HLB Specialties, a distributor of tropical and specialty produce that bills itself as a papaya specialist, added an organic option to its line of papayas about a year ago, and so far the results have been positive.
“More people are discovering the health benefits of papayas, and being able to offer an organic option is a bonus,” said Lorenz Hartmann de Barros, director of sales for Pompano Beach, FL-based HLB Specialties. “We want to grow the organic category, and retailers who don╒t take advantage of carrying organic papayas are missing a big opportunity.”
Both club stores and retailers are distributing the organic papayas and have been supportive of HLB’s efforts to expand the organic papaya line. These stores have seen their overall papaya sales increase as a result of carrying an organic option.
Hartmann de Barros said HLB has plenty of volume on all sizes of organic papayas, which it offers in 22- and 32-pound boxes.
“We use the smaller box for the smaller fruit and the larger box for the larger fruit,” he said.
He said offering different sizes of fruit is helpful to appeal to a range of customers.
“A large papaya can be four or five pounds, and while that might be suitable for a family of four or more people, it would be too much for an individual or a small family,” he said. “A small piece of fruit is only one to two pounds, so that is better for a small family.”