Episode 291: Amit Patel

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In this episode, Lori Taylor interviews Amit Patel, the Director of Innovation for NatureSweet, about the importance of innovation in the fresh produce industry. They discuss the need for innovation in a tomato company and how it helps to grow the business and prevent it from becoming commoditized. They also explore the expansion of the NatureSweet portfolio to include other greenhouse vegetables like cucumbers and peppers. Amit shares insights into the innovation process, including consumer research, collaboration with retailers, and the importance of test markets. They also highlight the recent launch of the Constellation Sweet and Seedless Mini Peppers as an example of innovative product development. In this episode, Lori Taylor interviews Amit Patel from NatureSweet about their innovative packaging and merchandising strategies. They discuss how NatureSweet created a unique bag design that showcases their brand and makes it easy to merchandise on shelves. The conversation highlights the importance of packaging and merchandising in the produce industry and how it can impact consumer perception and purchasing decisions.


  • Innovation is crucial for preventing a brand from becoming commoditized and ensuring its continued growth.
  • Expanding the product portfolio and meeting consumer demands are key drivers of innovation.
  • The innovation lifecycle in the produce industry can be longer than in other industries due to factors like breeding and testing.
  • Test markets are important for gathering consumer feedback and refining products before a national launch.
  • Retail merchandising and labor considerations play a role in product development and market access. Packaging plays a crucial role in product branding and consumer perception.
  • Innovative packaging designs can help products stand out on store shelves.
  • Dual-sided packaging makes it easier to merchandise products.
  • Effective merchandising strategies can increase product visibility and sales.


00:00 Introduction and Mission of NatureSweet

03:44 Why Does a Tomato Company Need Innovation?

09:22 Expanding the NatureSweet Portfolio

13:41 Innovation and Brand Loyalty

17:53 The Role of Innovation in Transforming Lives

21:56 Drivers of Innovation: Consumer Demands and Retail Market Access

23:44 Innovation Lifecycle and Test Markets

30:32 New Product Launch: Constellation Sweet and Seedless Mini Peppers

38:12 Retail Merchandising and Labor Considerations

38:37 Packaging Innovation

39:03 Merchandising

39:38 Closing Remarks


Website: https://naturesweet.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/NatureSweet/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nstomatoes/ 

About Lori

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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