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A leading integrated grower-shipper of fresh produce from Mexico is expanding its efforts to provide enhanced, value-added service to its retail and foodservice customers.

Farmer's Best, which has been in business for over 40 years, is planning marketing campaigns designed to help retailers sell more produce in a challenging economy.

"Beyond a positive sales experience that we always try to deliver, we are also focusing now on providing creative tools to help our customers sell more produce to their customers," Jerry Wagner, director of marketing, said in an April 9 press release. "To that end, the company has put together a marketing team consisting of merchandising, nutrition and consumer affairs specialists."

Mr. Wagner said that the marketing team will build a program that focuses on the important "pull" aspect, as opposed to "push," or sales. These programs are aimed at adding value to the product it is supplying, and thus will help build stronger relationships with receivers.

The team is led by marketing veterans Veronica Kraushaar and Robin Lucky of VIVA Marketing. As examples of what the team will be offering retail and foodservice customers, Mr. Wagner cited programs that educate consumers about the importance of eating produce and how to eat well on a budget, as well as draw them to their customers' stores.

Ms. Lucky, who will lead the North American merchandising activities, said in the press release, "Farmer's Best already has a sterling reputation with this customers as a top-quality, consistent supplier. Now it is going to the next phase of true marketing partnerships."

Farmer's Best is also positioning itself as a premier practitioner of food- safety and sustainability programs. The company has received special recognition by the government of Mexico for its social responsibility and fair- labor practices. It also earned the right to carry the Seal of Excellence (Mexico Supreme Quality), the most stringent quality-control and food-safety certification systems for exports.