Category Archives: Press Releases

GROW Scholar Takes Leadership Role at Organics Unlimited

Organics Unlimited Logo

San Diego, CA (March 18, 2014) – Alberto Ramirez Rivera, former GROW scholar who graduated in 2012 from the University of Colima with a major in agronomy, has recently joined the farming operations of Organics Unlimited. Ramirez is the new general manager of production at Rancho El Tesoro, the company-owned banana farms in southern Mexico.

“We are excited to have Alberto as a part of our growing team in Mexico,” said Organics Unlimited President Mayra Velazquez de Leon. “He was an outstanding student and a natural leader from the time he joined the GROW program in junior high school. When the position became available, we sought him out based on what we had previously seen with his interest and commitment both to our program and with his work ethic.”

Beto, Production Manager

In his new position, Ramirez is responsible for the quality of the fruit, from planting through harvesting. This includes the application of organic fertilizers, protection from pests and quality control at harvest. “Throughout my studies I have had a passion for organic growing and the benefits for both the workers and the environment,” said Ramirez. “I am very proud to be part of this great organization.” Ramirez worked as a young boy on banana farms in the local area, and is one of 44 students who have now completed university studies through the GROW program.

The GROW program was started by Organics Unlimited in 2005 to help the communities in the areas where their bananas are grown. Since that time, the program has provided over $750,000 for programs in Mexico and Ecuador that cover a variety of social issues: education from elementary to university level students, safe drinking water, vision clinics, dental clinics and early childhood education. All funding for GROW is through a small surcharge on the sale of GROW bananas.

Organics Unlimited Expands Team Amid Emerging Market

Organics Unlimited Logo

San Diego, CA (February 18, 2014) – Organics Unlimited Inc. has announced the hiring of Marco A. Garcia as Manager of Operations and Logistics and George Pazos as Controller to further its pursuit of becoming one of the largest competitors in the market for organic bananas.

OU Bananas – Marco Garcia (Left) and George Pazos (Right)

Organics Unlimited President Mayra Velazquez de Leon recognizes the growing trend in organic products. “We have an incredible opportunity in this emerging market, and we wish to not only continue our excellence in product quality and customer service, but further expand our distribution across the U.S. and international markets. George and Marco are here to do just that.” In addition, Mayra believes, “George and Marco are making an immediate impact in the company, capitalizing on our national brand recognition and expanding our distribution centers across the country.”

Marco brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge in supply chain management and a passion for superior customer service. He was previously the Regional Logistics Manager for six years at Heineken Mexico where he managed the company’s supply chain in adherence to compliance and quality assurance. “I pledge to promote continued growth by reinforcing our company’s prestige and image through excellent customer service,” said Garcia.

George Pazos has over ten years of financial and human resources experience in multiple industries. Earlier in his career, George served as a purveyor of fine fruits and vegetables for Andrews Produce Company. In his most recent positions, he was the Payroll Specialist and Human Resources Manager for M Bar C Construction as well as the Human Resources and Purchasing Director for Marine Group Boat Works. “I am inspired by Organics Unlimited’s dedication to social responsibility. A major factor for my joining the team was the GROW program and the wonderful opportunities it provides for farm workers,” said Pazos.

Organic products are becoming increasingly popular among consumers in the United States. According to a USDA report released on October 24, 2013, industry analysts estimate that U.S. organic food sales were $28 billion in 2012 (over 4 percent of total at-home food sales), up 11 percent from 2011. The organic industry is predicted to generate an estimated 42 billion U.S. dollars in 2014. In addition, the top U.S. organic product imports in 2013 were bananas, which valued close to $215 million.

Organics Unlimited Sends Lucky Winner to GROW Volunteer Week in Mexico

Organics Unlimited Logo

San Diego, CA (December 11, 2013) – Following GROW Month in September, a month-long awareness campaign for their non-profit banana label, Organics Unlimited co-hosted a giveaway with San Diego grocer Jimbo’s…Naturally. Karla “Sam” Gonzalez has been chosen as the giveaway winner and will be taking her brother along on a weeklong, all-expenses paid volunteer experience with GROW to Colima, Mexico in March 2014.

