Our industry faces challenges and necessary changes every single day in order to adjust to the world we serve. Because of this, there is a need to constantly evolve with the consistent call for a fresh approach to businesses’ and consumers’ desires. Fresh Del Monte has made a point of staying ahead of the curve with acute attention to its growing business, strategic offerings, and reputation.
Over time, Fresh Del Monte has seen quite the evolution in its growth—the most recent acquisition of award-winning leading grower, processor, and supplier Mann Packing being a huge part of that transformation. But what stays the same is the company’s drive for tangible success with customers and consumers.
Vice President of Marketing Dionysios Christou tells me that milestones of strategic growth can be seen throughout the company’s long history, which reaches all the way back to 1892. Since then, it has carved out a name for itself as a leader in vertically integrated producers, marketers, and distributors for high-quality, fresh, and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, Dionysios shares about the journey. In addition, he dives into the company’s role as a leading producer and distributor of prepared food in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
“We are constantly seeking out ways to enhance our ability to better serve our customers...”
-Dionysios Christou, Vice President of Marketing, Fresh Del Monte
“Our business has evolved over time along with changing consumer needs, and we continue to do so today. Our recent acquisition of Mann Packing is an example of how we continue to expand to meet consumer and customer needs,” Dionysios says. “This acquisition represents a step toward our goal of becoming the world’s leading supplier of healthful, wholesome, and nutritious fresh and prepared food and beverages for consumers of all ages. Mann Packing is now an integrated part of the Del Monte Fresh family, and we are pleased to be able to bring Mann’s products to more consumers across North America.”
At the root of the ever-expanding company is customer service, as it seeks product additions that cater to consumer demand in new and energizing ways. To bring its renowned products—including Mann Packing’s portfolio—to customers’ locations, the company has approached merchandising with a fiery vigor that tends to holidays and festivities as much as day-to-day happenings.
“Our merchandisers are constantly communicating with our retailers and their produce personnel to drive sales around seasonal trends, such as tailgating season, where tactical eye-catching POS can help to drive impulse purchases in-store,” he shares. “Retailers and manufacturers must always stay current with trends, needs, and shopping behaviors of their consumers. For example, millennials are a growing consumer segment that have more than $200 billion in annual buying power and the highest consumption of fruits and vegetables in the U.S. As the need and want for healthier lifestyles continues to surge among this demographic, retailers must target them by offering a wide range of convenient, fresh products that can be enjoyed on-the-go or quickly prepared. Del Monte Fresh Produce products are ideally positioned to address today’s consumer needs. We’re constantly bringing new products to market to meet the changing needs of consumers. Our products can help retailers to engage shoppers with new and innovative product offerings. Recently added product lines to the Del Monte Fresh family include Mann’s Nourish Bowls® with plant-based protein and Fresh Veggie Noodles & Rice.”
We’re looking at you, football fanatics, because we know a Monday Night Football spread is incomplete without some produce flare. True to every business, there are certain times of year that are great for harvesting promotions and consumer engagement. Fresh Del Monte has taken the task to heart, noting September’s unique opportunities to dive feet first into holiday readiness and merchandising efforts that put fresh produce front and center.
“In September, as we return to school and work after the Labor Day holiday, back-to-school is a major seasonal theme. For consumers, Labor Day acts as a ‘reset,’ and many of us will be renewing resolutions to lead a healthier lifestyle in the run up to the holidays,” Dionysios tells me. “Whether grab-and-go convenience items, snacks for lunchboxes, or ingredients for home-cooked meals, September is a great opportunity to reconnect with consumers around health and wellness. When it comes to merchandising produce to maximize the post-Labor Day opportunity, it is important to consistently display ready-to-eat fruit so as to engage and attract consumers who are increasingly looking for produce they can eat today.”
The company encourages the whole process to be easy, as consumers find their produce essentials for sports gatherings and more with a focus on fresh. There is a method to our industry’s madness, though, and Fresh Del Monte knows it through and through. The goal for the company’s attention to merchandising is to boost engagement with consumers, all the while saving money for retailers.
“For retailers, an effective program will emphasize product rotation and consumer promotions to minimize waste,” Dionysios adds, before expanding on other ways retailers can cater to financial and environmental sustainability. “Another area that consumers are paying increasing attention to is sustainability. The company has established environmental and social policies and procedures as well as numerous programs that protect and sustain the environment and promote the wellbeing of our employees and the communities in which we operate. Our environmental and employee programs are regularly audited by internal and external auditors against internationally accepted environmental standards, such as Global GAP, ISO 14001, and the Ethical Trading Initiative. In the sustainability section of our website, we present the many programs the company has implemented worldwide and their corresponding results.”
Beyond shrink, Fresh Del Monte keeps its customers coming back for more with its evolution of offerings. The company is always on the hunt for what people want and various ways to become the go-to source for consumers’ needs. This drive, though, is an ongoing effort, Dionysios explains.
“We work hard to stay ahead of consumer needs and bring to market new products that deliver healthful, wholesome, and nutritious fresh and prepared food and beverages for consumers of all ages. Meeting the needs of consumers is essential for our ongoing success, and you can expect us to continue working toward this goal,” Dionysios shares with me, before expanding on Fresh Del Monte’s Mann Packing acquisition as an example of its commitment to customer satisfaction. “We are constantly seeking out ways to enhance our ability to better serve our customers and address consumers’ needs for healthier and more convenient products. The Mann Packing acquisition is just one way that we are achieving this goal.”
Behind every success is a series of endeavors tirelessly pursued. Fresh Del Monte’s story is one comprised of little events that have tread a path so large and so profound that it has changed the course of business for others in the industry. With its reputation in tow, it moves forward with grace and pride in its large number of facilities, immense distribution network, impressive trucking operations, and so much more.
“Fresh Del Monte markets its products worldwide under the Del Monte® brand, a symbol of product innovation, quality, freshness, and reliability for more than 125 years,” Dionysios explains. “Our North America region alone has more than 23 distribution centers, various repacking facilities, a trucking fleet, as well as a Del Monte shipping fleet.”
With that, cheers to the next 125 years and the growth that is yet to come!