More and more retailers looking for consistency in their fresh vegetable — and, increasingly, fruit — programs are turning to greenhouse-grown, which is now widely available year-round from top suppliers.

Both retailers and consumers have driven increased demand for greenhouse-grown vegetable options, said Ray Mastronardi, vice president of sales for Kingsville, Ont.-based Del Fresco Pure.

“We don’t have to deal with unpredictable weather conditions, which ultimately affects the crop,” he said. “Because we grow our commodities in a controlled atmosphere, there is consistent supply available.”

And consistent, excellent flavor, Mastronardi added. Del Fresco’s Flavor, Mini Mixers and other snacking tomatoes, for instance, have consistently high brix levels.

Canadian greenhouse-grown tomatoes are gaining in popularity, with larger market share, particularly in the winter months, Mastronardi said.

But the newest product on the market for Del Fresco isn’t a tomato. After years of trials, the company will begin shipping its Euro Bean, the Gourmet Slicing Bean, in volumes this spring, with full summer and fall seasons to follow.

“We’re increasing our capacity to four times of what we previously had,” Mastronardi said.

Del Fresco is also seeing strong growth in its snacking category. The company’s Mini Crunchers Cucumbers and Sweetreats (mini sweet peppers) grow in popularity every year.

“Customers like that they’re consistently available as well as being a convenient and flavorful snack, especially for busy families on the go.”

When it comes to merchandising, Del Fresco is encouraging its retail partners to stock more display (or flat) packs, which allow the consumer to better see product, Mastronardi said.

In other packaging news, Del Fresco is also adding more cardboard to its packs to reduce the amount of plastic used.