“Our go-to-market strategy is in constant evolution,” says Matt Mandel with SunFed. “For the longest time, we focused entirely on the product itself, but now we are increasingly trying to connect with consumers by focusing on branding, part of which is the packaging.”
“Industry wide, 60 percent of produce is sold in bulk and 40 percent is packaged,” says Brett Burdsal with SunFed. “We are concentrating on both, but are getting more into packaging.” A brand-new example is the Almost Famous label. It includes produce that is misshapen, but still good produce. It tastes as good, has the same nutritional content and the requirement is for it not to contain any decay. “Ugly produce gives access to people who may otherwise not be able to afford it. It also makes organic produce more affordable as we will have misshapen organics at a conventional price,” added Burdsal.
Almost Famous is artwork
SunFed will soon offer Almost Famous squash, zucchini, bell peppers and cucumbers, in 1.5 lb packages. “We try to make ugly produce fun with our Almost Famous label,” said Mandel. “Consumers shop with their eyes and when they look at something ugly, they may not be interested. Packaging will take away a little bit from shopping with your eyes,” he added. “You will be able to see the defects, but also have a bit of shine.”
The Almost Famous label will be available in about five weeks. The artwork is ready and it’s a matter of waiting on the product, which is in the ground right now. SunFed will start with yellow squash, zucchini and cucumbers as that is what the company grows the most of.
Hard to plan for availability
Ugly produce makes the go-to-market strategy a little different as it is hard to plan for availability. “It is not something we grow for,” said Burdsal. “It is a by-product. We know we will end up with some, but hopefully not too much.” It will be harder for big retailers to carry it, but SunFed will start and experiment with smaller retailers. It will be hard to carry all our varieties all the time, but Burdsal is confident that just about every week, throughout the year, there will be something in the Almost Famous portfolio to offer to the consumer.
Packaging of ugly produce will help retailers control and track. It also improves shelf life and will tell a story. SunFed plans to package all ugly produce varieties for retail. It can be recognized by its bright, attractive artwork.
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