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Onions 52 pushing the Sunions

Bob Meek, chief executive officer of Onions 52, based in Syracuse, UT, noted the company is founded on the service it provides its customers and timing of onions, which is why he feels it’s important that the company provides onions 52 weeks a year.

“We have operations in many Western states, as well as Mexico, and our pride is that we can service our customers every day of the year with all their onion needs — sweet, white, red, yellow, organics,” he said.

Meek said he’s looking to forward to the upcoming Southern Exposure conference and trade show to talk about what’s happening at Onions 52 and catching up with old friends and those in the business.

image1-2 “We do a fair amount of business in the Southeast and supply a lot of accounts down there, and the SEPC has really become more than a regional show for us, because so many of our customers are there,” he said. “We enjoy seeing them face to face, as well as meeting new customers and accounts.”

Another reason that Meek said the show is important to the company is that it serves as a place to introduce people to new products. For this year’s show, Onions 52 will be featuring its new Sunions — the tearless sweet onion. Sunions is the product of more than 30 years of research and development and the onion decreases in pungency during storage.

“This is the first of its kind in the industry,” Meek said. “We’ve been in the marketplace for about a month and are having good success, but getting it in front of more retailers gives us an opportunity to get more of a national presence with this onion.”

The tearless factor is huge, he added, and believes consumers have long looked for an onion that they could cut that’s truly tearless.

“We’ve been growing this onion for a couple of years in trial and this year is our first commercial volume in the marketplace,” Meek said. “The company we are working with is Bayer Nunhem, a seed-breeding company, and they’ve been at this 20-25 years in developing this, so it’s been a long time coming.”

For 2018, Onions 52 is heavily promoting the Sunions with a media campaign, which has reached more than 900 millions impressions already, and talk of the tearless onion has received major media coverage.

“We’re just enjoying the interest that this onion has created,” Meek said. “It’s a seasonal onion. We leave it in storage and unlike all other sweet onions, this gets more sweet as it sits in storage. We harvested this in September and waited until after the first of the year because it’s at its optimal sweetness.”

At SEPC, Meek expects that those in the industry will talk about some of the challenges facing onion companies, such as immigration reform.

“We are really fearful of what might happen if we don’t have some quick and major immigration reform,” he said. “Transportation and ELD is another hot topic. Also the Farm Bill. There’s a lot of issues facing us in agriculture that concern us as growers/shippers and threaten our ability to remain competitive.”

For that reason, Meek hopes these talks will result in ideas and collaboration with others that will find resolutions and solutions to the problem.

Recently, Onions 52 moved into a new 60,000-square-foot packing plant and corporate office.

This has resulted in easier food-safety audits and the ability for increased capacity.

Looking ahead, the company is hoping to increase its organic production and continue to provide the good quality onions the company has long been known for.