Nicholas Mascari has been named president of Belleharvest Sales Inc., a major Michigan apple shipper in Belding, MI.
Mascari previously served as the president of Applewood Fresh Growers LLC, which announced March 3 that he had resigned from that post. The company indicated that he was a minority owner of Applewood.
Mascari then launched his own firm, Mascari Strategy Group a Management Consulting firm. But he told The Produce News that Belleharvest offered the president’s position almost as soon as he started his own company.
Mascari also noted that he left Applewood “with no hard feelings” but that he had strategic philosophical differences.
He expressed the goal to have Belleharvest become “the main player in Michigan” in the apple business. He emphasized that he will be working closely with Belleharvest’s partner, Michigan Fresh Marketing LLC in Belding to achieve growth.
“With the state of the apple industry, here, in Washington (state) and Pennsylvania, these are interesting times,” he said. He added that national apple consumption has declined at a rate of about 5 percent over the last two or three years. This comes in the face of rapid increases in the production of specialty apple varieties.
“There is going to have to be some fallout and attrition” as a natural reaction to declining consumption and low apple prices. “The growers who are not (adequately) leveraged will be put out of business,” he said. To be successful, “we have to find a better way to partner with the retailer and increase consumption.
“With so many varieties and as more and more apples look the same, consumers don’t know flavor profiles, or if an apple is crunchy or soft-eating experience," he said. "We have to do a better job of getting them to consume apples.”