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Red Sun Farms’ Sweetpops and Sweetpeps touted as ultimate snacking varieties

Red Sun Farms, based in Kingsville, ON, plays a major role in greenhouse produce in North America with Carlos Visconti, the company’s chief executive officer USA and Canada operations, calling the brand synonymous with quality and flavor. 

“This has a lot to do with our seed to plate mindset, which adds a level of trust with retailers,” he said. “Consumers are becoming more educated and more food conscious. They want healthy, delicious food, but they also want access to it 365 days a year and not be limited by seasonality.”

With that in mind, over the past year, Red Sun Farms has introduced some new products that are innovative and fun. 

sweetpepRed Sun Farms’ new Sweetpeps snack-size peppers.“Sweetpops and Sweetpeps were products designed with the sole goal of separating ourselves from the pack,” Visconti said. “We wanted to create the ultimate snacking varieties and cement ourselves as leading innovators in the snacking category. With these two products, we are showcasing our innovation as high-tech greenhouse growers and setting the bar not only in flavor, texture and color, but packaging and marketing as well.”

As a company, Red Sun Farms own more than 600 acres of high-tech greenhouses across North America, giving it the ability to constantly test new varieties and flavors to develop innovative offerings to its customers.

“Innovation doesn’t end at greenhouse construction though,” said Harold Paivarinta, Red Sun Farms’ senior director and head of sales for North America. “It is prevalent in the development of the varieties we grow right through to packaging. Red Sun Farms has been first to market with some innovative packaging that aims to reduce environmental impact.”

Leona Neill, director of marketing and packaging for the company, noted consumer research, competitive benchmarking, and cultivation of seed and packaging innovation are all part of its development process. 

“However, at Red Sun Farms we also foster our relationships with retailers to better support each other beyond the purchasing transaction,” she said. “Our dedicated sales team works to meet all of the retailer supply needs and questions 365 days a year. The marketing team works to establish partnerships with the retail marketing team to support in-house promotions, campaigns, educations and digital promotions. Through these relationships, we are able to get a perspective on consumer insights.”

Over the past couple of years, Red Sun Farms has seen an increased demand for specialties, as well as organics, with a couple of factors driving these trends. Paivarinta explained that the increase in demand for fresh produce is due to a health-conscious audience and the need for more versatility for vegetable consumption. That’s where specialties fill the gap — from snack size tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers that are easy to grab-and-go to more artisanal varieties for those who are adventurous in the kitchen, Red Sun Farms tries to cover the gamut of consumer requests. 

“Most consumers are looking for healthy snack alternatives, as well as a wide diversity of textures and flavors to liven up their diets,” he said. “With Red Sun Farms products, you can be assured that healthy eating can be fun and delicious. Second, as consumers are becoming more health savvy and environmentally conscious, we have seen the demand for organics rise over the years. Our organics line is always expanding, with new varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers being added every year.”

Visconti said to be a success in the greenhouse industry, a company needs a great product and a great team. 

“The Red Sun Farms team is the very best in their respective fields, so they embrace and thrive in this competitive environment and bring years of experience from many different industries,” he said. “Our collective goal is exceeding the expectations of our retail partners, but also recognizing trends and developing products for the future.”

A perfect example of that would be the Sweetpops and Sweetpeps. These products were developed using market research to attract the new produce buyer and shopper who is looking for a healthy, delicious snack packed with personality, that delivers every time. 

“We were confident that we could deliver a product that stepped outside the traditional norms of these commodity categories and attract these individual consumers,” Visconti said. “Same old, same old is not an option at Red Sun Farms and our partners truly recognize the difference between us and the others in the greenhouse industry.”

All of Red Sun Farms’ facilities are high-tech greenhouses, and the company incorporates the latest technology when it comes to growing methods. 

“Our goal is to always innovate and improve in areas of automation, sustainable farming and reducing our environmental footprint,” Visconti said. “With the challenges of this past winter, many of our facilities had to deal with wild temperature fluctuations which can cause huge issues in temperature regulation. However, as our facilities have advanced climate control systems, these fluctuations have a lesser impact vs. a mid-tech or low-tech operation. This not only makes for a more efficient greenhouse, but a more productive one as well.”