Louis Hymel, director of purchasing and marketing for Spice World Inc., headquartered in Orlando, FL, said that the company is completely vertically integrated in the garlic Industry.
“We have a seed program and we process and pack garlic in every imaginable way-some of which are exclusive to our company,” said Hymel. “And we market direct to all segments of the food industry: from A to Z.”
He added that Spice World has handled organic products for nearly a decade. Its organic line is as varied and wide as its conventional line, and includes bulk, fresh in cello or mesh bags, peeled, ready-to-use jarred and its well received “Squeeze Garlic.”
“Our full line and pack sizes of organic items are available 12 months a year, and consumers continue to enjoy our organic ‘Squeeze Garlic,’“ said Hymel. “The organic version was introduced about a year ago.”
The majority of Spice World’s organic garlic is produced in California, but the company also handles some imported product.
Hymel said that company’s roots, since its founding in 1949, have been in sales and distribution to retail supermarket chains.
“However, Spice World has complete diversity in our customer base and distribution as we also have foodservice and industrial divisions,” said Hymel. “We cover the entire country and, according to Nielsen Data, we have the majority market share within the retail garlic sales’ category. We also have some export distribution. And we are always looking to strengthen pocket marketplaces.”
Hymel said that the company is seeing a bit of an uptick in organic sales that coincides with the upswing in the economy, but it is confined to specific areas of the country. He pointed out that people have to eat and so the food industry is not affected as much as other industries when the economy takes a tilt downward.
Spice World is always looking to increase its internal efficiencies, and in the recent past it has added new packing equipment to its operation.
He said that the company began its Baja harvest in late May, and that it is looking very nice this year.
“We will then move into our central California crop, which is always an exciting time of year to see where the market will take us,” said Hymel. “Overall, the garlic market has been very strong, but China has an increased harvest this season which could affect global demand.
“Locally grown affects a variety of items,” he continued. “But for good marketable quality production of garlic it is very limited. Additionally, with the importance of third party audits and traceability, these requirements can sometimes make local production challenging.”
Despite that, he noted that supermarkets and restaurants will always try to give their customers what they want whenever possible. But locally grown items are very seasonal which limits their ability to do so for major portions of the year.
“Locally grown has a real ‘feel-good’ support factor, and that’s good,” said Hymel. “But in order to meet demands, industrial agriculture production will always be required.”