BOULDER — It is a sunny, summer Saturday, and you just bought a mess of greens from the Pastures of Plenty farm booth at the Boulder Farmers’ Market.
If you walk over to Made in Nature’s 1,650-square-foot office and kitchen at 1708 13th St. this summer, a chef can show you how to cook those greens into a dish that includes Made In Nature’s dried organic fruit, said Wendy Goldner, the company’s director of marketing.
“You know how hard it is to eat your greens,” she said. “We want to inspire people. We’ll be welcoming people in and creating things with new recipes. Hopefully, we’ll create products that we can offer to retailers and get the buzz going.”
Cooking dishes with dried fruit is expected to be just one aspect of the company’s new hands-on marketing campaign, Goldner said.
On Boulder Farmers’ Market days (Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings from late spring to late fall) Made In Nature workers will roll up the garage doorstyle windows on the front of the building to offer dried-fruit samples, too, she said.
“We want to help people learn how to cook and eat better, so we’ll bring them the product,” Goldner said. “Helping create new meals and snacks adds a new dimension to the farmers’ market.”
The dried-fruit company is riding a wave of consumer interest in dried-fruit and snack-mix products that included a 4 percent increase in sales from mid-2012 to mid-2013, according to Nielsen Perishables Group, a division of the Nielsen research and analytics company in Chicago. Overall dried-fruit and snack-mix sales increased to $434.1 million per week in August 2013.
Privately held Made in Nature does not disclose revenue information. As one measure of its success, however, the company is the No. 1 supplier of organic dried fruit in the country, according to SPINS, a consumer brand research company based in Schaumberg, Illinois. Its retail customers include Costco, Alfalfa’s, and other retail stores across the country, Goldner said.
The company opened its new headquarters office in the former Map Gallery building in Boulder Jan. 1 after several months of remodeling work. During the remodeling, Goldner and others spent several months in rented space at the Fresh Ideas Group marketing agency in Boulder. Fresh Ideas Group leader Sylvia Tawse and her husband, Lyle Davis, own the Pastures of Plenty farm, and Fresh Ideas Group hosts meals in its kitchen, which created the brainstorm for Made In Nature’s new marketing campaign, Goldner said.
The company’s manufacturing and production operations remain in Fresno, California, near the farms where some of its fruits are grown, Goldner said. Made in Nature’s headquarters move to Boulder came, in part, because president Doug Brent hails from here, she said. Company leaders also liked Boulder’s positive reputation as an industry leader for organic foods.
“It couldn’t be more perfect. We were in the right place at the right time,” Brent said.
Next up, the company is rolling out snack-size dried-fruit mix packs for $1.99 in a variety of flavors. But representative are being more secretive about a new product they plan to roll out at the Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim, California, on March 9. Goldner and Brent declined to give many details of the new product line, other than to say that it includes dried fruit and incorporates recipes with some exotic flavors.