Oppy expands cherry program exclusive partnerships
Vancouver, BC-based Oppy brought cherries to the market earlier than ever this year, according to Jon Bailey, who leads the company’s cherry category. “We began on May 2 thanks to bringing two top cherry brands together at the beginning of this year — Katicich Ranch and Brookside to form Katco Packing,” said Bailey. The partners invested in a brand new Unitec optical sorting line for Katco’s initial season in order to put accuracy and speed at the forefront. The California crop has been good overall, with supplies steadily increasing through peak volume starting May 15.
“We expect a smooth transition from our California crop to Oregon,” said Bailey, “trending just a couple days behind last year.” He expects to begin shipping Northwest cherries around June 9-10 until the first few days of August. “Unfortunately, we lost some cherries during a recent frost, but fortunately, the crop looks good overall and we will have similar timing to 2020,” he said. Oppy anticipates peak availability from June 25 to July 10. Bailey also noted that Orchard View Cherries, the company’s Oregon-based shipper also upgraded their Unitec optical sorter to the Cherry Vision 3.0. “We’re very excited to have even more precision in the label this year.”
Like many cherry marketers this season, Oppy has been encouraging retailers to make the most of cherries at the e-commerce level. “With more people shopping online than ever for their groceries — and cherries are typically an impulse purchase — one of the best ways to support the season is by making consumers aware that cherries have arrived,” said Bailey.
Oppy’s pouch bags come in 2.25-pounds while top seal and their clamshells come in 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-pounds. According to Bailey, “there is increased interest in clamshells and top seal because of their fixed weight which makes it easier for online shopping, along with the safety aspect of sealed containers in the age of COVID-19.” He reported that retailers are asking about these fixed weight packs this year, more than ever before.
Of particular interest in 2021, is Oppy’s nearly year-round availability in the cherry category, offering cherries from May through January with its most recent import expansion. “Our volumes will double with fruit from Chile, Argentina and New Zealand,” Bailey explained. “These offerings will provide a unique opportunity for retailers.”
When asked what makes cherries from Oppy so special, Bailey offered the unique value of their partnerships. “Our program is built with partners that are 100 percent cherries. Having an all-in cherry-only focus enables us to grow, ship and pack the best quality cherries,” he said.
“I always look forward to each year’s cherry deal. 2021 is especially exciting with our new Katco partnership,” concluded Bailey, “and when retail meetings are filled with anticipation over cherry season, that makes you feel really good.”