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Wada Farms heading to Monterey on an upswing

By
Keith Loria

As the calendar hit July 4, Wada Farms’ North Carolina watermelon season was just starting up, and the company was excited to see continued growth in this market segment.

“Through our extensive network of supply chain options, we are able to provide several options that assist foodservice professionals to keep their costs in check given the current market conditions,” said Eric Beck, director of marketing for the Idaho Falls, ID-based company. “The North Carolina watermelon crop is shaping up to be a stellar crop. We anticipate good quality with sufficient supplies.”

Wada Farms is also approaching the close of the 2021 storage potato crop in the upcoming weeks and is eager for the arrival of the 2022 season.

“We are speculating a transitory period in early August with limited supplies of new crop Russet potatoes,” Beck said. “It’s still a little early to say, but given recent weather patterns, we should see a decent Russet and varietal potato crop for the 2022 storage season. We still have plenty of growing left this summer; but so far, all indicators are pointing to a good quality and trendline yields.”

Onions, he noted, are in the same boat as summer onions have been really good out of the West Coast facilities.

“Demand remains strong, and the upcoming crop for the storage season looks to be strong and healthy,” Beck said. “Barring any unforeseen variables, we should be ready to go with the storage crop supplies in mid-to-late August. Sweet potato demand remains consistent, and the marketability of this commodity remains untapped. Market share growth is still on the rise as we assess the categorical data to establish the right basket mix of sweet potato offerings.”

Overall, business has been good and consistent for Wada Farms this past year, with its core base of potatoes, onions, and sweet potatoes tending to do very well in an inflationary environment.

“As consumers are becoming more prudent in their spending habits to offset the increased cost of fuel and other necessities, potatoes, onions, and sweet potatoes tend to do very well,” Beck said. “We are anticipating continued momentum through the remainder of 2022 and into 2023.”

Having a company that is completely vertically integrated throughout the entire supply chain process is proving to be more critical in today’s commerce. The company knows it needs to have the autonomy to make decisions on the fly that will help better serve customers and vertical integration provides that flexibility.

“At the end of the day, we are striving to provide the best service possible with a premium quality product,” Beck said. “We are seeing increased demand in our varietal and chipper potato programs. The rise in demand for this part of our portfolio is the consistency in availability and quality; and couple that with our ability to keep costs manageable be consolidating under one roof, our customers are able to better manage their bottom line.”

Unfortunately, Wada Farms is not immune to the effects of the current inflationary environment and is working with customers to explore new ideas and ways of thinking outside of the box to keep costs manageable to minimize the effects downstream to the end consumer.

But that’s not keeping Wada Farms from growth.

“We have continued focus for more development in our watermelon, hard squash, chippers and varietal potato programs,” Beck said. “These categories have ample opportunities for more growth at both store level and restaurant menus. We work with our customers by analyzing the consumer data to identify those opportunities to capitalize on market share growth.”

Wada Farms has a very robust foodservice program and have been helping its partners develop profitable programs for decades.

“We offer year-round availability for all our core items — potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes and chippers,” Beck said. “In addition to these year-round staples, we can provide consistent service with those seasonal commodities such as watermelon, hard squash, and pumpkins as well. Our foodservice customers have come to know Wada is a key component to yield success for their programs.”

The company will be in attendance at this year’s IFPA Foodservice show, exhibiting at booth No. 719.

“We look forward to this industry event, it is a great opportunity to network and have those discussions of ‘what’s next on the docket?’ to see where we can grow together with current and new customers,” Beck said. “Anytime you can gather as a collective group with common interests, it will always be beneficial. Many great ideas develop around the dinner table or at a ‘meet and greet.’ These kind of shows provide opportunities for growth and innovation.”

 

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

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