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Keystone ready to transition to Mexican Mayan Sweets

As the Peruvian sweet onion season draws to a close, Keystone Fruit Marketing, a division of Progressive Produce, is gearing up to transition from Peruvian Mayan Sweets to Mexican Mayan Sweets.

Renowned as one of the world's best-known sweet onions, Keystone's Mayan Sweets are well-recognized as a respected and established brand with a long and delicious history. Keystone's foray into sweet onions began in the early 1990s when it became the first company to grow sweet onions in Peru. According to Matthew Gideon, onion category manager for Keystone Fruit Marketing, "The founders of Keystone wanted to have a year-round sweet onion program, and that meant going to various regions across North and South America to ensure we had high-quality sweet onions available throughout the year."

Today, Keystone Fruit Marketing remains one of the largest importers of sweet onions from Peru into the United States and now has grower partners in multiple regions, including Washington, California, Mexico, Texas and Georgia. "We currently only offer organics from Washington and California, and we are actively exploring opportunities to expand our organic offerings in Mexico and Peru to meet the increasing demand for organic produce," said Gideon.

The Peruvian sweet onion season, a cornerstone of Keystone's year-round program, typically runs from late July through March, with peak supply from September to December, aligning perfectly for holiday promotions. Despite Mother Nature's unpredictability, Keystone has maintained its commitment to delivering top-tier sweet onions. “While this season has presented some challenges due to unusual weather patterns and a disproportionate number of small onions, Keystone has adapted to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality sweet onions for its customers," said Gideon.

As the Peruvian sweet onion season nears its conclusion, Keystone eagerly anticipates the start of the Mexican sweet onion season, which is set to kick off in mid-January, and early indications suggest an excellent crop. Keystone expects ample marketable supplies of Mexican sweet onions available through April, along with a full line of onion varieties, including red, white, yellow and it flat sweet onions for 2024.

In efforts to support its customers' success, Keystone has found that offering both bulk and consumer packs of sweet onions is highly effective. Gideon said, "The usual promotional periods are around the winter holidays, but we have found that our retail partners also have success in promoting sweet onions around holidays all year long. Another thing is to be flexible on the onion size and bagged onion volume amount. Being flexible could provide spot opportunities for margin gains at the consumer level."

Keystone values its relationships with its growers and customers and prides itself on the integrity it carries through all those relationships. "Bringing high-quality onions from our growers to our retail partners' stores is what we love to do at Keystone," said Gideon.

Photo: Matthew Gideon and Jose Guevara in the fields in Huaura, Peru.

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