The partnership announced between Curry & Co. and Suncrest Produce Solutions LLC is expected to provide both businesses with a marketplace advantage this season.
“Our customers want sweet onions year-round, and this partnership with Suncrest Produce strengthens our existing sweet onion program and will triple or even quadruple our Peruvian import volumes,” Curry & Co. President Matt Curry said in May when the partnership was announced.
Curry & Co. is headquartered in Brooks, OR and is a year-round onion supplier. Suncrest Produce Solutions is located in Lake Wales, FL.
Curry was asked about the nature of this competitive advantage. “Suncrest Produce Solutions has over two decades of experience with Peru and South American imports,” he told The Produce News in mid-August. “The demand by our retail base and partners to increase Curry & Co.’s imported volumes was strong, and it made for a natural partnership between Suncrest and Curry & Co. Essentially, Curry & Co. was in the need of a lot more imported onions, and Suncrest Produce had built an outstanding Peru onion program but needed more retail business in the United States,” he added.
He went on to say Suncrest owner Jason Turner has a solid reputation in the produce business. “He and Curry & Co.’s chief financial officer/chief operating officer have a long history built on mutual respect and trust,” Curry noted.
The 2013-14 Peruvian onion season looks to be a strong one for both companies. “Our partnership with Suncrest Produce Solutions is a huge addition to our program,” Curry went on to say. “We have quadrupled our volume and expect more than 250 containers of Peru Sweet Onions this season. We are vertically integrated and have our own facility in Peru and over 130 hectares of onions planted.”
Curry said weather in Peru has been conducive to onion production. “We are anticipating nice size for the length of the season, and expect to start domestic deliveries toward the end of August or early September,” he stated. “Jason was just in Peru and was very pleased with the quality and size he saw.”
The first boat shipments are already on their way to the Port of Savannah, GA. Peruvian sweet onions will be marketed under the “Curry & Co. Peru Sweet Onions” label.
“Our Peru onions will be distributed throughout North America,” Curry commented. “We have an East Coast warehouse in Collins, GA, and a West Coast warehouse in Brooks, OR, and we have customers throughout the entire U.S. and Canada.”
Curry said the business venture has helped both companies prepare for the immediate and long-term future. “Sweet onions are a year-round item now, and we want to supply our customers with a high-quality sweet onion each and every week,” Curry stated. “It is our goal to provide sweet onions that customers will come back and buy again, helping retailers maximize their sweet onion programs.”
While demand for sweet onions has not flagged among consumers, Curry said ample opportunities exist to increase sales at retail. “You need to market sweet onions a little differently than your regular storage onions and make sure that consumers know you are carrying something different,” he explained.
“I’m always surprised when I go to a produce department and see sweet onions displayed next to their yellow onions. Sweet onions should be separated by at least a row of red onions to help customers see that retailers have two different displays,” he continued. “During peak of the season, you can also create secondary displays of sweet onions. It is a known technique to drive sales.”