“They pleaded with me to take a message back to the industry that they’re very interested in new varieties,” he said.
“They said, ‘Don’t be intimidated by Sam’s Club’s volume.’ Even if it’s only bringing one pallet to one store, they want to bring this to their members and let the members decide.”
The retail giants from Arkansas have thousands of locations nationwide, and satisfying volume needs with a new variety typically takes time.
“No one has that kind of volume sitting in their shed,” Ladhoff said.
“It will take years to ramp up, but they’re open to regional opportunities.”
Jim Richter, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Rexburg, Idaho-based Wilcox Fresh, said it was encouraging to hear that retailers are looking for new items — even in light volumes. Wilcox Fresh plans to introduce a new variety later this year, he said.
“That’s good news,” Richter said of Wal-Mart’s request.