hen eating a ripe, ruby-red, raspberry, there’s something that unlocks inside of you: you aren’t sitting at your dining room table biting into the fruit you purchased from the grocery store—you’re transported. From that first bite, you’re in the brambles; you feel like maybe you’re a kid again, picking through the bushes on the hike you love to take behind your grandparent’s house, or maybe you’re taking your children down a berry-lined path to show them where their favorite fruit is grown. But no matter where that burst of raspberry flavor takes you, the people who make sure each berry gets to your plate have that journey in mind each day they step onto those fields.
Those people are the people at Well•Pict Berries.
Well•Pict looks to this summer berry season as the perfect opportunity to educate the retail community on the flavorful story that a raspberry can provide, and who better to lead the way than the friendly face of Vice President of Sales and Marketing Dan Crowley?
"Well•Pict Berries is always looking for ways to improve both our products and our service. It’s the reason I’ve been here for as long as I have, having served on the sales team for 15 years, and the reason Well•Pict Berries will be around for another 50 years or more as a respected industry leader."
– Dan Crowley
“Just like the strawberries that we’re already known for, Well•Pict Raspberries are premium, patented, proprietary varieties. We want buyers to understand just how versatile these delicious beauties are,” Dan tells me with a passion that lets me know exactly how important this mission is to the Well•Pict team. “Bred for flavor, size, color, aroma, and shine, Well•Pict Raspberries are not your ‘garden variety,’ and are sought-after around the globe. With the significant investments in time and money we spend to bring each variety to market, you can only get these superior varieties in clamshells carrying the Well•Pict label. Only experienced, independent growers are authorized to grow our patented varieties.”
If you have met Dan, you’ll probably hear those words in the warm timbre of his voice. To know Dan Crowley is to love Dan Crowley. Whether he’s taken you for a spin on the dance floor or you’ve caught him wandering through a convention hotel lobby in full spa-ready attire, chances are if you’ve spent a long enough time in the produce industry, you have a great story from this affable berry guru. To me, Dan’s earnest good-heartedness is one of the keys to what allows Well•Pict’s mission to make raspberries one of your first choices at the grocery store so easy to imagine as a reality. When Dan tells you something is going to happen, you believe him.
“Who wouldn’t want to work for the best berry company in the world?” Dan exclaims with his infectious charisma. “Whether it’s answering to new product trends or developing customer communications, Well•Pict Berries is always looking for ways to improve both our products and our service. It’s the reason I’ve been here for as long as I have, having served on the sales team for 15 years, and the reason Well•Pict Berries will be around for another 50 years or more as a respected industry leader. The company’s vision has always been close to my heart. Well•Pict Berries looks beyond today, and continues to change and evolve for the better in an effort to meet consumer and retailer demands, so it’s a win-win for all.”
Having started in the produce industry back in high school, driving a water truck on strawberry ranches and operating the forklifts in the coolers during his summer vacations throughout college, Dan knows berries. Add his degree in Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and you have someone that not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.
From a major push to make its proprietary raspberry program a go-to for the buying community, to launching a full-scale educational program to teach retailers how to provide the freshest berry to the consumer, Dan and the Well•Pict team have their hands full gearing up to what could be one of the biggest summer berry pushes in recent memory.
"The company’s vision has always been close to my heart. Well•Pict Berries looks beyond today, and continues to change and evolve for the better in an effort to meet consumer and retailer demands, so it’s a win-win for all.”
– Dan Crowley
“The spring and summer holidays are the number one time of year for terrific berry sales, as that is when we are in top berry production for our entire line,” Dan explains. “Even beginning as early as Valentine’s Day and continuing all the way through Labor Day, people look to feature Well•Pict quality berries at their holiday tables and gatherings. Letting people know where and when Well•Pict Berries are available can make for a drastic increase in a retailer’s profit and performance. Couple consumer berry demand this time of year with the superior look and taste of Well•Pict Berries on full display in a produce aisle, and profits are sure to be in-store.”
So, how do you make sure consumers not only have access to raspberries, but tie their wallets back to the almost spiritual experience of biting into that big, fresh-picked flavor? Quite simply, display the berries beautifully in front of them and watch them work their magic!
“Showcasing Well•Pict raspberries increases profits—plain and simple. Studies suggest that displaying Well•Pict Berries at the front of a retailer’s produce aisle will not only increase sales almost immediately due to berries’ immense popularity, but in fact will help drive sales for other produce and cross-merchandised items,” Dan says. “With buyers understanding just how versatile raspberries can be, we project demand to grow substantially over the next several years. It’s often said that while the quality of the Well•Pict Berries brand and the beauty of our product gets them to buy, it’s the great taste that brings them back…again and again. It’s no exaggeration that just one taste, and consumers are hooked.”
In addition to targeted POS materials, including posters, recipe cards, decals, and more, the company has also launched a comprehensive retailer education program: Well•Pict Berry Academy. Created to assist the company’s valued retail partner in educating their receiving units on the proper way to handle and grade its berries once they’ve arrived at their stores, Well•Pict understands the importance of proper berry handling, especially in the warm summer months. With the aid of educational videos, online materials, and even grading clipboards that have a visual chart printed right on the back for easy use, the real value of the program is teaching each partner to understand and incorporate their education into their dock routines. And like any great academy, once an employee has passed the Well•Pict Berry Academy test, he or she receives a Well•Pict Berries certificate to mark their achievement in educating themselves on proper berry care and knowledge.
“With all materials containing tips and information on the proper care and handling, the goal of course is to increase profits for all by ensuring only the very freshest berry is made available to the customer,” Dan shares.
One of the most significant points in educating retailers about Well•Pict Berries delivery is the cold chain. It’s of the utmost importance to maintain 33 degree temperature from the moment they have been cooled, until the time at which they are put out on the store floor for display and purchase. If berries are going to arrive in their very best condition on retailers’ shelves, the cold chain must not be broken anywhere from our shipping house to the store.
“Picked and packed directly in the field by our independent growers, Well•Pict Berries are taken to our cooling houses where they are immediately cooled, then put directly into our temperature controlled trucks where they are shipped straight to the retailers’ receiving docks,” Dan explains. “The time between each berry being picked and being on its way is a mere matter of hours! Once in transit, the ultimate goal is that the 33 degree temperature never be broken in the process so that the berries stay fresh, crisp, and delicious until they are delivered into the produce departments for the customers. This is one of the main topics contained within the Well•Pict Berry Academy videos, as breaking the cold chain anywhere along the process is the single largest reason why retailers have problems maintaining berry freshness in their stores.”
With the mission of making sure each and every retailer and consumer knows the value of tapping into the rich and fertile story that’s waiting dormant inside their raspberries, it’s not hard to imagine that Dan and the Well•Pict team are more than prepared to take that head on. I, for one, know I’ll be thinking Well•Pict next time I bite into a sweet and fragrant raspberry.