Bako Sweet® Blazes the Trail for Sweet Potato Innovation; Matt McCort and Susan Noritake Share


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Mon. May 20th, 2024 - by Jordan Okumura-Wright

BAKERSFIELD, CA - Innovation is a complex system of components—a purposefully built web of connective tissue that encompasses thought, vision, execution, product, and commitment. At innovation’s heart, lies leadership. Without it, such ingenuity is infrequent, singular, a short lifespan in the development of legacy. In the heart of Bakersfield, California, Bako Sweet® stands as a beacon of such innovation in the sweet potato industry. The vertically integrated enterprise excels as a grower, packer, shipper, and marketer, setting trends that captivate consumers, retailers, and growers nationwide, all underscored by an unwavering dedication to excellence.

Matt McCort, Chief Operating Officer, Bako Sweet®

“One of the hallmarks of Bako Sweet's leadership is our openness to learning and collaboration, even from unexpected sources,” Matt McCort, Chief Operating Officer, shares. “Recognizing the value of cross-country dialogue is essential as different parts of the nation manage specific expectations, have a diverse set of challenges with limited solutions.”

In other words, Bako Sweet's leadership team eagerly welcomes insights, many of which recently stemmed from their first attendance at this year’s Southeast Produce Council Southern Exposure event.

Susan Noritake, Director of Sales and Marketing, Bako Sweet®

“Understanding that diversity of perspective breeds innovation. When major East Coast retailers stopped by our booth, they recognized us as a source of vision, example, and discussion on where we can take sweet potato innovation next,” Susan Noritake, Director of Sales and Marketing, reveals.

The team, instead of resting on their laurels, saw this as an opportunity to learn and grow.

It's evident that Bako Sweet isn't just another player in the category; they are trendsetters, a group helping to raise the bar in the pursuit of a more progressive future for sweet potatoes. With a finger firmly on the pulse of modern culinary preferences, Bako Sweet consistently delivers products that are not only high-quality but also desirable to shoppers.

Bako Sweet's leadership team eagerly welcomes insights, many of which recently stemmed from their first attendance at this year’s SEPC Southern Exposure event (Pictured: Susan Noritake, Bailey Slayton, and Riley Slayton of Bako Sweet®)

"The reception of our value-added products and future innovations fuels Bako Sweet's motivation to keep pushing boundaries,” Susan expresses. "Whether developing new products for retail or foodservice partners, we continue to demonstrate our expertise in anticipating consumer needs and preferences.”

But what truly sets Bako Sweet apart is its dedication to uplifting others within the category. When East Coast growers sought advice on how to navigate the complexities of organics, Bako Sweet didn't hesitate to share its knowledge and expertise. Instead of viewing others as competitors, it sees them as allies in a collective journey toward sustainability and success.

With a finger firmly on the pulse of modern culinary preferences, Bako Sweet consistently delivers products that are not only high-quality but also desirable to shoppers

Sustainability isn't just a buzzword for Bako Sweet; it's a guiding principle woven into the fabric of our operations. As conversations surrounding sustainable packaging options take center stage, we continue to drive the discussion forward,” Matt states.

Bako Sweet’s ability to collaborate at the forefront of such complexities drives meaningful change within the industry. From reducing waste to exploring eco-friendly alternatives, the company is committed to leaving a positive impact on the planet.

Whether developing new products for retail or foodservice partners, the supplier continues to demonstrate its expertise in anticipating consumer needs and preferences

As Bako Sweet continues to chart new territories and push the boundaries of what's possible in the world of sweet potatoes, one thing remains abundantly clear: Its leadership is pioneering, setting a shining example for others to emulate.

The Bako Sweet brand will be at this month's West Coast Produce Expo, booth #114. So, stop by and say hello, and learn about innovation and leadership straight from this amazing team!