Crystal Valley Foods' Katiana Valdes Discusses Current Asparagus Market
MIAMI, FL - From veggie scrambles and sautées to an elegant side dish, asparagus lends itself to a diverse range of flavors while also serving as a stand-out all on its own. With dynamic trends in demand continuing to unfold, Crystal Valley Foods’ Katiana Valdes, Marketing Director, recently gave me the low-down on the current state of the asparagus market.
“In the spring months, asparagus is typically grown in the Caborca Mexico region for North America. This year, cold fronts in the region have affected volume a bit, however supply is starting to pick up again,” said Katiana. “With weather affecting volume in Mexico, we have also started sourcing from Peru again to help with demand.”
Katiana relayed that quality out of the Caborca region has been good, however volume has been less than originally expected at the beginning of the season. Although, with volume beginning to pick up again, Crystal Valley is seeing some positive trends in the market. The company is bringing in Peruvian grass too, and quality and volume are good out of the region.
“Weather and cold fronts in February in the Caborca region have affected volume during a historically high-volume period. It has been a difficult season for promotions and sales due to the lack of volume, however it looks like things are turning around as we head into the middle of March,” Katiana added.
On the demand front, Crystal Valley has seen an increase in the need for packaged produce. The value-added asparagus segment has reportedly grown over the last several years, and Crystal Valley is keeping pace. The company offers microwaveable, extended shelf-life bags as 8 oz tips, 12 oz cut asparagus (where the woody/white ends are cut off but there is a longer spear left than tips), and 8 oz, 1 lb, and 2 lb spears.
“There are a few benefits from the retail and consumer standpoint on the bagged asparagus: first, they are in a controlled atmosphere bag, which helps extend shelf-life a bit; second, depending on the type of pack, they are ready to eat or cook; and third, most of them come in a microwaveable bag. Consumers continue to be concerned about cleanliness and health, and packaged produce provides a sense of security,” Katiana told me. “Packaged or value-added produce also typically comes with a scannable barcode which helps with the touchless or ‘scan and go’ checkouts some retailers are moving toward.”
Be sure to keep those shelves stocked with asparagus in many formats, as the possibilities for new eating occasions are seemingly endless.