Doug Burris Discusses Value and Opportunities Within the Fresh Food Group
- by Jordan Okumura
THE WOODLANDS, TX - As we listen for the needs and demands of today’s buyside operators, one necessity we constantly hear about at AndNowUKnow is the desire for a one-stop-shop for products and quality. The Fresh Food Group is a leading operation answering that call and with a mission to bring the most value to its customer relationships. Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Purchasing Doug Burris takes a beat to share the drive behind the company and its family of brands.
“The Fresh Food Group is one of those visions that came to fruition in response to strong consumer demand for fresh and on-the-go convenience,” Doug shares with me. “The Fresh Food Group combines three best-in-class organizations with complementary production and products.”
These organizations include, Country Fresh—a leading provider of fresh-cut fruit, apple slices, vegetables, and fresh snacking solutions as well as Sun Rich, which cuts and prepares made-to-order fresh fruit for foodservice. Rounding out the trifecta is Tiffany Gate, which creates, manufactures, and delivers fresh prepared foods to some of the largest retail and foodservice companies in North America.
“Under the Fresh Food Group, we unite fresh-cut expertise, prepared food capabilities, and an expanded geographic presence to become a full-service, fresh solutions partner for retail, foodservice, club, and convenience stores,” Doug expresses. “Our mission is to provide an experience unparalleled in quality and freshness in the most socially and fiscally responsible way possible.”
On top of that, add a strong vision to create extraordinary value as a market leader providing safe, convenient, and delicious fresh food solutions, and you have a partner who can respond to, and anticipate, the needs of customers across the U.S.
“A cornerstone of the Fresh Food Group philosophy is agility. We partner across channels to develop products tailored to customers and consumers and also develop custom packaging designed to maximize shelf space,” Doug tells me. “We continue to see strong trends in snacking, side dishes, ready-to-go meals, and meal kits. Demand is high for products that add to the convenience value proposition. Consequently, fresh-cut and value-added produce is moving farther down the processing continuum. Our goal is to get product as close to the final state as possible making it as convenient as possible. This requires continued investment in research and development, cooking technologies, and packaging design.”
The Fresh Food Group also features:
- Custom Packaging: As mentioned, most of its packaging is custom designed for fresh-cut. The Fresh Food Group works with partners closely to ensure that its utilizes shelf space in the most efficient manner. This allows its customers to offer more variety in space that is limited.
- Speed to Shelf: The Fresh Food Group’s geographic footprint enables frequent and low-mile deliveries to distribution centers across the country.
- Hand-Cut: The Fresh Food Group hand-cuts select fruit and vegetable products and focuses on training of its cutters to ensure the highest level of quality and appearance for fresh-cut products. This also enables flexibility in product specifications for partners.
- Total Family of Products: Cut fruit and vegetables, side dishes, fresh snacking, parfaits, foodservice cut fruit and fruit salads, deli salads, pasta kits, meal kits, salad kits, sauces and dressings, and soup and stew kits.
“Relationship building is essential to our business model. We serve some of the most successful brands across the retail, food service, and industrial channels and are proud to be entrusted as a manufacturer of private label programs for most major retailers and foodservice companies in the country,” Doug adds.
As you can see so far, the Fresh Food Group is far from a one trick pony. Add in the fact that while most of its products are sold under private label, the Fresh Food Groupalso provides fresh-made meal solutions through its Freshly Crafted brand.
For the Fresh Food Group, fresh is expanding inside the company and outside in the produce departments as well.
“Strategic retailers are investing heavily in perimeter departments as fresh categories are merging and sometimes undefined. Fresh-cut is expanding beyond produce and into other departments, such as deli. Moreover, consumer tastes and trends change rapidly. As a result, fresh cut partners must be agile to quickly adapt to an ever-changing ecosystem,” Doug notes. “Fresh products and packaging must also be geared toward omni-channel shopping with the rise of e-commerce, delivery, and online grocery pickup.”
While PMA Fresh Summit is still weeks down the road, we all know how time flies in the fresh produce industry. Make sure you stop by the PMA-first timer, which will be featuring a full range of its fresh product assortment.
With fresh innovations raising the bar across the whole of the produce industry, you can be sure we will be keeping our finger on the pulse of produce and beyond.