Introduction to MBG Marketing
The Blueberry People
A Grower-Owned Cooperative
MBG Marketing - The Blueberry People is a producer-owned blueberry marketing cooperative that was formed in 1936 as the Michigan Blueberry Growers Association by the original blueberry growers in the state. MBG quickly gained a leadership role in the Michigan blueberry industry, and as interest in blueberry production grew in other states, MBG’s membership base expanded to reflect the trend. In the late 1940s, MBG extended membership into northern Indiana; Georgia and Florida in 1983; British Columbia in 2006; North Carolina in 2009; the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington in 2013, and New Jersey in 2014. Today, with a production base of over 300 growers, MBG is the largest grower-owned marketer of fresh and value-added processed cultivated blueberries in the world.
MBG Marketing offers its blueberry growers unprecedented service and support in meeting the challenges of the 21st century food industry. In addition to expert sales and marketing under the globally recognized brand, a strong team of tenured professionals offers our grower-owners local assistance in everything from field scouting and pest management; to yield estimating, pack planning, and quality assurance programs; to food safety and social responsibility training; to packaging, packing, and processing expertise; and to innovative technology and traceability programs. The cooperative model of “operating at cost” affords MBG’s members a competitive advantage in a rapidly expanding industry, and our cash advance and payment programs have stood the test of time for 79 years!
MBG Marketing, along with its grower-owners, is one of four (4) owner-partners actively directing and benefiting from Naturipe Farms’ “Win Every Day” berry marketing strategy. Naturipe is the world’s leading marketer of top-quality fresh and value-added processed berries, with significant business relationships with all top-tier customers of blueberries. To better understand our international Naturipe family of grower-owned organizations, please see the diagram below:
The cooperative leads the industry with personalized horticultural services specializing in strategic pest management protocols and increasing yields with sustainable best practice solutions. MBG is also actively developing new proprietary blueberry varieties in its member-owned breeding program, making new cultivars available exclusively to MBG members and partner producers. MBG’s own internally developed innovative information technology applications for field, harvest, and inventory management – continuously evolving with the feedback of our grower users – allows for full traceability from the field to the end consumer and is the envy of the industry. Additionally, new value-added capacities continue to be developed to serve our members’ needs. And finally, we are well known industry leaders in both food safety and social responsibility initiatives, always prepared to meet our customers’ requirements in these arenas; and serving our local communities as good neighbors, giving back to those who serve us.
MBG’s headquarters are located in Grand Junction, Michigan. In total, MBG employs over 200 seasonal and full-time people annually at its various locations. The cooperative owns and operates state-of-the-art blueberry receiving, pre-cooling, and distribution facilities in Alma, Georgia and Grand Junction, Michigan, in addition to local business offices in each region. MBG also owns satellite service facilities in Holland and Bangor, Michigan; and seasonally operates others in Ravenna, Michigan; Ivanhoe, North Carolina; Demotte, Indiana; and Gainesville, Florida, with member-owned berry facilities also operating seasonally in British Columbia, Salem, Oregon, and Hammonton, New Jersey. MBG launched a value-added fresh operation and distribution center in Georgia in 2012, and in 2013, brought on line its new IQF (individually quick frozen) value-added processing and packing facility in Bloomingdale, Michigan. In 2014 we added another new “Best in Class” facility in Alma, GA that includes not only IQF value-added processing and packing operations, but a second Alma fresh fruit distribution center and a new home for the fresh value-added business, completing a full range of local member service capabilities.
An eleven-person Board of Directors, elected by and from MBG’s member-owners, represents our various membership areas and governs MBG along with the leadership of Larry Ensfield, Chief Executive Officer, and his staff. New last year, the cooperative initiated a “Young Cooperators” program whereby a dozen MBG family farmers aged 25-45 were selected for an 18-month targeted development program to ensure MBG continues its legacy of industry leadership. MBG is comprised of a grower-member, management, and partner team prepared to meet the requirements of successful blueberry production, marketing, sales, and service in this year and in many more to come.