The message is clear: a varied and plant-based diet is better for our bodies and our planet.
We all know that filling half your plate with fresh fruits and veggies will likely improve your health. Some experts are recommending as many as 10 servings a day. Even if not everyone can meet such an ambitious target, the message is clear: a varied and plant-based diet is better for our bodies and our planet.
“But suppose you were able to achieve that 10 servings a day. Did we mention that Fresh Direct Produce now distributes over 1,000 different SKUs of fruits and vegetables sourced from over 35 countries on six continents? That’s a very healthy variety to choose from—so healthy that you could probably go a month before eating the same fruit or vegetable twice, even at 10 servings a day.”
Mother Nature grows produce in all different shapes, grades, and sizes, and growers are tasked with selling the whole crop no matter what Mother Nature gives them. Our teams are trained to select the best while meeting our customers’ own specifications for quality, grade and size.
There are few fruits we can’t acquire for our retailers. At Fresh Direct Produce, we see increasing the awareness of the fast-growing list of ethnic and exotic fruits as just another part of the superior service that we provide for our customers.
In addition to our huge selection of loose and bulk items, since 2010 we have offered five lines of branded and packaged produce:
For consumers looking for the highest-quality mandarin oranges, pomelos, Asian pears, garlic, ginger, peas, and Asian vegetables (among others) contained in a gift box, mesh bag, or a sealed bag.
For cooks looking for peppers in a range of heat levels without the worry of handling the product directly.
Packaged fruits that have long been staples in foreign markets and among ethnic groups, but remain unfamiliar to many mainstream North American consumers.
Packaged tropical fruits including papayas, mangoes and avocadoes that are pre-ripened for peak flavour.
SIMPLY FRESH® ORGANICS
Our house-brand organic spices each consisting of three- or four-ounce packages of garlic, ginger, turmeric or shallots. For consumers who either want smaller quantities or to be assured that the product they’re buying is 100% pure organic.
Changing Tastes, New Cuisines
We bring the whole cultural experience.
Driving Fresh Direct’s rapid expansion are two seemingly opposite desires. The first is many Canadians’ appetite for new and exotic foods. Particularly in western Canada, where eating less meat is increasingly seen as central to a conscientious and healthy lifestyle, there’s a growing desire to create meals with new flavours and nutritious plant-based foods.
At the same time, immigrants coming here from all over the world are looking for a taste of home as they accustom themselves to the traditional Canadian diet. And so, what is an exotic new fruit for one Canadian may be another’s seasonal favourite.
Fresh Direct has positioned itself to supply both these growing demands, and to help our retail partners do the same. In the words of Jozef Hubburmin, FDP’s Chief Financial Officer, “The way we sell ethnic, tropical and specialty items is what sets us apart from our competitors. We don’t just deliver product; we also provide the understanding and background to help our retailers sell the proteins, sauces, and packaged goods that go along with those items. We bring the whole cultural experience.”
We forage the world for the best fruits and vegetables.
At Fresh Direct Produce, we forage the world for the best fruits and vegetables. We select and import over 1,000 SKUs of fresh produce items from all over the planet—up from 600 SKUs just five years ago.
Sourcing product from around the globe offers more than greater selection for our customers; it means that we can also expand the window of availability for those products. Take persimmons, for example. Not long ago, California persimmons were only available in October and November. But Fresh Direct’s global sourcing from China, Korea, Spain, Israel, Brazil, Chile and New Zealand means that now persimmons can be had almost year round.
A Chinese mandarin, typically associated with the Christmas season, used to be… well, just a Chinese mandarin. But today there are many different varieties: big and small, seeded and seedless, packed in boxes or mesh bags. And mandarin season has been extended by bringing in dozens of different varieties from China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia, Israel, Pakistan, Peru, and California.
You might think a carrot is just a carrot.
The people who acquire produce for Fresh Direct are a discerning and curious bunch. Our Buyers are organized into three teams, each focusing on Imports, Organics, or Conventional products.
You might think a carrot is just a carrot, but Susan Leung, FDP’s Senior Procurement Manager, knows better. On a recent trip to India, she discovered that carrots grown there look and taste different from the kind most North Americans are used to finding in their stores. Many Indians moving to Canada miss the taste of those carrots, and prefer the ones they remember eating back home. “It is my job to bring in all the different varieties to meet developing niche markets within Canada,” says Leung.
It’s this combination of keen observation, listening to our customers, and foresight that make our buyers the best in the business. Keeping at the forefront of such a dynamic and fast-paced industry requires energy, living out of a suitcase at times, and the ability to adapt quickly to changing weather and growing patterns around the world. “There are so many changes and so many different scenarios that each of our 14 buyers have to be on their toes every day.”
Just like the foods we sell, our growth and
success comes from strong, well-tended roots.
"The biggest reason I do business with Fresh Direct is that I can buy a large assortment of quality ethnic produce that I can’t find anywhere else. Trust is a big issue for me and I know that I can call my sales rep to follow up and take care of things. Because of their variety of Asian and ethnic produce, a number of new items have been introduced into my stores."
Owner/co-founder, H&W Produce, Edmonton and Calgary, Alta.
"Dealing exclusively in organic produce, Pomme has established an excellent working relationship with the Fresh Direct representatives and wholesale buyers who research market availability, conditions in the growing areas, pricing and quality to prioritize our needs and provide the best service possible. This combination of quality, pricing and service has driven sales and customer satisfaction and resulted in a win-win relationship between Pomme and Fresh Direct."
Operation Manager/Owner, Pomme Natural Market, Port Coquitlam and Nanaimo, BC
"It has been a privilege for us to partner with Fresh Direct for almost five years. They have a great selection of produce, especially exotic fruits from Asia. The Shatang Mandarins (literally means Sugar Mandarins) are some citrus to die for –– an immensely sweet all-time favourite. I would recommend Fresh Direct if you are looking for specialty produce. Happy 15th. Anniversary Fresh Direct!"
Category Manager, Produce, Sunterra Quality Food Markets Inc., Calgary, Alta.