Berry People has signed new berry sourcing deals in Mexico to fill critical supply gaps in the North American market during the autumn and winter.

These include organic blueberries from Jalisco and conventional strawberries from Guanajuato and Michoacán, which will complement the company’s existing supply from Latin America and the US.

The company also announced that is also expanding its US operations from Long Beach, California to McAllen, Texas, to better serve its growing customer programmes in the Midwestern and Eastern US and Canada.

New berry sourcing deals

Berry People recently began harvesting the first-ever blueberries from its new high-elevation plantation in Jalisco, which will fill a key niche in the market from now until the end of January.

“We will have predominantly organic production from this ranch, filling a generally undersupplied October-through-January window, with a focus on customers looking for the crunch, snap, and sweetness that Mexico can readily provide,” said president Jerald Downs.

“While our South American organic blueberries are key to supporting volume retail blueberry sales at attractive general consumer pricing, this Mexican organic production will be targeted to specific programmes for customers who desire to further differentiate themselves at the consumer eating experience level.”

In addition to the new blueberry deal, Berry People announced that it will also start harvesting high-quality conventional strawberries at its ranches in Irapuato and Zamora from October. Volumes will peak from December through January, wrapping up by the end of February.

These supplies will fill the gap perfectly between the company’s crop in Santa Maria, California, set to peak in October and November, and its crop in Baja California, Mexico, which will peak in February through April.

“This deal is a milestone in giving us our desired transitional overlap and increasing our continuity and quality of supply in a tricky market window for strawberries,” said Downs.

“We will have daily multi-load volumes by mid-November and can support sub-feature and feature promotional activity for adverts breaking weeks 48 to 6.”

Downs said that expectations are high for the inaugural season of these new blueberry and strawberry crops, which are grown on farms belonging both to company shareholders and experienced third-party growers.

Berry People builds balanced, consumer-focused portfolio

The new berry deals fit in with Berry People’s strategy to grow its customer-driven programmes sustainably and fill market windows to offer a year-round supply of organic and conventional blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

“While the company’s individual commodity and overall category growth rate is projected above triple digits both for 2019 and 2020, we are very focused on building balance in our daily portfolio of berries,” Downs explained.

“We are working on filling our summer gaps and lulls on cane and strawberries, completing our pack-style and niche varietal offerings, and on getting better at harmonizing our supply and promotional activity, as well as our weekly fulfilment business, for week-over-week customer-grower satisfaction.”

Since its establishment in 2017, Berry People has seen impressive growth, which Downs claims has been in large measure thanks to a company culture that values authenticity, expertise and responsiveness.

Downs said the company relies on its brand message, the quality of its packaging, and its ability to assure consistent and high-quality supply.

Furthermore, the company’s personnel, systems and processes are maturing, and its ability to anticipate and follow-through on customer and grower needs are improving at a significant pace.

“We have a clear vision for excellence with regards to our sales-team execution through this phase of expansion, and customers can expect increasing attention to the finer details surrounding our business relationships and joint efforts towards profitable, consumer-satisfying growth in the berry category,” Downs said.