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Organic papaya program opened the doors to a full organic line

“We are in the third year of our organic papaya program,” says Andres Ocampo with HLB Specialties. The program was started in response to increased consumer demand for organic papayas. “It was our first organic product and we definitely had some challenges to overcome in the beginning,” Ocampo shared. The main obstacle was to solve a gap in supply. “From the beginning our goal was to supply consistent volumes on a year-round basis, but that wasn’t easy it first. We’ve overcome that difficulty and now have year-round production.” 

HLB Specialties sources its organic Formosa papayas from Michoacán in Mexico. Although supplies are consistent throughout the year, production slightly dips in September and October.

Organic Formosa papayas at the store level

New customers
“The organic papaya program opened the doors to customers we didn’t have before,” shared Ocampo. “These customers started asking for other organic products and this is how we developed a new line of organics.” In addition to papayas, HLB Specialties has extended its organic line with mangos, limes and ginger. Mangos and limes are also available conventionally. 

The process of finding organic growers was a pretty smooth one. “Some of our growers already offered both conventional and organic products, so we’ve been able to keep working with many of the same growers,” Ocampo mentioned. “We feel we have a good organic product base with reliable supplies.” Most organic items are offered a year-round basis, except for mangos. “In some mango-growing countries, the availability of the organic alternative is almost non-existent, making it difficult to source and supply year-round.”

Papayas continue to be HLB’s main organic item, but the company’s overall organic category keeps on growing steadily. About 15 percent of volume is now generated by the organic segment.

For more information:
Andres Ocampo
HLB Specialties
Tel: (+1) 954-475-8808

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