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Shuman Produce continues giving back

Over the past 20 years, Shuman Produce’s Peruvian sweet onion program has grown into a vital part of the year-round family business model. In Peru, Shuman Produce operates a sweet onion growing and packing facility to promote efficiency in its supply chain.

“This facility allows our program to have a new level of flexibility to provide better service to our retail partners and improve our overall Peruvian sweet onion program with additional product six to seven months out of the year,” said John Shuman, president of Shuman Produce, based in Reidsville, GA. “Our Peruvian sweet onions are the premium sweet onion with the same freshness, quality, traceability and safety standards as our Vidalias, allowing us to maintain consistency year-round.”

John-in-Peru-FieldJohn Shuman in a Peruvian onion field.Shuman Produce’s Vidalia season was successful, with excellent quality, above average yields and steady demand throughout the season. The company expected to begin shipping its sweet onions from Peru around the end of August, or early September. It anticipated the transition from Vidalia to Peru to be smooth with good supply.

“Purchasing organic produce continues to be a trend among consumers,” Shuman said. “Shuman Produce increased our organic program this past year and we are making plans to continue the expansion in the coming year.”

Shuman Produce offers retailers a wide variety of packaging options, like large display bins, consumer bags, display ready containers and cartons designed to help create opportunity for retailers to boost sales.

Another major impact of the Peruvian sweet onion import program is to the Southeast United States’ economy, where Shuman Produce is located. Shuman Produce imports all of its Peruvian sweet onions through the Port of Savannah, the fourth busiest and fastest growing container port in the U.S.

“The Georgia Ports Authority, which operates the Port of Savannah, has an economic impact on more than 430,000 jobs of Georgians who live, work and shop in their local communities. This is especially important to our retail partners in the Southeast as they are able to put local economic sustainability into action,” Shuman said.

By importing these onions through a local container port, Shuman Produce can also maintain a highly skilled labor force throughout the year in both business management and packaging phases of the operation.

Shuman Produce believes in giving back and its plans for fall include a series of programs designed to support this belief. Shuman Produce will offer pink packaging to retailers throughout the month of October to promote Breast Cancer awareness and will make a charitable donation benefitting breast cancer research.

In 2002, John Shuman founded Produce for Kids, a program designed to create a healthier generation. Since that time, this program has made a significant impact both in the produce industry, and in the fight to end hunger.

In 2018, PFK was recognized as a mission partner of Feeding America, providing more than 10 million meals to help end hunger. Produce for Kids’ programs are promoted in more than 3,000 stores across the U.S. and Canada, and since 2002, has raised over $6.5 million to benefit children and families. A full 100 percent of these funds remain in the retailers’ local communities.

“Produce for Kids’ in-store campaigns will continue this fall with participating retailers,” Shuman said. “These programs include signage and point-of-sale materials designed to market produce to children to support our efforts to create a healthier generation.”

In addition, Produce for Kids is preparing to launch its digital campaign, Power Your Lunch Box Promise to encourage families to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables by allowing parents to make a pledge to pack healthier lunchboxes. This program also supports the We Heart RDs program, which supports registered dietitians across the country.

“Shuman Produce is busy developing exciting, new programs designed to help our customers move more product,” Shuman said. “Look for upcoming announcements about new efforts to support Feeding America, and our Holiday Meal Drive with Produce for Kids.”