GR Fresh Sees Success of New Bell Pepper Program and Added Squash Acreage; Tony Incaviglia Talks Growth, Inflation, and Partnership
MCALLEN, TX - Each new move is a gamble, with some stakes higher than others. GR Fresh recently played its cards and came up flush when it added to its bell and squash programs, bolstering its offerings and rounding out its portfolio.
“We added 11# GH Color Bell Pepper in the fall and have seen success since it was implemented,” shares Tony Incaviglia, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “This was a new deal for us, and the way it played out has shown it was a good decision on our part. It is always great to see when something is a good risk to take.”
The company deepened this approach with an expansion in production as well as added the soft squash category including yellow squash, zucchini, and grey squash.
“We have been strong in the base categories, such as avocados, cucumbers, eggplant, green bell peppers, and it was time to supplement the staples. We have done so successfully with yellow, and zucchini squash, digging into the more niche demands and providing a well-rounded program of popular items in addition to the stalwarts,” Tony reflects.
Even as these happy risks have played out, GR Fresh is not pulling this off without challenges, both by traditional circumstances like weather and the additional wave of logistic and cost barriers that have been introduced over the past year.
Green bell peppers, for example, have seen some tumultuous volumes due to a recent cold snap, but are starting to show signs of steadying.
“Quality is staying good, and over the last couple of weeks, it looks like things have been picking up quantity-wise. Production is working hard to catch up and ensure orders are filled,” Tony assures. “We continue to strive to the levels we saw two years ago, but we deal with the challenges laid before us.”
Tony points out how, while growth and added programs are great, they do come with added expenses.
“All the inflation that’s going on—no one feels it more than suppliers do. The cost of pallets, seed, boxes, everything that it takes to get product to retail and foodservice, has seen substantial hikes, and there is a need to share the load to ensure that the system continues to flow,” he says.
Partnership on all sides in sharing that load, Tony tells me, is key in keeping our industry moving as efficiently as possible.
“Currently, the pricing spikes are drastic from week to week on all inputs, but we are learning to live in the era that we are in and to do what is necessary to make tomorrow better,” Tony reflects. “Ours is an industry that knows how to recognize a challenge, deal with it, and move on. We have to find a way to succeed, we have to be sustainable, innovative, and find solutions. So, we do.”
Without risk, there is no reward. No one knows that better than those in the fresh produce industry. And there is no doubt in my mind it is that commitment to keep moving that will see the cards fall in our favor.