Peruvian onion demand continues to gain ground

09/16/2011 01:25:00 PM
Dan Gailbraith

“Sweet onions have become a 52-week item, and people associate them with a flat, light-skinned onion,” said Hively.

“Though it’s a little more expensive, the Peruvian is the best onion available during the fall,” he said.

Marty Kamer, vice president of Greencastle, Pa.-based Keystone Fruit Marketing Inc., said that when consumers see “Product of Peru” on a bag, they’re curious about how the onions are grown.

Kamer said the company’s bag and in-store signage promote the fact that its Mayan Sweets are certified sweet by NOL, they’re guaranteed free of pesticide residue by NutriClean and they’re also certified by GlobalGAP.

“This is a great opportunity to get that message across to the consumer,” said Kamer.

Dave Munson, Keystone’s corporate chef, said many consumers love Mayan Sweets because they’re easy to digest, and they’re easy to introduce to kids.

“When I’m doing demonstrations, the little ones always grab a sample,” he said. “They’re kid-friendly onions.”

Ira Greenstein, owner of Mount Kisco, N.Y.-based Direct Source Marketing, said sweet onions used to be considered a luxury item, but they’re now becoming mainstream.

“As long as retailers can focus and have opportunities to retail at 99 cents or below,” he said, “it really does give consumers an opportunity to buy sweet onions every day.”


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