Ippolito International offers a range of consumer and value-added packs in addition to bulk packs of Brussels sprouts. ( Courtesy Ippolito International LP )

Sprouts booming for Ippolito

Ippolito International LP is the largest fresh Brussels sprouts producer and marketer in North America, said Butch Corda, general manager of the Salinas, Calif.-based company.

Corda said he thinks the company is likely larger than the next three largest Brussels sprouts marketers combined. The company is seeing growth in foodservice and retail business, he said.

The company has a 52-week per year supply of Brussels sprouts, pulling volume from Salinas/Castroville/Watsonville/Santa Cruz from late June to early January. Corda said Mexico supplies most of the company’s volume in the winter.

Ippolito’s website has numerous recipes featuring Brussels sprouts.

“We see a lot of interaction and feedback, even to the point of where customers share their recipes with us,” he said.

The company offers an array of packaging choices, including 25-pound bulk cartons, 10-ounce, 12-ounce, 1-pound and 2-pound packages. Whole Brussels sprouts, halved or shredded are available, Corda said.


Mann sprouts are value-added

Mann Packing’s Bacon Maple Brussels Nourish Bowl is an example of how the vegetable is being incorporated into value-added products, said Jacob Shafer, senior marketing and communications specialist for Salinas, Calif.-based Mann Packing.

“The ... bowl is complete with nutrient-rich Brussels sprouts, kale, and kohlrabi, along with real bacon and a sweet maple glaze.”

Shafer said another strong value-added item for Mann is the Family Favorite Shaved Brussels Sprouts.

Consumers can easily toss them into soups, salads, blend them, or use in stir-frys, he said.

Mann’s Power Blend is a line extension to Broccoli Cole Slaw and Rainbow Salad, featuring Brussels sprouts, Napa cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, carrots and kale.


Ocean Mist boosts acreage

Ocean Mist Farms is increasing Brussels sprout acreage for conventional and organic and investigating different pack styles, said Art Barrientos, vice president of harvesting for Castroville, Calif.-based Ocean Mist Farms.

Ocean Mist Farms’ Season & Steam Brussels Sprouts line includes Wholes, Quick Cook Halves and Super Shreds Super Food, said Diana McClean, senior director of marketing.

“We also have added a 2-pound pack of washed and ready to eat whole Brussels sprouts to the line,” McClean said.

For foodservice customers, Ocean Mist Farms has added a 3-pound Brussels Sprouts Halves pack and is exploring additional pack options.


World Variety sees growth

Robert Schueller, director of public relations for Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce, which markets the Melissa’s brand, said the company saw a demand increase of about 8% in 2017 and looks to grow about 8% to 13% in 2018, with sales strong to both retail and foodservice accounts.

Organic, baby varieties, purple Brussels sprouts and Brussels sprouts on the stalk lead growth for the company.

Organic sales, now nearly year round, grew about 12% in the past year and are pegged to climb 10% to 14% this year, Schueller said.

“It is definitely a growing category in produce departments across the U.S.,” Schueller said.