From sweet onion sales to seasonal traditions, get the scoop on what's been happening at Keystone Fruit Marketing, a division of Progressive Produce, from sweet onion expert VP of sales, Mike Blume.
What’s the perfect sweet onion for this holiday season?
Blume: We have an excellent crop of “Mayan Sweets” sweet onions from Peru, and the upcoming holidays are a perfect time to promote. We are encouraging our retailer partners to expand displays, set up secondary displays and price aggressively.
Left to right: Mike Blume, M.Andrea Scroggs
What changes have you seen in the sweet onion category and how have you and your team adapted?
Blume: The biggest challenges we’re facing are the rising costs of everything – ocean freight, truck rates, packaging, pallets, labor… and there is no relief in sight. We are working hard to keep costs reasonable, yet profitable for our growers, while continuing to make on time deliveries to customers.
We have all been challenged to adapt to a different world. Video calls are replacing face-to-face meetings, labor issues are affecting everything and limited travel is disrupting normal business flow. It’s unfortunate the PMA Fresh Summit was cancelled again this year due to a couple of storms that hit the area. And although we will miss seeing our customers and growers, our hearts go out to the people of New Orleans.
At the end of the day, we keep it simple. We continue doing what we’ve been doing since we were established in 1977. We listen to our customers. Then we go back to our growers and make it happen.
What makes your team at Keystone special?
Blume: They’re knowledgeable, passionate and personable. The team knows our products, understands the business and cares about our customers and growers.