Nellie's Free-Range Eggs named official egg of Red SoxBy JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent
October 08. 2018 1:53PM
MONROE — What do organic free-range eggs have in common with beer, lobster and barbecue grills?
A new Boston Red Sox partnership.
Pete and Gerry’s Organics LLC’s Nellie’s Free-Range Eggs has been named the official egg of the Boston Red Sox, joining a list of team-approved brands that over the past two years have included the addition of Samuel Adams beer, Yankee Lobster and Kenyon International electric grills.
The Monroe-based egg company has already enjoyed a banner year, achieving distribution in all 50 states and poised for a double-digit sales increase. Under a partnership that runs from 2019 through 2021, the BoSox will promote Nellie’s eggs and use them exclusively at Fenway Park, be it for in-house cooking and baking during the baseball season or for special events that take place there the rest of the year.
The timing of the announcement — which coincides with the Red Sox clinching the best record in franchise history — has Pete and Gerry’s marketing vice president Paul Turbeville smiling broadly.
“Everybody’s holding their breath” that the Red Sox can win a fourth World Series since 2004, Turbeville said.
Although the Red Sox approached Pete and Gerry’s about becoming a partner, the company is paying the team a significant amount for the privilege, Turbeville said.
In return for the undisclosed investment, the Red Sox will cite Pete and Gerry’s as the official team egg on radio and TV broadcasts of Sox games. The partnership also will be featured on billboards and on “shelf talkers” in the Boston and greater New England markets.
Red Sox Executive Vice President Troup Parkinson said the team is always looking for opportunities to partner with local brands. Under the contract, Pete and Gerry’s will provide the club with an estimated 25,000 dozen eggs a year.
“We have some of the most creative chefs in the industry planning the menus at Fenway Park, and I know Chef Ron (Abell) is particularly excited to find new and unique ways to incorporate Nellie’s Eggs into our recipes during the 2019 season,” Parkinson said in a statement.
A presence in Boston for several years, Nellie’s already is being promoted as the official egg of the Red Sox, Turbeville said Wednesday. That includes a retouched version of its “All I Really Want to Do” commercial that debuted during the 2016 Summer Olympics.
In 2003, Pete and Gerry’s became the first certified humane egg producer in the U.S. and in 2013, it was the first egg producer in the world to achieve certified “benefit corporation” status, meaning that all of its operations are audited every two years for sustainable business practices and social and environmental performance.
Since first earning its B Corp designation, Pete and Gerry’s has continued to grow, now using eggs produced at 130 family-owned and run farms “from Maine to Missouri,” said Turbeville, with five farms located in New Hampshire and a total of 11 in New England.
All of Pete and Gerry’s eggs, like Nellie’s, are produced for the company under guidelines that require them to be certified Free Range and Humane. The eggs are processed both in Monroe and at a plant in Pennsylvania.
In addition to Nellie’s, Pete and Gerry’s also produces an eponymous line of eggs that is organic, and, over the past three years, it has rolled out the Carol’s brand of “super-premium” heirloom eggs. Though a bit pricey, Carol’s eggs, said Turbeville, taste “amazing,” come enclosed in powder blue or dark chocolate colored shells, and, simply put, are the kind of eggs that you bring to a friend’s brunch to make an impression.
In the Granite and Keystone states, Pete and Gerry’s has about 220 full- and part-time employees, among them 10 who began working late last year in the company’s new sales and marketing office in Lebanon at the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center.
Pete and Gerry’s has 3 million hens under contract that lay about 70 million dozen eggs a year but it has made a deliberate decision to reduce the number of in-house produced eggs in an effort to expand opportunities for family farms, Turbeville said.
Commercial factory producers control about 80 percent of the domestic retail egg market, he said, but increasingly consumers want not only a basic egg, they want it to taste really good and to come from hens that are treated well, too.
Nellie’s, as Pete and Gerry’s entry level egg, accomplishes that he said for a price of between $4 and $5 a dozen, while Pete and Gerry’s Organics cost $5 to $6 a dozen. And Carol’s, with eggs coming from either the Ameraucana breed of hen native to the Andes Mountains or from the Marans that hail from coastal France, top out at between $7 to $8 a dozen.
While conceding that Carol’s has a narrow appeal to many consumers, Turbeville said the brand is popular with foodies and therefore profitable. It is not yet as well-known, however, as Nellie’s eggs, which are sold at some 13,000 retail sites across America.
Pete and Gerry’s has customers as far flung as the Caribbean and Central America, Turbeville said. The company hopes to reach $200 million in total sales this year, about a 15 percent increase over 2017.