GR Fresh's Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Tony Incaviglia, Discusses Expectations of Viva Fresh Expo
- by Jordan Okumura
McALLEN, TX - When we speak of roots in the fresh produce industry, we are acknowledging both the literal and the symbolic spaces they occupy. One of those companies with deep roots—choose your kind—is GR Fresh. Originally founded by Juan Gonzalez Reyes, more than six decades ago, the company continues to prosper in its efforts to impact food supply in North America.
“Juan Gonzalez’ integrity, vision, and commitment have been handed down to the third generation as grandsons’ Antonio Viillalobos and Luis Webb, continue to drive his firm beliefs in sustainability, social responsibility, and excellence in safe food production,” Tony Incaviglia, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, shares with me. “This year’s Viva Fresh Expo will highlight not only what we bring to market, but how we do it. The needs of our customers are incredibly important to us and we are primed to evolve as the state of the industry does as well. Keeping the conversation on the topics impacting North American trade today will be key at this event and I expect we will all be hoping to see what everyone brings to the table.”
GR Fresh offers a full product line, which includes Roma, round, and grape tomatoes as well as bell peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, hot peppers, carrots, pomegranate, and zucchini, yellow squashes. Also gaining some momentum this winter is the company’s iceberg lettuce, celery, and romaine program and not to forget organic Romas. Additionally, GR Fresh’s organic category has grown in interest as requests are up on organic Romas. With all these products grown in Mexico, these are very uncertain times for not only GR Fresh, but the industry as a whole. But Tony remains positive that Mexico’s contributions will remain key.
“It is important that we take every opportunity to elevate the discussion around Mexico’s contributions to the fresh produce supply chain. The country’s multiple growing regions and fertile landscape have responded to the global market’s demand for more fresh produce opportunities,” Tony says, adding that the landscape is changing, and the industry will need to adjust very rapidly to stay ahead of the curve and challenges facing us around every corner. “The next several months will provide some clarity but currently political tensions exist whether it be illegal immigration, border blockades, and longer wait times for crossings or tariffs on tomato products; they will all impact our industry forever going forward.”
With the economy and policies in flux, Tony sees it as a need, more than ever, to become more full-service from an operational and logistical point of view. Full-service growers facing a lot more demand, not from a supply standpoint but from a logistics standpoint.
“Topics such as consolidation is a huge consideration today with the cost of transportation in general whether it is full loads or LTL’s, one location...all these things are of economic importance,” Tony reflects. “And who better than a grower/shipper to handle your products than one who understands the focus and value placed on in-and-out handling of its own categories.”
Viva Fresh is sure to be buzzing with opportunities this year as well as with a heightened awareness of the state of today’s North American market. Check out more of what the GR Freshteam has to share at Viva Fresh Expo booth #133!
See you all there!