EDINBURG, TX – The value-added sector is definitely one to watch as fresh produce suppliers continue to attract shoppers with innovative new products. One company currently building its prowess in the value-added space is Little Bear Produce, and I recently spoke with Jeff Brechler, Sales, about the rollout of the supplier’s value-added greens bags.
“That branch of our business is new, and it’s really kind of a different animal,” Jeff explains. “It didn’t feel like we were just adding another SKU. We saw it as more of a vertical expansion than a horizontal one. Being vertically integrated helps a lot because we’re the grower, the harvester, the packer, and the shipper, so it all lines up.”
Comprising its value-added lineup, Little Bear Produce offers 1 and 2 lb bags of collard, kale, mustard, turnip, and a trio blend of greens. The purveyor launched these items in late February, marking its official dip into the value-added arena.
When asked what inspired the company to tap into this segment of the produce department, Jeff goes on to explain to me that there are typically three types of leafy greens shoppers: those who prefer to purchase bunch, those that prefer bagged only, and the crossover consumer that is willing to purchase both. Maximizing basket share in these categories is one of the results of catering to the needs of each of these shopper demographics.
“We do have what I would consider brand recognition and brand loyalty. Our job is to tie those two together so consumers recognize these bags are from the same folks that bring them the bunch, and vice versa,” Jeff says. “As we look to expand our program, we continue to evaluate different commodities, and we’re conducting shelf-life studies to further expand the value-added line.”
With a wide-spanning portfolio, Little Bear is also bringing a host of other opportunities to its retail partners, as the supplier is also readying to kick off its melon program in Texas to bring honeydew, watermelons, and personal watermelons to their displays. Other exciting things may be in store for the category, as the company also has some cantaloupe trials underway.