Del Monte tapping executives from acquisition for fresh ideas
Produce processing giant Del Monte Fresh is tapping executives at recently purchased Mann Packing, to lead a company-wide product development unit.
Alex McCloskey, director of new product development at Mann Packing, will serve in an expanded role developing Del Monte-branded products across North America. The goal is a steady pipeline of new food products for consumers.
Fresh Del Monte Produce has 90,000 acres of crops under production and owns more than 40 distribution centers around the world. While its research and development team works to develop new crops, plant varieties and growing techniques, the new product development team — and ultimately the company as a whole — is focused on the consumer.
“Our business is constantly focused on consumer trends,” said Danny Dumas, senior vice president of sales and product management, Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. “We consider these trends when making growing decisions so that we can deliver the products that best meet evolving consumer needs accordingly. The consumer is central to everything we do across all functions of our business, and this includes the decisions we make on our farms.”
Dumas said “growth should be a goal for every business.” As he sees it, growing in the produce industry means understanding the customers. One example of how consumer trends shape new processed food products is the company’s Better Break convenience line, the first product line to launch through the newly-formed New Product Development team.
“We know that our consumers — especially millennials — are looking for tasty, convenient and wholesome options when it comes to lunch and afternoon snacking, but many struggle to find the time to prepare fresh fruits and veggies,” Dumas said. “Better Break is our solution for everyone who may be too busy to prepare their own plant-forward options.”
Earlier hits from Mann Packaging have included Stringless Sugar Snap Peas, Broccolini baby broccoli, Caulilini baby cauliflower, and Nourish Bowls. Dumas said Del Monte Gold Extra Sweet pineapple — marketed as twice as sweet and more yellow than the status quo – revolutionized the pineapple industry.
Growers are part of the equation, plugging in with Del Monte’s research and development team.
“We are constantly reviewing new varieties and work with both our own research and development team, independent growers and seed suppliers to review new varieties as they become available,” Dumas said. “Our team in Salinas, California, working on Mann’s branded products has historically worked closely with seed suppliers to bring new varieties to market, and we will continue to explore these opportunities.”
— Stephen Kloosterman, contributing editor