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Mapping Innovation

Mapping Innovation

Imagine being an explorer, setting out into the wide world, making your way through new territories, and undertaking cartography on the land as you go. Stretching out before you are nothing but the sapphire blue waves of the ocean, the endless greenery of lush forests, or the uninterrupted desert skyline. In other words, the opportunities are boundless, and
the more expertise you have, the greater possibilities lie ahead.

This is how I imagine the team at Mastronardi Produce®/SUNSET®, as voyagers. Akin to legendary navigators, nomadic natives, or American pioneers who took their chances out West, all of them sought to blaze trails and inhabit new territories.

Setting out with their compasses dialed toward innovation and backed by a wealth of consumer insights and greenhouse knowledge, adventure awaits, and discovery is always imminent.

“With over 75 years in the produce industry, innovation has come to define Mastronardi Produce,” says Julia Shreve, Director of Marketing–Brand and Innovation. “Our history of delivering flavorful, premium products has propelled the growing demand for quality greenhouse-grown produce. Pushing the boundaries across all product categories will remain an integral part of our business model.”

Like any good explorer, Mastronardi Produce is gathering its findings and preparing to share them with the industry. Descending on the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) Global Produce & Floral Show later in October, the greenhouse grower has laid out its map of offerings, detailing the distinguishing features of each unique product from texture to flavor. So climb aboard and watch as the journey unfolds…

  • Queen of Greens™ Lettuce

  • • Washed and ready-to-eat
  • • Greenhouse-grown locally in the U.S., beginning in Kentucky
  • • Sustainably grown using systems that are land, water, and energy efficient
  • • High-tech growing processes allow for a hands-free growing and packing process and extended shelf-life
  • • Pack sizes: 4 oz and 8 oz Topseal trays

The first landmark on this exhilarating adventure is to gain insights into Mastronardi Produce’s scaled greenhouse-grown salad greens line, Queen of Greens.

“Our expertise and decades-long partnerships with seed companies mean we can apply our ‘flavor-first’ philosophy to lettuce, a category not historically viewed as flavor-driven,” explains Julia. “We believe this approach will help to redefine how consumers understand and shop for their lettuce. It is clear that retailers are as excited about this line as we are, as the first few months of supply were pre-sold well ahead of the official retail launch.”

“Pushing the boundaries across all product categories will remain an integral part of our business model.”

Julia Shreve, Director of Marketing–Brand and Innovation, Mastronardi Produce®/SUNSET®

Featuring six premium-crafted blends, these salad greens are robust, vibrant, and flavorful. Not to mention they are hydroponically produced with no pesticides or herbicides, so there is no risk of soil contamination, and there is a consistent supply all year long.

  • Qukes™ & Dip

  • • Fresh, crunchy, and cool, these two-bite cukes are perfect for dunking and dipping
  • • Popular among consumers for their small size, which is fantastic for little hands
  • • Mini cucumbers are the fastest-growing cucumber segment nationally over the last 52 weeks
  • • No slicing required
  • • Year-round availability
  • • Only 100 calories per serving

We travel from hydroponic lettuce to the supplier’s newly launched SUNSET dippers products. Ideal for shoppers looking for convenience, freshness, and taste all rolled into one, Mastronardi Produce’s Qukes & Dip and Angel Sweet® & Dip items are great snacking options for consumers on the go.

“Both products pair our fresh produce with a clean-ingredient, shelf-stable, creamy ranch dip that will delight kids and parents alike,” Julia shares. “These multi-unit offerings performed exceptionally well in consumer testing, and because they satisfy the value-add and convenience trends in the snacking category, there is potential for incremental category growth.”

  • Angel Sweet® & Dip

  • • Features Mastronardi Produce’s award-winning Angel Sweet tomatoes
  • • These bite-sized tomatoes are packed with extra-sweet flavor for a perfect healthy snack
  • • Only 110 calories per serving

Each snack pack comes in single-serve packaging in a familiar three-pack tearaway format, which is optimal for lunchboxes or quick on-the-go snacks.

Since this voyage has made its way to Angel Sweet & Dip, it is only a short walk to our next set of coordinates which takes us to a land of wonders—SUNSET® Wild Wonders® Harvest Medley, that is.

  • SUNSET® Wild Wonders®

  • • Harvest Medley
  • • Unique leaf-shaped design and colorful components create a festive snacking display
  • • A seasonal-specific variety of colorful and flavorful tomatoes, this limited-edition item is perfect for gatherings and holiday entertaining
  • • Perfect for salads, snacking, and appetizers
  • • Available throughout fall 2022
  • • Pack Sizes: 20 x 14 oz Topseal clamshell

Adding a fun fall twist to one of Mastronardi Produce’s well-known offerings, the grower has introduced a limited-edition Harvest Medley carrier that will increase basket share by playing to shoppers’ love of autumn and the food-focused holidays that take place during the season. With a rich combination of red, orange, yellow, green, and brown hues mimicking the changing leaves, this unique packaging update will draw consumers to the tomato section of the produce aisle.

  • Sugar Sweets

  • • A medley of Mastronardi Produce’s sweetest varieties of snacking tomatoes
  • • Has a high Brix to rival candy while being a healthy snacking option for kids
  • • Fun packaging resembles a gumball machine, appealing to both kids and kids at heart

Exploring creative and visually striking packaging, Mastronardi Produce next shows us its Sugar Sweets line of snacking tomatoes.

After moving across the colorful landscape of Wild Wonders and Sugar Sweets, the following stop is just a hop, skip, and jump away as we land in the berry patch.

  • angelberry™ Raspberries

  • • Miraculously sweet
  • • Large but delicate, deep pink raspberries
  • • Deliver heavenly sweet flavor and aroma with every bite

 

“Mastronardi Produce has already made a splash in the category with our award-winning line of premium WOW® Berries, including our dreamberry, pearberry, and lolliberry strawberries,” Julia shares. “Adding to our success, we will launch new angelberry raspberries as well as moonberry blackberries commercially over the next few months, changing expectations for how a berry should taste.”

  • moonberry™ Blackberries

  • • An eruption of brilliance, sweet the whole way through
  • • Big, beautiful, and bursting with flavor
  • • Consistently sweet, not tart, with notes of vanilla and a juicy bite

As we meander our way through the berry patch, something new appears on the map: another variety that is playful and packed with sensational taste.

  • Frooties™ Blueberries

  • • Plump and packed full of sweet flavor
  • • Great for kids’ lunchboxes
  • • Year-round availability
  • • Pack Size: 20 x 100 g Topseal clamshell

 

“Offered in a single-serve pack, our new Frooties Blueberries provide on-the-go convenience. All shoppers have to do is peel back the film, rinse, and enjoy,” Julia imparts. “They can be a sweet addition to a morning meal or eaten straight from the clamshell. The opportunities are endless. We’ve also created a whimsical packaging design that mimics Sprinkles®, drawing kids toward healthy produce snacks while they go grocery shopping with their parents.”

“...we will launch new angelberry™ raspberries as well as moonberry™ blackberries commercially over the next few months, changing expectations for how a berry should taste.”

Whether new or familiar, this expedition through the greenhouse maven’s portfolio of cutting-edge products leaves me awestruck and ready to see where it will set course for next as it seeks to extend each category’s boundaries on its innovation map.

While many think that adventure only lies in visiting exotic destinations, if you are a true explorer, you can find it right in the produce aisle, just like Mastronardi Produce. All you have to do is use this guide, and set out on your own journey to success, uncovering brand loyalty, innovation, and merchandising opportunities galore along the way—don’t forget your compass!