From new tomato varieties to kid-friendly packaging, Pure Flavor is consistently looking for new ways to engage with consumers.
Photos courtesy of Pure Flavor

Now more than ever, consumers have seemingly limitless choices across the grocery store. As a result, produce companies are tasked with upping their packaging and branding game to catch consumers’ eye as they walk through the store. It’s a problem Pure Flavor, a Leamington, Ontario, Canada-based grower, is trying to solve.

“You really have to re-educate the end consumer,” Sarah Pau, Pure Flavor’s director of marketing, says.

At June’s United Fresh event in Chicago, Pure Flavor’s Leafy Fresh lettuce line was a finalist for the Best New Vegetable Product Award, while its Mini Munchies — which include mini peppers and cucumbers — on-the-go snack pack for kids was a finalist for the Best New Packaging Award. At United Fresh, Pure Flavor also debuted the Cloud 9 tomato, the newest addition to the company’s organic produce line.

Pure Flavor holds weekly meetings to discuss design strategies, and all of its products’ packaging are designed in-house. Reaching consumers is just as important as growing high-quality produce.

Below, Pau explains to Produce Grower what Pure Flavor does to ensure consumers will choose Pure Flavor’s produce over the competition’s at the grocery store.

Produce Grower: Why is it so challenging to reach the end consumer in the grocery store?

Sarah Pau: If you go to a grocery store, and you have two or three or four different grape tomato varieties from all of these different companies with similar packaging, how would you know which tomato is the best? If all of the packaging is the same clamshell, how are you going to draw attention to your produce?

PG: Cloud 9 is one the tomato varieties Pure Flavor showcased at United Fresh 2017. What message are you trying to send to the consumer with it?

SP: As end consumers, we’ve always thought the ruby red tomatoes to be the best. But the [Cloud 9] is specifically bred to not turn like that. Even though the tomato is red, it’s not the red associated with ripeness. So, for that item, we had to do a special packaging. Taste is very difficult to explain, so we had to market that tomato differently. It was originally a popular variety in Europe, and it’s just starting to become popular in North America. The name actually came as a direct result of our own taste tests.

PG: How does Pure Flavor go about finding new varieties that you think consumers will like?

SP: We’re constantly looking for new options and doing taste tests internally and externally to make sure our flavor profile is always consistent. The No. 1 greenhouse development area in the world is Holland. We go to Europe at least once or twice a year to meet with greenhouses and seed companies to see what’s out there and what are the best new varieties. Sometimes, even when you already have the best, you have to look out for what consumers will like next.