Ippolito International’s Katie Harreld Discusses Tight Brussels Sprouts Market
- by Peggy Packer
SALINAS, CA - Brussels sprouts are continuing to hold the spotlight in both the retail and foodservice sectors, with heightened demand leading to a continued tight market, which has persisted over the past few weeks. To get a deeper look at current production and trends, I got in touch with Katie Harreld, Ippolito International’s Brussels Sprouts Commodity Manager, who offered me a behind-the-scenes look at the unique category.
“Across our growing regions, the early warm summer weather we had helped the growth cycle. However, a few weeks of much warmer temperatures recently, along with some summer rain, has had an impact on quality and ability to harvest,” Katie tells me. “So, trying to balance our multiple regions that are both a bit off schedule has been a challenge. It seems that much of the Brussels sprouts volume as an industry is going through this same thing. As a result, the market is tighter as growers manage summer weather along with the usual transition between growing regions.”
Ippolito is coming into the home stretch of its Mexico growing season, which ends in the next couple of weeks. The grower also has Brussels sprouts coming out of Oxnard, California, and its Salinas, California, season is scheduled to begin the first week of July. To set its partners up for success in the category, Ippolito International works with different customers to provide the right products for their respective needs. Meal delivery, foodservice, and retail customers alike have benefited from the customized product development approach that Ippolito brings to this category.
“Ten years ago, Brussels sprouts were not the fixture they are on today’s menus or the retail shelf,” Katie explains. “The market simply was not as developed as it is now. Over the years, we’ve continued to put considerable time and effort into honing our growing and packing expertise. Our customers have put their trust in us, and we’ve continued to deliver a consistent quality pack.”
As the category rises in popularity and the warm weather prompts an influx of outdoor celebrations, the stage is set for compelling promotions throughout the produce department.
“We are finding that, on the buy-side, retailers are pushing Brussels sprouts more consistently to consumers. Promotions definitely support interest and increase purchases. Providing recipe suggestions and sharing ways to prepare Brussels sprouts goes a long way toward encouraging consumers to try them,” adds Katie. “Summer weather is perfect for outdoor grilling, and Brussels sprouts lend themselves nicely to the grill, so highlight them as a solid item on the backyard barbecue menu.”
Tapping into this demand is a sure-fire way to boost sales in the produce aisle. For more market updates and exciting retail opportunities, keep clicking on AndNowUKnow.