As I sit nestled in a plush, purple swivel chair close to the window across from Carlos Bon, Jr. in his deep green armchair, I hear spring’s heralds singing in the air. Birds fly by, grabbing ideal twigs, various colorful strings, and shiny objects to build their nests, hard at work to grow a nurturing world—much like the Divine Flavor team does year-round.
What began as a 10-hectare farm of table grapes in Sonora, Mexico, under the name Viñedos Alta is now a multinational growing operation. It boasts an expansive portfolio and an ambitious mission as sturdy as the nest a bird would call home.
“Our motto is ‘Better Food for a Better World,’ and we stand by this each day,” the Vice President of Sales voices from across the desk. “This falls in line perfectly with our mission to continuously improve, be transparent with our consumers, and offer the best customer service throughout the supply chain. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. We want the world to know our story, and we feel we have a responsibility for the wellness of the people through our produce that is grown for good.”
Viñedos Alta, now Grupo Alta, began in 1989 as a farming company with Don Enrique Camou, Carlos Bon, Sr., and Alán Aguirre leading the fray. The company consistently fought to make its founding vision come true: to be different from what was in the industry and what was offered on the market. The Founders knew they had a compelling story to tell from the time they planted the very first seed.
It was a story strongly built upon hard work and determination.
The company continued to grow and expand, both in its offerings and operations. But, that need to share a unique story never went away. In fact, it inspired the creation of Divine Flavor in 2006. The business was formed as a bridge, communicating between its customers and farms while offering transparency along the chain. From there, Divine Flavor has flourished.
“Divine Flavor evolved to represent not only our own farms but growers around the world who share our passion for flavor. We believe in our social and environmental responsibility, and we are dedicated to growing fresh produce items. Every day, we’re inspired to head out to the fields because our products contribute to the health and well-being of our customers—and we take great pride in that,” Carlos explains. “We will always continue to improve our practices and the lives of our workers across the board. Safe products, exceptional service, and amazing flavor are our core values. It’s what drives us to identify the best varieties that currently exist or will be bred soon, which then provides the best eating experience for our consumers.”
Safe, exceptional, and amazing. Core components of the Divine Flavor team, much like the bird nest forming under Mother Nature’s blue sky—a simile Carlos can’t help but laugh at.
“I think what really sets Divine Flavor apart is our passion. We have a drive to do the right thing, and we accomplish this by providing the right products, doing right by our people, and employing the right practices,” Carlos picks up. “It’s the root of all the things we do, so it makes sense that we invest in our people to ensure the best success. That is where the passion nests and fosters.”
This passion is the healthy root of Divine Flavor’s success, for without it, there would be no ambition to be the best nor the need to tell a compelling story. Divine Flavor gathered top varieties, prime locations, and aggressive goals to build its nest. As the operation grew, dedicated workers were needed to help the company thrive.
“Without passion to improve our world, we would not care for our workers the way we do. Without passion to feed the world safely, we would not be pioneers in social responsibility. Without passion for health, we would not grow as many organic items as we do. Without passion for flavor, we would not search relentlessly for the best varieties of grapes. Without passion, we would not be growing at the pace we currently are,” Carlos tells me.
Divine Flavor saw a necessity to improve and conducted a SWOT analysis, which focuses on Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This strategic planning and management technique saw everything the company had to offer. A conclusive takeaway Carlos shares with me is that one of Divine Flavor’s main assets is its people. As he tells me, some of the company’s latest investments have been into its workforce, providing its employees with improved working conditions and care both on and off the field. This compassion for its workers also translates to the consumers Divine Flavor feeds.
“Every day, we’re inspired to head out to the fields because our products contribute to the health and well-being of our customers—and we take great pride in that.”
Carlos Bon, Jr., Vice President of Sales, Divine Flavor
“Of course, we have our challenges—we work in agriculture; challenges and threats are the name of the game,” Carlos explains before taking a short pause. “But it’s because of these challenges, the care we have for our people, and our need to make the world a better place through produce that keeps our will strong. Our main asset is our people, and our main differentiator is our passion.”
This willpower is evident throughout the company, straight down to its foundations. Over the past few years, our industry has faced a myriad of hurdles, such as a lack of labor, current political and economic impacts, and waning water resources, which is always a major topic of discussion. However, the industry has collectively become stronger in the face of adversity, and Divine Flavor is a shining example of this.
Along with investing in the growth and development of its workers, the company also added expansion initiatives to its portfolio. Divine has established its bases in Mexico with its Jalisco vineyard operation, expanded its reach in South America, and grown its hothouse programs. Judging from the twinkle in Carlos’ eye, the company has many more projects in store.
“From talks out in the field, inside our walls, and with everyone in our company, we all agree that passion is what sets us apart,” Carlos tells me. “Because we all have a passion to be the best, we will overcome any and all challenges that come our way, no doubt. Our biggest project—which is the most ambitious of what I already mentioned—is to improve our world through produce. We want to feed the world and make it a better place, one fresh item at a time!”
Divine Flavor laid the foundation, stick by stick, to build a sturdy operation well-known for its grapes, hothouse peppers, greenhouse-grown tomatoes, squash, and melons. Through this passion for growing, Divine Flavor has become that much stronger.
It’s this dream to make the right difference in our industry that led the company to soar through all the unknowns and reach new horizons, discovering sturdier and better pieces. To always come back and build a stronger nest.