Sunions, which are a tearless sweet onion, will begin shipping to a limited number of retailers this week.
In its inaugural season of availability, marketers say Sunions racked up more than 1.2 billion consumer media impressions in print, radio, web and television media including appearances on ABC’s The Chew and Good Morning America. While the first Sunions have been released to the market this week, others are still maturing. The initial release will be limited, but will grow in availability throughout the following weeks.
Using a certification unique to the onion category, a sensory panel with full authority and power to determine Sunions ship dates follows a tightly-controlled protocol including three separate tests for both flavor and tearlessness before releasing the onions for shipping.
“We follow a strict process with our sensory team not to allow the release of Sunions until they reach peak flavor and tearlessness,” said Lyndon Johnson, crop manager for onions at BASF Vegetable Seeds. “We’ve differentiated ourselves in the marketplace with a set of stringent quality requirements to maintain our brand promise.”
A product of more than three decades of research, development and natural hybridization by Nunhems Vegetable Seeds, Sunions are a long-day sweet onion variety grown domestically in Washington and Nevada. But unlike other long-day onions, they actually become sweeter and tearless in storage, according to the developers. Most other sweet onions available during the same window of availability – typically November to April – are currently imported from South America.
Marketers say the onions are backed by a marketing plan including point-of-sale materials, produce manager education, social media content, a targeted digital advertising program and consumer public relations campaign. Sunions distributors are Generation Farms, Onions 52 and Peri & Sons Farms.