Vanguard Direct's Craig Stauffer and Dirk Winkelmann Discuss New Varieties and Packing House
- by Anne Allen
BAKERSFIELD, CA - New varieties and a new packing house? Is it Christmas already? Not for me, but for Vanguard Direct, it certainly seems like it. I spoke with the company’s CEO, Craig Stauffer, and Chief Business Development Officer, Dirk Winkelmann, to learn more about how the fully integrated company continues to expand its global grape empire.
“Our new varieties offer consumers great taste with large, crispy, and crunchy berries. We are introducing ‘new’ consumers to the category who did not know until now just how delicious and satisfying a grape could be,” Dirk told me. “They are perfect for the lunch box, snacking, on the dinner plate or in a salad—not just on the charcuterie board! For retailers and wholesalers, we have ignited excitement in the category, creating merchandising opportunities, higher retail rings that the consumer has demonstrated a willingness to pay.”
The new varieties of which he speaks include:
- Sweet Celebration ® - Red Seedless
- Jack’s Salute ® - Red Seedless
- Sugar Crisp® - Green Seedless
- Sweet Globe ® - Green Seedless
- Ivory ( Sheegene 21) - Green Seedless
- Sweet Sapphire ® - Black Seedless
- Sweet Favor® - Black Seedless
With all these new varieties, you want to ensure their utmost freshness. Craig informed me that the latest tech in its packing house gives Vanguard the capability of pre-conditioning its grapes, which means that the team gets the fruit out of the field and into a controlled environment quickly.
“This is where a more efficient and humidity-controlled pre-conditioning and first stage packing process exists, all with state-of-the-art cold chain management,” Craig explained. “The new facility also allows for a range of packing styles and types—a significant advantage when packing multiple varieties for all types of customers (retail, wholesale, foodservice, e–commerce) in over 25 countries—with superior cooling and cold chain control.”
For next season, buyers and consumers should look forward to the following new varieties:
- Autumn Crisp ® - Green Seedless - March / April 2019 - 2020
- Midnight Beauty ® - Black Seedless - January / Feb 2019 / 2020
- Adora ® - Black Seedless - March / April 2019/2020
- Icon Firestar(s) - Red Seedless - January / February 2019 /2020
- Allison® - Red Seedless - March/April 2019 /2020
- Candy Hearts ® - Red Seedless - February/ March 2019 / 2020
“We grow only seedless IP varieties, proven to produce the best possible eating experience for the consumers, which means repeat sales and increased velocity of sale for our retail partners,” Craig said.
To keep up with the latest in fresh produce, keep reading AndNowUKnow.