“What interested me in the contest was the opportunity to go learn and see a new place which I otherwise couldn’t have afforded,” states Gonzalez, a San Diego resident, born in Mexicali, Baja California. “I’m most excited to see how my life may have been different had my mom stayed in Mexico. And I’m hoping to learn new things about my culture and help others in any way I can.”

Sam, as she likes to be called, will be partaking in a Literacy and Environment volunteer week which offers visitors a unique and fulfilling combination of service and ecological discovery. Volunteers assist in various regional literacy projects with disadvantaged children and youth, and enjoy a variety of ecological immersions with local experts in birding, botany, agriculture and volcanology, in a variety of settings from the Pacific Coast to the local volcanoes of Colima.

“We’re very excited to share what we do with GROW with someone who supports our efforts in the non-profit community,” says President and Co-Founder of Organics Unlimited, Mayra Velazquez de Leon. “We hope she and her brother are able to takeaway a lifetime experience that they can pass on to their friends and family.”

Currently Sam works as a customer service manager for a health and safety office in San Diego County as well as a CPR, First Aid, BBP, and AED instructor. She is involved with a local volunteer program for her daughter’s sixth grade class called Classroom Parent.

“I’ve shopped at Jimbo’s for about four years. My daughter loves their Mac and Cheese,” exclaims Gonzalez. “I’ve been eating organic bananas from Jimbo’s for about six months, and I buy GROW bananas because they taste good and are reasonably priced.”

Organics Unlimited Kicks Off GROW Month in September

Organics Unlimited Logo

San Diego (August 20, 2013) – September is GROW Month for Organics Unlimited. Celebrated amongst all retailers carrying GROW label bananas by Organics Unlimited, everyone is encouraged to support the non-profit brand by increasing consumer awareness to the cause: giving resources and opportunities to workers. With a new sampling program ready to launch and new point-of-purchase materials available for free download, Organics Unlimited is excited to begin GROW Month.

“We want to give consumers the message that when they purchase GROW bananas they are contributing to a better life for those whom would have difficulty otherwise,” states Mayra Velazquez de Leon, president of Organics Unlimited. “Every GROW banana customers purchase helps provide scholarships, housing, clothing, and compensation to workers and their families.”

For the first time, Organics Unlimited is making available a sampling program for any retailer in the U.S. who would like to be involved. Demonstrators will be fully immersed in the GROW brand and can answer questions customers may have regarding the non-profit. “GROW Month is a time to let your customers know that they are helping change the world with each purchase of GROW bananas,” continues Velazquez de Leon. “We believe our new sampling program will spark more interest in organic bananas and social responsibility among consumers.”

Included in the new POP materials is an updated poster to inspire consumers to “Buy a banana. Change a life.” Along with the new header card, customers of Organics Unlimited may order banana bags made from recycled paper that feature a recipe. All retailers and merchandisers who support GROW may contact Organics Unlimited for login information to the online POP store for free print downloads.

With full emphasis on raising awareness to the consumer, now is the ideal time for retailers to begin planning for GROW Month. Funds are currently helping fund a clean water project and education programs in Ecuador as well as education and health programs in Mexico.

GROW Bananas Now in Canada

Organics Unlimited Logo

San Diego (June 26, 2013) Organics Unlimited of San Diego, CA has announced that they will be introducing GROW bananas to the western Canadian market through Pro Organics of British Columbia. Starting in July, GROW bananas will be available to retailers in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Yukon.

“Pro Organics has supported Organics Unlimited for many years, and we felt the time was right to make a 100% commitment to the GROW label. We strongly support giving back to the communities that produce our food,” stated Steve Boyle of Pro Organics. “The GROW program is all about giving resources and opportunities to the people working at the farm level, and Pro Organics is pleased to partner with Organics Unlimited in that endeavor.” Pro Organics is Canada’s organic fresh food leader with nearly 25 years of service to the trade.

“Pro Organics has been a long time customer of Organics Unlimited, but this will be the Canadian introduction of our GROW brand starting in July,” said Mayra Velazquez de Leon, president of Organics Unlimited. GROW is a program that was started by Organics Unlimited in 2005 to provide support to communities where the bananas are grown in a very direct way without high administrative costs.

