Soft fruit supplier BerryWorld has announced a joint venture with Canada-based greenhouse grower and distributor Mastronardi Produce to expand into the US market.
BerryWorld said the partnership, which will trade as BerryWorld America, is a “significant and exciting development”, with new soft fruit products set to launch in the US soon. They will debut at the PMA Fresh Summit in Orlando, Florida in October.
The UK-based berry supplier added that the new venture would strengthen the US offer of BerryWorld and Wonders of Winter (WOW) strawberries, which are grown by Mastronardi Produce in greenhouses in Michigan over the winter.
“Following a successful track record of growth including expansion across Europe, into Africa, Asia and Australia, America presented the next logical and attractive step in our strategy to grow the berry world,” said BerryWorld COO Adrian Olins.
“We have taken the time to carefully consider our approach in the US and are confident that Mastronardi Produce, who pioneered high tech berry growing in 2005, will be a great partner.
“This joint venture will combine our wealth of berry knowledge and our extensive portfolio of berry varieties with Mastronardi Produce’s recognised reputation for growing expertise, excellent customer service, their appetite and ability for scale, and their state-of-the-art logistics platform.”
Paul Mastronardi, president and chief executive of Mastronardi Produce, which trades as Sunset, said he saw “significant opportunity for expansion in the category” and believed the new berries would “change consumer expectations of how a berry should taste.”
He added: “Our track record of game-changing innovation, technological advancements, and fresh produce marketing expertise, combined with BerryWorld’s varieties, category management, and global berry expertise, will make us a unique alternative for the North American berry market.”
To date Mastronardi Produce has mainly specialised in tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, however in 2014 it launched the Sunset WOW strawberry brand.