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Curry sees strong onion sales in 2010

by Lora Abcarian | December 06, 2010
Matt Curry, president of Curry & Co. in Brookside, OR, said he is pleased with 2010 onion sales. "We have had a strong year for quality from both domestic and international supplies," he told The Produce News in early November. “We did see lower yields on onions at the start of 2010 due to wet conditions in several growing areas. But the product we ended up putting in the box was of nice quality.”

Mr. Curry said global supplies are down this year, and demand for domestic standard yellow, white and red onions has remained strong this season. The transition from old-crop to new crop onions has been smooth as a result.

“We are essentially a domestic-oriented company with little in the way of exports right now outside of Canada,” he stated. “We have strong programs nationwide and with our recent purchase of Gerrald's onion facility in Georgia, we expect our East Coast presence to continue to grow.”

Curry & Co. also markets sweet onions, which continue to be received positively by consumers. Imported sweet onions from Chilean and Peruvian are making their way into the American pipeline, and domestically produced Hermiston SweetReds have exceptionally good flavor this season.

“We work with a large number of retail and wholesale accounts throughout North America, everything from the small chain with a handful of stores to national grocery chains and club stores,” Mr. Curry said.

Curry & Co. continues to work closely with its retail partners to create consumer education pieces for onions and sweet onions. “We’re firm believers that the more you can engage the customer, the better chance you have of getting that sale and — then assuming we’ve delivered on our promise of outstanding product — the better the chance of getting a repeat sale,” he went on to say. “Consumers have so many options both in and outside the produce department. So we’re doing everything we can to help keep produce at the top of mind with our customers.”

According to Mr. Curry, the effort is paying off. “We are finding stronger than expected responses when we’re offering some point-of-sale or recipe cards or other items,” he stated. “For several years, you’d offer these materials and have little interest. Now we’re finding that retail groups are often looking for assistance in the best way to help them drive sales, and it’s creating some fun and new opportunities for us.”

He illustrated the results this way. “One chain recently wanted some simple 11 by 7 cards to supply to their stores to celebrate the arrival of our Peru 'Sweet Peaks’ sweet onions, and we were able to quickly provide a solution,” he stated.