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Gourmet Trading seeing growth in organic asparagus and blueberries

Gourmet Trading Co. invites PMA Foodservice show-goers to stop by booth No. 402 and sample some of the Redondo Beach, CA-based company’s latest products, including fresh asparagus (both conventional and organics) and blueberries.

Gourmet Trading Co. officials will also be speaking about its special packs, bagged product and the different size formats that might present special opportunities.

“Our goal is to touch base with customers and hear about their needs and concerns,” said Scott Hulsey, vice president of procurement. “However, in addition to that, it is our goal to educate them on what we can offer to set them apart from others in the industry.”

Some of this would be marketing strategies, promoting a certain size that allows them to achieve a price break and penetrate a certain market that might not always be able to carry these commodities.

“We also will show booth visitors our commitment to them by detailing our expansion plans, product innovation, etc.,” Hulsey said. “Our objective in attending these shows is to solidify relationships or build on already established relationships. So much of this industry is still based on knowing your customer base and your customer’s customer base which allows us to better service them in the long run.”

Foodservice represents about 25 percent of Gourmet Trading Co.’s overall business and continues to increase each year. John Scott, vice president of procurement and sales, said a reason for that growth is asparagus and blueberries are no longer items that are only found in high-end restaurants and they are no longer seen as just seasonal items.

“Given the current trends of global production for both commodities, we are seeing growth at all restaurant levels,” he said. “There are now casual restaurants and even fast-food establishments that have shown interest and consistency as a result of our product availability. With our growth projection to make our supply base even more consistent despite weather events, we expect to see this trend continue to grow. Being at this show and sharing our thoughts on the future with customers is paramount for us to stay a key player in this industry.”

Among the topics Scott expects to talk about at the show are what Gourmet Trading Co. is doing to deal with timeframes that are historically challenging for the industry, new innovation and what the company is doing to differentiate itself from other growers.

The company will also be talking about organic asparagus, which is generating buzz around the company. It currently has supply for 10 months and is expanding to have year-round supply.

“Business in the last 12 months has been consistent with expectations,” Scott said. “Our volumes are increasing overall and we are successfully flattening out the traditional seasonal nature of supply. We have a more consistent volume offering year-round and organic production continues to increase for us both asparagus and blueberries.”

The company continues to develop production in the various regions for both items, working in Peru, Mexico, California and Washington.