Episode 238: Lori Castillo

10/26/2022

By Lori Taylor

“The company that’s driving tomato innovation and flavor forward is NatureSweet tomatoes.”  Lori Taylor (0:11-0:15)

NatureSweet doesn’t just have the leading snacking tomato in the world, they’re one of the strongest brands in all of food and beverage, elevating the standard of our entire industry. From their greenhouse-grown produce, unforgettable packaging, and storytelling that connects consumers to the workers behind every tomato they buy, NatureSweet has done things right from “seed to smile”.

Lori Castillo, Vice President of Marketing at NatureSweet, sat down with us to share how the company is driving tomato innovation and flavor forward with their mission to transform the lives of workers and consumers in North America. NatureSweet has the leading snacking tomato in the world, and is soon giving us some incredibly fresh, delicious, healthy treats that are greenhouse grown. Larger tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and more will soon be in store with the same quality and flavor you already get from their tomatoes year-round. 

Considering you can’t touch or smell their produce before buying, the trust consumers put into NatureSweet products for taste, flavor and freshness is outstanding, and their greenhouse grown items will have the same consistent quality. Part of the reason for this is their vertical integration platform, which lets them tell you how, where and when the product was actually shipped – something not too many others in the produce industry are able to track. Plus, the connection you get with their workers on every package is an incredible way to instantly connect with the produce you’re buying and the workers behind it.    If you didn’t know, when you open a package of NatureSweet tomatoes, you’ll see a sketch of one of their associates smiling back at you with a scannable QR code that’ll tell you more information about the worker, and the process behind getting those tomatoes to your home. This is part of NatureSweet’s “Associates Under The Label” program, which consumers have been raving about. NatureSweet gets letters from loyal customers all the time, thanking the specific worker on the package for helping educate their kids how driving a truck can help bring healthy produce to the table, or for providing such a delicious snack.

Allowing consumers to know where their tomatoes or produce came from is important, but what’s even more important is letting them connect to the people behind it. Buyers can go online and see videos of NatureSweet’s workers and feel good seeing how their purchasing dollars have helped someone go to school, buy a house or send their kids to school. The long-term trust and brand loyalty this has brought NatureSweet is unmatched by any of their competitors, so much so that the company is trending over 400% more compliments than complaints.

“It’s our advantage to be honest with the customer and with the consumer in a way that no one else can replicate,” says Lori Castillo.

NatureSweet also just submitted for their B Corp Certification in record time. If you’re not familiar, being B Corp certified (which The Produce Moms accomplished recently!) verifies to consumers that the enterprise is committed to investing in specific values and elements of social good beyond financial interest. NatureSweet even walked away with as many B Corp certification “points” as companies you’re familiar with like Patagonia and Toms. NatureSweet is doing a great job of taking care of their workers and showing others in the industry how it’s done by having doctors on site, giving everyone healthcare and a livable wage, and even by choosing to use greenhouse growing methods, which are healthier for workers as much as it is for the planet.  

By using greenhouse growing methods, NatureSweet will soon be offering large tomatoes, cucumbers, mini cucumbers, bell peppers and more with the same, consistent quality, taste and flavor. Greenhouse growing helps ensure consistency and fights against global warming and rising CO2 levels, reduces waste and recycles water, and protects their produce from volatile weather patterns. It also helps protect their workers by eliminating their need to come into contact with harmful fertilizers.  The guiding North Star for NatureSweet has always been to transform the lives of over ten million agricultural workers in North America and they certainly are doing so. Both consumers and workers’ lives are changed as NatureSweet elevates the standard for how we as consumers know where and how our produce is grown, while protecting and empowering the lives of agricultural workers. What’s better than to get fresh produce that’s greenhouse grown with the same consistency year-round and be able to connect to the hands that made it all happen?

Find NatureSweet’s delicious Cherub, Glorys, Constellations, Comets and more at your local grocery retailer, and make sure to use the QR code to connect with the workers behind it all! You can feel satisfied and connected to a deeper purpose knowing your purchasing dollars went towards helping these workers live vibrant, healthy, sustainable lives, while growing their families and future. Learn more about NatureSweet by visiting: https://naturesweet.com/.

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Lori Taylor

Author: Lori Taylor

Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms. For ten years she sold fresh produce to over 300 grocery stores throughout the United States, and today she is fully focused on working with the produce supply chain, media, and government to increase fresh produce access & consumption in the US and around the globe. Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

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