The category has grown 15% each of the past two years, he said.
“What we’re finding now is that despite the sluggish economy, consumers are still willing to pay more for organic,” he said.
Quon describes a new norm in which consumers have acclimated themselves to paying more for organic.
The other greenhouse categories where Oppenheimer has seen robust growth recently include mini-cucumbers and grape and strawberry tomatoes, Quon said.
SunFed adds pickles to greenhouse cucumbers
Nogales, Ariz.-based SunFed is growing fresh greenhouse pickles this season for the first time, said Danny Mandel, a principal and the company’s chief executive officer.
“We did trials two years ago and found that, when packed under our Metabolic Reduction Model in conjunction with the Xtend Modified Atmosphere/Modified Humidity bag, the pickles maintained their freshness to the extent that you have probably never seen (with) fresh pickles,” Mandel said.
Also in SunFed’s cucumber category, the company has been so impressed with the quality of its shadehouse-grown American cucumbers, it stopped growing them in fields, Mandel said.
Production of shadehouse American cukes are projected to grow more than any other SunFed product this season.
“For a time, it cost us volume, but it allowed us to focus on what we saw as the future of the category,” he said.
“The trade has since really come to appreciate shadehouse cucumbers for their high quality and appearance.”
SunFed ships American, or “slicer,” cucumbers from late September through June. Its European cucumbers ship from late October through March. Its fresh pickle deal will run from early December through April, Mandel said.
By Markets Editor Andy Nelson