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Itaueira to use demos to reach PMA attendees

by Tim Linden | September 29, 2010
As attendees of the PMA Fresh Summit this October in Orlando, FL, make their way down the 3600 aisle of the exhibit hall during the upcoming convention, they might be enticed to taste a special melon, which the producer claims is one of the sweetest in the world.

"We are going to use our space this year to do as many demos as possible," said Rodrigo Lima, the U.S. representative for Itaueira Farms of Brazil. “We want to show off the taste of this fruit both to new customers and our current customers.”

The fruit he is talking about is the yellow-skinned Canary melon, a variety that is produced year round in Brazil and shipped to the United States during the September-to-March time period.

Itaueira has positioned this product as a high-end melon. It is packed in a 10-kilo carton, which holds five to seven melons individually netted to signal their premium status.

Each melon is marketed under the “REI” brand and stickered with an “I am Delicious” label to reinforce its main selling point.

Mr. Lima said that it is the fruit's taste profile that sets it apart from other melons and even from other Canary melons that are produced in other parts of the world.

“It always tastes sweet with a very high Brix level, but that is not the only factor,” he said. “We do many other things to make sure it is the very best melon.”

He said that the firm takes great care in harvesting the fruit to make sure only the best and sweetest melons are picked and sent to the export market. And this year, the growing conditions in Brazil have been perfect, “so the fruit is always good but this year it is outstanding,” Mr. Lima said.

The first load of canary melons arrived on the U.S. East Coast by ship in mid- September, and weekly shipments are expected into New Jersey until late February.

In addition, this year for the first time there will be shipments to the West Coast beginning in November.

“We are very excited for that,” said Mr. Lima. “We will be able to offer the Canary melon on both coasts for the same price. That is very good for our West Coast retailers.”

Carlos Prado, owner and president of Itaueira Farms, will be in the company’s booth (No. 3689), as will other members of the Prado family.

Mr. Lima and Fred Tavares, who are the U.S. representatives of the company, also will be on hand.

Besides offering samples of the Canary melon, the company will be touting other products that it sells, such as the Piel del Sapo melon and a mini watermelon. It will also be talking about another melon — the Galia — that is currently in production and will be available in limited quantities in 2011.

Mr. Lima said that this is the third year Itaueira Farms will be exhibiting at the PMA Fresh Summit. Besides selling its products, the firm wants to give its customers a sense of who the producer is and the care it takes in producing their products.

He said that Itaueira is very concerned about the welfare of its employees and their families.

“The company provides good working conditions, strictly in accordance with Brazilian labor laws; a complete training program; protection and safety equipment and is always trying to improve its workers’ quality of life,” Adriana Prado, the owner’s daughter, said in a statement released by the firm. “Itaueira believes that it is its social responsibility to ensure that its workers and the community benefit from its actions.”

She added in the statement that environmental protections are another main concern of the firm, and that the company is involved in a number of practices to minimize its carbon footprint, with reforestation, water-resource protection, and reducing, recycling and reusing materials among the initiatives.

The company also has a traceability program that tracks each piece of fruit from planting until it reaches the final customer.