Produce marketers think using phrases such as "greenhouse grown" or "hothouse" on labels and in marketing materials helps convey important messages about quality.
For The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, "greenhouse grown" indicates that an item was produced in a protected environment with integrated pest controls, but it means more than that, said Aaron Quon, greenhouse category director.
"We feel that it communicates a great tasting, consistent product that’s grown with care and attention," Quon said.
"Consumers are getting a product that tastes like it was grown in their own backyard."
Kevin Batt, director of sales for BC Hot House Foods Inc., Langley, British Columbia, said that having the phrase "hothouse" in the company’s name is an advantage.
Forecasts for greenhouse vegetable production are typically more accurate than for field production because greenhouse growers maintain control over the growing climates.
Retailer buyers can book advertisements weeks or even months in advance with greenhouse vegetables, Batt said.
Buyers who read that a product is hothouse- or greenhouse-grown can expect to receive good produce, he said.
"It lends confidence that you’re getting a high-quality, premium product that’s grown naturally indoors," Batt said.
Greenhouse-grown vegetables enjoy a reputation among consumers as being healthy and safe vegetables.
Joe Spano, vice president of sales and marketing for Mucci Farms, Kingsville, Ontario, said he thinks the average consumer is becoming more aware of the benefits of greenhouse produce.
Quon also said he thinks today’s consumers are more aware and educated about production.
"I believe people want to know how their produce is grown and where it’s grown," Quon said.
JemD Farms, Leamington, Ontario, uses the phrase "greenhouse vegetables" in the logos for its brands, Red Sun and Golden Sun.
Jim DiMenna, president, said he thinks the term "greenhouse" is useful in specifying how the company grows its produce. It grows hydroponically in high-technology greenhouses.
Because some marketers of shade house-grown produce ride the coattails of successful greenhouse vegetable marketing by calling their products "greenhouse-grown," it’s important to inform buyers and consumers about the differences in techniques, DiMenna said.
Shade houses are fields covered with cloth. They protect plants that are rooted in soil.