Sustainability, food safety remain strong selling points

03/10/2011 11:43:19 AM
Andy Nelson

Greenhouse vegetable growers report sustainability, food safety and knowing where food comes from continue to be strong selling points for their products.

With increased emphasis on food safety and sustainability, more retailers are promoting greenhouse product because it’s grown in a controlled environment with almost no pesticides and using cutting-edge recycling and energy conservation technologies, said Kevin Batt, sales director for BC Hot House, Langley, British Columbia.

A lot of growth in demand has to do with consumers’ increasing need to know the origin of their food, said Aaron Quon, greenhouse category director for the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Oppenheimer Group.

That might be a desire that’s more often associated with the trend toward locally grown production of fresh fruits and vegetables. However, Quon said the same holds true for greenhouse-grown.

“Consumers are still conscious of where their food comes from, how it’s grown,” he said.

More and more, consumers like knowing that their vegetables are grown in a controlled environment where pesticide use is low and food safety standards are high.

Consumers’ concern for their health on one hand, and for better flavor on the other, continue to drive strong demand for greenhouse-grown vegetables, said Doug Kling, chief sales and marketing officer for Village Farms, Eatontown, N.J.

“People want produce with higher antioxidants, better shelf life and more bite, more depth of flavor,” Kling said.

More and more, customers want to know where their food came from and how it was grown, said Helen Aquino, Village Farms’s marketing manager.

The more questions they ask, the better it is for Village Farms and other greenhouse growers, she said.

On its labels, its website, its Facebook page and through other media, Village Farms is educating consumers about its integrated pest management system, reduced carbon footprint and other messages consumers are eager to hear, Aquino said.



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