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US: "Sprouts are becoming trendy given their health benefits"

“Broccoli sprouts have been showing an increase as there has been a lot of publicity around the benefits of the sulforaphane enzyme it contains. People literally started buying it up in supermarkets, adding it to smoothies and dishes. Now, we’re seeing a big trend for healthy foods that are up and coming in health stores and restaurants. We cannot make any claims, but that’s all in sync with the health benefits of these tiny greens,” said Olivia Wong, Sales Director at Fullei Fresh.

Producing in a 1400m2 indoor farm, Fullei Fresh has exactly enough space to cultivate all the produce they need, which is three million pounds of sprouts yearly (1,36 million kgs) with heavy coverage in Florida with local distributors selling it within the state as well as exporting to the Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Aruba, and beyond. They also have distribution in other parts of the southeast United States. From small sandwich shops and local restaurants to grand retail chains, Fullei Fresh offers 20 kinds of sprouts.

“The demand in Florida used to be very seasonal and slow, but it has stabilized since COVID-19 as more people started to move to Florida and work from home here year-round,” Olivia adds.

Olivia together with her dad and mom

From Cuba to Miami
Olivia’s grandfather started cultivating sprouts in 1938 in Havana, Cuba, to serve the Cuban Chinese community. He moved the entire family to Miami in 1960. Later on, in 1978, his son Manny Wong followed in his dad’s footsteps and created Fullei Fresh, which he has truly dedicated his life to until earlier this year. He has since sold the business to International Sprout Holdings Inc. (also known as International Specialty Supply, Sentrex Manufacturing, and SunGarden Sprouts), an existing producer of sprouts from Tennessee, as he wanted to move on to the next chapter.

“We are providing consulting to them in all processes and will guide them in operations and in obtaining consistent product quality. They are now growing on a larger scale.”

The two production systems used at Fullei Fresh

The benefit of bulk: stable prices year-round
Depending on the client’s need, the products are supplied in five-pounders to restaurants, whereas bean sprouts will come in as much as 10-pounders. On top of that, there are also some retail packages that are supplied in three to four ounces. Fullei Fresh can deliver in bulk and retail as they are completely vertically integrated, from seed, washing, planting, harvesting, packing, and distributing. According to Olivia, that helps to get customers the right product to them in the best possible way.

“Since we’ve become such a large sprout producer nationally, we can buy 20-foot containers of seed and offer stable prices year-round. We would not just pay by the bag or pallet, meaning that we could provide stability for our customers. Since our last price increase in August 2022, our prices have slightly gone up due to rising freight and labor costs. However, before the recent years’ volatile markets, we had been able to lock in prices for a long time as we purchased in bulk,” Olivia explains.

The Southeast U.S. is not the limit, as there are plans to tap into more states eventually. “That’s one of the reasons why we decided to sell to the company in Tennessee, given our past location in Miami was too far from other states up North. Being in Tennessee, we are way closer and centrally located to other sites.”

As a response to the current hurdles the industry is facing, Olivia shares that “for the industry to succeed, we all need to work together on growing indoors, no matter what you grow. We should all help each other and share resources to help the overall mission, which is providing nutritious products to the world.”

For more information:
Fullei Fresh
Olivia Wong, Sales Director
Tel.: +1 305 758 3880