Bolthouse Farms' Brands President Bill Levisay Discusses New Innovations and Future Goals
BAKERSFIELD, CA - March 13, 2020, will perhaps live in infamy for businesses across the United States. In a single day, the world changed—and companies had to adapt overnight. Like many, Bolthouse Farms knew the road ahead wouldn’t be easy.
“We had no playbook for it. No company did,” begins Bill Levisay, President of Bolthouse Farms Brands. “So, we decided to pare all of our strategies, all of our business plans, down to two priorities. First, the health and safety and wellness of our employees. And second, continuing the basic business operations of our company to serve our customers.”
Over the past 17 months, this strategy has served Bolthouse well. The company was dynamic right out of the gate when it came to employee vaccinations, prioritizing workforce health and safety.
“In the middle of this wild ride, I really feel like we’ve kept our employees healthy and safe in ways that we never knew that we knew how to do, but we did,” Bill imparts.
On top of keeping its internal operations strong, Bolthouse brought innovation to the marketplace in the form of new carrot products.
“We recently launched carrot hog dogs, carrot rice, and carrot noodles into a few markets,” Bill says. “It’s testament to Bolthouse’s enduring spirit. Despite the difficulties brought on by COVID-19, we are a company that feels 106-years-young, and we’ve always had the spirit needed to develop high-quality execution and deliver great innovations.”
As Bill points out, Bolthouse did not create the idea of eating more plant-based meals, but it has certainly capitalized on it. The recent products—I’m happy to report I tried the carrot hot dog and was blown away by its flavor—were developed by the company’s robust R&D team.
“The team was like kids at a science fair when they came up with the idea,” Bill shares with a laugh. “To accommodate for the product, we’re growing a unique variety of carrot so that the diameter closely resembles a hot dog. H-E-B has been a partner in this endeavor as we test consumer response and learn the markets and better understand flavor, price points, and packaging.”
As a company very much rooted in fresh produce, Bolthouse Farms continues to up its commitment to fresh innovations in a way that speaks to the company’s commitment to the industry at large.
“Bolthouse is 100 percent Bakersfield,” Bill remarks with pride. “Although we grow carrots in a variety of places, Bakersfield is the mothership for Bolthouse Farms and always will be. We joke that the team’s blood is type O—orange. We’re carrot people and we love creative ideas, but we want to sell those innovations in produce.”
AndNowUKnow has no doubt that we’ll be hearing more from this industry innovator soon, so stay tuned for the next installment.