Ontario greenhouse strawberry grower wins prestigious award from Loblaws
Monday, April 16, 2018
President’s Choice Fresh Product of the Year
Mucci Farms announces that they have been awarded by Loblaw Companies Limited for President’s Choice Fresh Product of the Year for PC Ontario Greenhouse Strawberries. “We’ve been growing traditional greenhouse items for over 50 years but strawberries were our first attempt at growing an unconventional greenhouse product,” said Danny Mucci, President of Mucci International Marketing. “Our team and I were completely blown away and speechless when we got the news that we were nominated.”
The criteria for the prestigious award required the product to be launched between Fall 2016 and Summer 2017, and had to be a truly unique stand alone as first to market in Canada. Additionally, the item had to be a commercial success generating additional sales and profit, resulting in having a major impact on the category. The winner was determined by a ballot vote by colleagues of Loblaw Companies Ltd.
Marketed by Mucci Farms under the SmucciesTM Sweet Strawberries brand, they first began trialing the product in 2014 eventually going to market with full scale production in 2016. The award-winning product is grown in the largest indoor strawberry farm in North America with phase two of a three phase 36-acre expansion completed in October of 2017, with the final 12-acres to be completed in the Fall of 2018. The final phase will include supplemental HPS grow lights to accommodate year-round growth, and the company has plans for further expansion in the future.
“Mucci Farms is passionate about growing because growing is what they love to do,” remarked Dan Branson, Senior Director; Produce, Floral & Garden at Loblaw Companies Limited in a video aired at the award ceremony. “What’s important to both of us is that we really behave as partners in development. Not only is the greenhouse strawberry an amazing tasting piece of fruit, the greenhouse strawberry is moving to a point of where we are producing it year-round so it’s taking a lot of trucks off of the road, it’s giving amazing consistency and more importantly than anything, it tastes like a strawberry is supposed to taste.”
“I would like to thank the entire LBL-PC Team for working closely with us and entrusting us with this ambitious project,” said Joe Spano, Vice President of Mucci International Marketing. “The PC, procurement and merchandising teams showed a great deal of interest in the greenhouse growing process. From R&D, to traveling with us and learning about our industry, they were with us every step of the way. This not only strengthened our relationship, it helped us establish a unified vision for the program. We have truly been Partners in Produce.”
In addition to searching for potentially new greenhouse items, Mucci Farms is also highlighting an emphasis on greenhouse education. “There is a story and a strong message to be told and shared about greenhouse grown produce and as we build on the consumer education component, we believe that the greenhouse story will become the greenhouse revolution,” remarked Emily Murracas, Director of Marketing. “Mucci Farms is committed to being at the forefront of that movement, and building on our success.“
The award was presented at the 2018 Loblaw Brands Innovation Summit held in Toronto, Ontario on Thursday, April 5th at The Carlu. Danny Mucci and Joe Spano were on hand to receive the award. PC Greenhouse Strawberries are available across Ontario in several retail supermarkets owned and operated by Loblaw Companies Ltd.