A level playing field. That’s just part of the appeal for one grower to participate in this year’s Fresh Summit show being held October 13-15, 2020.
“We’ve always participated in PMA’s Fresh Summit Expo because it’s a great place to connect and network with current and potential customers. This year is unique because of the virtual format. But it provides an opportunity to put all suppliers on a similar playing field since the marketplace page will have the same features and size for all exhibitors,” says Walt Dasher, vice president of G & R Farms located in Glennville, GA.
G & R's Walt Dasher, Cliff Riner (on left) with Peruvian growers.
At this year’s show, G & R will discuss its year-round sweet onion program with visitors to its marketplace page which includes their Peruvian sweet onions that are currently in season along with its 2021 Vidalia® onion program which begins in the Spring. Dasher notes that supplies are tight because the weather in Peru has been cooler than normal during the growing season and as a result, this has impacted yields. “The Peruvian sweet onion season began in July this year and will run through March. But the current supply down versus same time frame as last year due to the weather,” he says.
G & R will also touch on its expanded sustainability initiatives. For its Peruvian sweet onions, the company obtained the Rainforest Alliance Certification three years ago and are in the process of completing the Fair-Trade certification. “We’re very proud to have the majority of our Peruvian sweet onions be certified by the Rainforest Alliance,” says Dasher. “This program grows every year because protecting the environment while ensuring the health and well-being of our farm workers is very important to us.” The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization working at the intersection of business, agriculture and forests on creating a better future for people and nature by making responsible business the new normal.
Strong pull on sweet onions
Meanwhile demand has been very strong on sweet onions this year. “COVID-19 has been a driving force domestically since March because both onions and potatoes are staples,” says Dasher. 2020 has also seen consumers cooking more from home which has equated to increased grocery spend especially when it comes to purchasing key staple items. “All indicators show demand will continue to remain high throughout this pandemic,” he adds.
Not surprisingly, pricing is strong thanks to that increased demand. Expectations are that the market will continue to remain strong because of demand and shorter supplies worldwide. “The worldwide onion and potato demand have been up considerably since March compared to the same time as last year,” says Dasher.
Back at the show, G & R also plans on discussing some other company developments while also showcasing its new brand image and logo. “The marketplace page is a great opportunity to highlight who we are and what we do best,” says Dasher, noting the page will display a video telling the company’s story and touching on the importance of its core strengths around sustainability and quality. It will also have on display new seasonal marketing promotions to help retailers maximize their sweet onion sales.