North Bay Produce Details Year-Round Capabilities on Berries, Apples, and More
- by Anne Allen
TRAVERSE CITY, MI - Although consumers may assume that fall and winter production means a slower season for growers, they couldn’t be further from the truth. For year-round suppliers like North Bay Produce, these months are as busy as ever as transition plans take root. In order to better understand a multitude of category statuses, I turned to several members within the team.
“We’re in the middle of a heavy berry transition, particularly for our blues and blacks,” explained Ryan Lockman, Vice President of Sales and Procurement. “We’re moving out of our domestic growing regions of Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Michigan, to growing regions such as Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Argentina, and Chile. September is the month for full-time blueberry transition for both organic and conventional. So far, the transition has been smooth with no gaps in production.”
As value builds at market, more consumers are chasing after the blueberry category.
“Big packs of berries continue to remain on trend,” Ryan remarked. “Since shoppers are making less frequent trips to the store, they want to offer larger pack sizes to help shoppers fill the gaps between shopping trips. With our steady supplies out of Peru, we’re able to accommodate their needs.”
Additional packaging changes, such as North Bay’s TopSeal offering on its blackberries and raspberries—a first for the company—make its berry program a must-have for the buy-side.
Similarly, the grower’s apple program is consistently delivering value for its customers. Just as consumers are shopping in bulk when it comes to berries, this trend also carries over to apples.
“It’s a pretty exciting start so far,” began Ken Korson, Apple Category Manager. “A lot of early varietal movement has been very good and now we’re adjusting to what people are buying. Retailers are incredibly active this year, with an overall increased interest in regional for apples.”
Offering 15 varieties, such as Evercrisp, which has consistently grown in popularity, North Bay offers retailers an abundance of program options.
“Our marketing campaigns are ramping up,” Brian Klumpp, Director of Marketing and Strategic Development, shared. “Working alongside our customers and buyers, we develop custom plans for each of our retail partners. This is how we drive sales and value for the apple category.”
North Bay is also looking at supply from Guatemala on veg items such as snap peas, French beans, organic French beans, and Brussels sprouts.
“We’re a one-stop shop, one-call solution for retailers looking to stock up on popular items within the produce department,” concluded Nick Osmulski, President. “With a wonderful transition on berries and apples beginning to take over other retail programs as we head into fall, we’re proud to work with our partners to deliver high quality produce.”
Centrally located and with top-notch supply chain capabilities to boot, North Bay should absolutely be on your list of supply-side partners.