Through a small surcharge on each box of bananas, the program has now generated over $500,000 in educational and health-related support programs in Mexico and Ecuador.  “We feel GROW has been very effective in giving the workers, their families and their communities the type of benefits that they need, without the higher costs associated with some of the more well publicized programs intended to protect the workers,” said Velazquez.

Organics Unlimited and Chiquita Brands Ink Agreement

Organics Unlimited Logo

San Diego, CA (April 25, 2013) — Chiquita Brands and Organics Unlimited have formed an agreement to supply organic bananas to the US market under the Chiquita® label. This agreement for Organics Unlimited is an expansion of their distribution in the US with organic bananas from Mexico and Ecuador.

The new partnership includes training in both Mexico and Guatemala to synchronize the systems of each company for the organic banana program. All bananas under this agreement will be sold in the US under the Chiquita Organic label, with an emphasis on quality and packaging to meet or surpass the current standards Chiquita has with its retail customers.

Organics Unlimited will continue to supply the US and Canadian markets with organic bananas under the Organics Unlimited label, GROW label, and Fair Trade label. The company has expanded growing operations in the past five years, increasing the available supply of year round organic bananas, plantains, red bananas and coconuts.

ABOUT ORGANICS UNLIMITED
Organics Unlimited is a San Diego-based distributor of organic tropical fruit from Mexico and South America, providing GROW-certified bananas. They are USDA certified organic for the U.S. and Canada through Organic Certifiers. Organics Unlimited offers organic bananas through their traditional label as well as the GROW label and Fair Trade label. For more information on Organics Unlimited and GROW, visit their websites at OrganicsUnlimited.com, GrowBananas.org, or call 619.710.0658.

ABOUT CHIQUITA BRANDS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) is a leading international marketer and distributor of nutritious, high-quality fresh and value-added food products – from energy-rich bananas, blends of convenient green salads and other fruits to healthy snacking products. The company markets its healthy, fresh products under the Chiquita® and Fresh Express® premium brands and other related trademarks. With annual revenues of more than $3 billion, Chiquita employs approximately 20,000 people and has operations in nearly 70 countries worldwide. For more information, please visit the corporate web site at http://www.chiquita.com.

Organics Unlimited Unveils Retailer Sales Support Kit

Organics Unlimited Logo

San Diego, CA (Jan. 30, 2013) — Moving forward into the New Year, Organics Unlimited has announced the development of their new Sales Support Kit, which will launch within the first quarter. Included will be a Five Points to Drive Sales plan, up-to-date point-of-purchase materials, successful tips on how to use these materials, and much more.

“The goal is to continue our commitment with our customers by providing all of the tools necessary to drive product and increase sales in one simple package,” states President and Co-Founder of Organics Unlimited, Mayra Velazquez de Leon. “The Sales Support Kit is our way of helping our customers move more product, more effectively.”

The Sales Support Kit is part of a new campaign focus for 2013 that will strengthen relationships to ensure customers they are given the support they are guaranteed when choosing Organics Unlimited.

“We’ve developed the Sales Support Kit to show our appreciation of the loyalty and feedback we have been given from our customers,” Velazquez de Leon continues. “And we will continue to make Organics Unlimited the best possible brand experience in the market.”

Ongoing updates will be announced through Organic Odes, the official blog of Organics Unlimited. Retailers interested in getting a head start on their marketing efforts this year can download Organics Unlimited POP materials for free or purchase them for print at the new online POP store. (A sales representative must be contacted for login and password details.)

Organics Unlimited Focuses on the Present to Create a Better Future

Organics Unlimited Logo

San Diego, CA (October 4, 2012) — As Organics Unlimited heads into the fourth quarter, the company would like to remind its customers that sustainability is important for future generations. Helping merchandisers relay this message to consumers, Organics Unlimited will offer special fourth quarter point-of-purchase materials and provide tips to show the benefits of buying sustainable produce.

