It is a little-known fact that Mastronardi Produce, the company behind the world’s first branded tomato, actually has its roots in lettuce. In the 1940’s, when Armando Mastronardi bought a farm after his arrival in Canada, his first crop was not tomatoes – it was lettuce. Now, the company is returning to its roots and launching a new lettuce brand, Queen of Greens™.
“We are always looking for better ways to deliver on the food that people have been used to settling for,” says Paul Mastronardi, President and CEO of Mastronardi Produce. “It’s why we’re always pushing the boundaries on flavor, technology and sustainability. We believe the lettuce category needs a revolution, and we have the expertise and resources to drive that change.”
Lettuce is the largest category in fresh produce but is rife with issues. Over the last 2 years alone, disease pressure has cost retailers an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars and has severely tarnished consumers’ perception of the category. Long cross-country treks result in shorter shelf life and negatively impact the environment. And limited varietal development means lettuce has long been viewed as strictly a vessel for salad dressing – low in flavor and not very exciting.
Enter Queen of Greens™, the new high-tech lettuce line from Mastronardi. Leveraging their expertise in research & development, their connections with the best seed companies around the world, and their knack for innovation and branding, Mastronardi believes its new lettuce offering will truly change what the world expects from its greens. The brand promises better varieties, exciting and innovative products, branding that will elevate the category, and consistent, year-round supply.
The greenhouses that grow the lettuce will feature the most advanced technology in the world and will be completely automated and touch-free from seeding to packing. Not only does the protected nature of a greenhouse allow for consistent and predictable quality and supply 365 days per year, but with significantly less land and less water used than field farms, the product offering will be more sustainable and environmentally friendly than what is available in today’s conventional lettuce category. And because the lettuce is grown indoors in a controlled environment, there isn’t the same risk of wildlife contaminants that is seen in field farming.
“We’re excited to change the game in this category. We’ve done our research, we know what consumers are looking for and we know the potential within the category is incredible,” says Paul. “As pioneers of the commercial greenhouse industry, we are confident that we will be the ones to drive the advancement and growth in the high-tech lettuce segment.”
Queen of Greens™ will launch during the PMA Virtual Fresh Summit, with supply immediately available.