Strawberry companies synergize through merger

From The Packer | 14 April 2022

Overview of strawberries in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on April 13, 2022. 

Through synergy, there’s often new depth and capacity.

That’s what Irvine, Calif.- based Gem-Pack Berries LLC and Salinas, Calif.-based Red Blossom Sales Inc. are finding after the two companies merged last fall to accommodate farming growth and draw on synergies in staffing, technology and capabilities. The combined company now farms approximately 5,000 acres of strawberries in Florida, Mexico and California, as well as raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

“The merger has allowed our company to expand and be available every day, year-round to our customers and growers,” said Craig Casca, chief marketing officer at GemPack Berries. “Our deeper staffing and new capabilities have enabled us to grow in all aspects of the business.”

Over the next three months, volume on strawberries from California will create plenty of opportunities. The company’s focus this year is branding all its product under the Gem-Pack umbrella and working with retail partners on the transition.

strawberry volumes by or 15

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

The company is a major shipper of strawberries. It will increase strawberry volume by 15% this year. Although, it has a few new items that are doing well, too.

“Our pineberries out of Florida had an excellent reception in a 10-ounce six pack,” Casca said. “And new blackberry varieties from Mexico are also launching with larger-sized berries with excellent shipping quality, and tastes fantastic. We also added raspberries to our product line.”

The company also offers organic strawberries out of Baja, Mexico, and Watsonville, Calif.

Gem-Pack has faced the transportation issues of the past year along with every other company. It’s found a way to minimize the impact of those issues.

“Our head of transportation has done a great job getting all our deliveries covered,” Casca said. “We work as far in advance as possible. At the same time, we treat our transportation partners fairly on rates. It is more important to have on-time deliveries than fight about the rate increases.”

Planning ahead is a common denominator between the company’s transportation and working with retailers.

“Retailers can stay in tune with our production updates, so we can coordinate ads when we have volume and avoid ads when we are short,” Casca said. “Good communication and easy flow of information is key to success for both sides of the partnership.”

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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