They say tomato, we say TOV—our industry is constantly straddling the line between what shoppers know, what they think they know, what is familiar, and what is exciting.
“We are definitely seeing a more educated consumer. Especially as the millennial generation enters the market, we are finding that shoppers are looking for brands that speak to them through quality, transparency, and diversification of products,” Carlos Visconti says. The CEO of Red Sun Farms® USA and Canada begins to tell me about what is changing the high-tech greenhouse veggies from “tomato/tomahto” to the multi-colored and multifaceted category it’s become.
“If we use tomatoes as our example, the days of just beef and TOVs are numbered. People are more adventurous in exploring a variety of flavors, colors, and textures. Not only that, we are seeing more interest in how our product is grown, what type of facility it is grown in, and even the ethical and environmental standards of those facilities,” he continues. “That is why we are very proud to promote our seed-to-plate approach; our customers can trust that we control every aspect of the supply chain, ensuring quality and food safety each step of the way.”
Carlos explains that this approach closes the gap between grower, retailer, and consumer by controlling all aspects of the supply chain; from seed selection, propagation, and growing to harvesting, packaging, and shipping to partners across North America.
“This has allowed us to develop an exceptional product and an exemplary level of customer service from all our farms and locations,” Carlos shares. “We are one of the largest fully vertically integrated, high-tech greenhouse growers in North America. We own and operate farms in all three North American trade countries—Canada, Mexico, and the United States—and pride ourselves on our unparalleled group of like-minded owners, growers, and service professionals. All have a true passion and love for growing innovative and flavorful greenhouse produce.”
“...We are very proud to promote our seed-to-plate approach; our customers can trust that we control every aspect of the supply chain, ensuring quality and food safety each step of the way.”
— Carlos Visconti, CEO, Red Sun Farms® USA and Canada
Has that love and passion manifested itself as an ingredient in the fresh foods the company provides? Perhaps not literally, but it has certainly driven Red Sun Farms to find out what that next new piece to the vegetable puzzle might be. After all, in the words of its team, Red Sun starts with good roots.
“As a company, we are happy to say that we are consistently growing in so many ways,” Carlos tells me. “The organization continues to invest in growing our facilities across North America, striving to understand the needs of our partners by providing solutions with a direct source to the grower. Thanks to the commitment and dedication of these key commercial partners, we are able to better understand their demands for direct supply delivery, the highest-quality produce, and maximized supply efficiencies.”
Another area of investment that Red Sun is constantly feeding is research and new product development. Carlos shares that, as an organization, Red Sun is researching new varieties and categories, as well as innovating new packaging formats and designs. This is all brought together in the company’s latest introduction, which debuted at PMA Fresh Summit this past October.
“We are always looking for new varieties, new flavors, and new packaging, and we definitely hit all three checkboxes with our brand new Sweetpops,” he says.
Bite-sized and perfect for snacking, the Sweetpops tomato lives up to its name with a combination of refreshing sweetness and explosively juicy flavor I got to experience firsthand while visiting the team at Fresh Summit in Orlando, Florida.
But of course, you can’t get consumers to eat it if they don’t want to buy it. That, as we all know, comes with the vehicle.
“We’ve complemented Sweetpops with some of the coolest packaging on the market,” Carlos adds as we talk about the experience retailers can expect. “It is definitely eye-catching with its design and shape, so it's sure to add an extra pop to any produce section. And it’s resealable! Basically, once the consumer tastes the sweetness of this tomato, we’re confident that they will be continuously looking for Sweetpops at their local grocery store.”
“From retailers to consumers, people know what the Red Sun Farms brand stands for, and it shows in the increasing demand for our products.”
Sweetpops is the latest in a line of products to drive shoppers to look specifically for Red Sun Farms. As we touched on earlier, the high-tech greenhouse grower is expanding on all sides, internally and externally.
“Most importantly, we’re experiencing a dramatic growth in our fanbase. From retailers to consumers, people know what the Red Sun Farms brand stands for, and it shows in the increasing demand for our products,” Carlos shares.
We’ve heard it more than once: consumers, millennials and beyond, want the story, but don’t want to be inundated with too much information. Give them convenience, but convey complexity. Be authentic but for the right price.
It seems impossible, doesn’t it? Not so, Carlos says.
“The distinction of being a high-tech greenhouse grower guarantees our retail partners that they are working with a company who practices the highest standards in technology, growing methods, social responsibility, food safety, and environmental impact. In turn, our consumers can trust that our product delivers on every level, including taste and quality. Add that to our constant drive and passion to innovate, and Red Sun Farms will continue to meet the demand for what's new and different while maintaining that trust,” Carlos tells me.
I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate all of this within the company’s culture than through its own butterfly effect—the Monarch Butterfly, to be specific.
As beautiful and unique as the wings of the mascot itself, Red Sun Farms has tied the Monarch Butterfly’s intriguing life cycle and migration pattern into its growing, message, and brand.
The integration of the butterfly to the culture and vision of the company is such that I can’t even hear about one without thinking of the other, and by the spread of loyal followers the company is accruing, both inside and out, it looks as if I am not alone.
“We are experiencing so much growth in our personnel, too. We feel that we have one of the best teams in the industry and we are continuously growing, adding the best and brightest to the Red Sun Farms family,” Carlos concludes.
So what is the next stage of metamorphosis for the Red Sun Farms family? Much like that of its symbol, the sky's the limit.