialty Imports' Leslie Simmons Talks Expanding Organics
CORAL SPRINGS, FL - As popularity continues to grow within the versatile berry category, Dave's Specialty Imports is answering the strong demand from retail and foodservice partners with expansions across its organic berry production.
Marketing Manager Leslie Simmons took a few moments to share Dave’s latest and greatest with me, and to talk about how organics are trending.
“We started expanding organic production of blueberries with this year's imports coming in from Chile,” Leslie tells me. “In addition to Chile, we are also investing in organic production that will be coming from Florida and Georgia as we move into the domestic season. As far as blackberry production we have increased organics out of Mexico. At this point we are really evaluating all shipping areas.”
Organic demand has also changed in recent years and it seems to be a cyclical effect. Dave’s has seen an increase in organic demand as there are more organics available and they become more mainstream.
“People used to go to specialty or natural foods stores, and now you can expect to see organics almost everywhere. While there may still be a gap in the consumers understanding of what organic vs. conventional really means, we are seeing shoppers who are looking at organics as a healthy lifestyle choice. Some believe there are fewer pesticides, while others are looking at it as a more sustainable/ earth-friendly option,” Leslie says.
Organics, as a trend, does not appear to be going away. For an array of different reasons, consumers enjoy having their pick between both conventional and organic items.
“We see that people will often buy a mix, especially in produce, and we want to be there when they are looking for organic berries,” she adds.
Dave’s pack sizes will change as the company moves into different regions and smaller or larger crops. Currently, Dave’s has organic blueberries in 4.4 oz., 6 oz., and pints as well as blackberries in 6oz.
When I ask Leslie about the existing or growing trends for berries that she believes retailers should stay in front of, she tells me that Dave’s has seen growth in snack packs for berries and it seems to be a step in the right direction.
“Berries are an ideal grab n’ go snack item, and, over time, there's no reason why they can't replace a bag of chips, or a candy bar. We are happy to work, hand–in-hand with innovative retailers to get there,” Leslie says.
At the end of the day we all want to promote more consumption of fruits and vegetables. There’s definitely a lot of room for the berry categories to grow, and as Leslie tells me, it is exciting to be a part of that growth.