Rolling out the final installment of their famous quote campaign, this quarter’s print and online ads recognize Wendell Berry, a poet, activist and writer who stated, “The only possible guarantee for the future is responsible behavior in the present.” The management at Organics Unlimited works continually to enhance and add programs that will reach this goal.

“Sustainability is a key priority at Organics Unlimited,” says Mayra Velazquez de Leon, President and Co-Founder of Organics Unlimited. “Not only is our company focused on social responsibility with GROW [Giving Resources and Opportunities to Workers], but we must always keep in mind the safety of our planet for the future.”

Materials for sustainability marketing will be available online at OrganicsUnlimited.com. Retailers who are would like to educate their customers on sustainability can look to the company’s blog at OrganicOdes.com for insights and tips.

Consumer Outreach Builds as Organics Unlimited Kicks Off GROW Month

Organics Unlimited Logo

San Diego, CA (September 18, 2012) At the midpoint of GROW Month, the GROW Program boasts great support from retailers and consumers spreading awareness. Everyone is pitching in to increase sales of GROW label bananas up and down the West coast.

Since GROW Month began, Organics Unlimited has seen significant increase in interest of their GROW label bananas. New in-store, point-of-purchase materials have become available, and are registering well with retail traffic. Retailers are downloading promotional materials on OrganicsUnlimited.com to help educate customers on the benefits of GROW bananas. These brand new POP materials are a great focal point for improving GROW banana displays. (Click the image below to enlarge)

GROW-POP-banner-2012

“It is wonderful to see all of this support from our customers,” says Mayra Velazquez de Leon, President and Co-Founder of Organics Unlimited and GROW. “The GROW Program means a lot to the communities we are helping, and we are very thankful to all of our customers who share this enthusiasm.”

GROW Month is hosted by Organics Unlimited throughout September and strives to increase sales and awareness of the GROW Program. With each purchase, a portion of the revenue is donated to the GROW Fund, which benefits workers, families and communities in the banana growing regions of Mexico and Ecuador.

Organics Unlimited is helping retailers with sampling events and contests as well as providing point-of-purchase materials, including display signs, recipe cards, banana bags, and more. Not only are retailers getting involved, so are food bloggers looking to create buzz with delicious recipes that call for GROW bananas.

Organics Unlimited Hosts Retailer Contests for GROW Month

Organics Unlimited Logo

San Diego, CA (August 16, 2012) Organics Unlimited will be hosting two separate contests this September to further increase retailer participation during GROW Month. Registration is now open and the company has invited anyone who sells GROW bananas to enter.

GROW Month is a time to spread consumer awareness of how each retailer is helping workers and their families in banana growing regions. By incorporating retailer contests, Organics Unlimited sees great opportunity to maximize sales. “The important thing is to keep in mind who we are helping, but we also want retailers to have fun in the process,” says Mayra Velazquez de Leon, President and Co-Founder of Organics Unlimited.

One of the contests will be judged on how creative, yet informative retailers can make their GROW banana displays. Photo entries must be submitted to organics@osterads.com for judgment by the end of September. The three best displays will receive a prize.

Demo clerks will play an important role within the second contest. Demo clerks of participating retailers are invited to develop a recipe incorporating GROW bananas. The recipes will be judged on taste, originality, and presentation. Retailers must submit their recipes to organics@osterads.com, and include the day and time that they will be serving the recipe to their customers. The three best recipes win. Also, the demo clerk who sells the most GROW bananas for their store on the day they participate in the recipe contest will also earn a prize.

Organics Unlimited is prepared to supply any retailer the point-of-purchase materials necessary to successfully promote GROW Month. “Retailers are encouraged to be as creative as they can, while including elements of information that can help customers understand who they are supporting with each purchase,” states Velazquez de Leon.

Organics Unlimited is a San Diego-based distributor of organic tropical fruit from Mexico and South America, providing GROW-certified bananas. They are USDA certified for the US and Canada through Organic Certifiers. Organics Unlimited offers organic bananas through their traditional label, as well as the GROW label and Fair Trade label. For more information on Organics Unlimited and GROW, visit their websites at www.organicsunlimited.com, www.growbananas.org, or call 619.710.0658.