California Giant Berry Farms' Brings Berries to the Foodservice Forefront
- by Lilian Diep
WATSONVILLE, CA - California Giant Berry Farms recently came in full force for the first-ever PMA Foodservice: Delivered event. Foodservice and collaboration come to a head on a global stage, and Tom Smith, Director of Foodservice and Organic Sales, shared his experience and how the team is serving its category.
“It was great to hear from the industry on so many levels on what is most important to each of them right now in this new reality. Attendees from divisions such as corporate research and development to culinary to procurement and buying are facing a new set of challenges, and the grower-shipper community has to be a part of their solution,” Tom shared. “There are new limitations in place, and the grower-shipper community has to be looking at the opportunities we have to help the industry survive.”
With quality at the heart of the berry grower’s operations, California Giant is pushing forth in implementing advancements in food safety, packaging, and value-added applications. The grower is also bringing new items and ideas to the table to help kitchens utilize perishable products to reduce spoilage and shrink.
“California Giant hangs our hat on being a premium quality grower-shipper of all four berries year-round. We’ve put in a lot of time and hard work into building that reputation. It’s not an easy task to deliver fresh berries on a daily basis, but it’s one instilled by our owners, and we take pride in our growers and the work that they do to uphold that premier status,” Tom asserted. “Right now, we have to look at where there are other opportunities in the services we provide in order to alleviate the stress on the supply chain. We have to be listening, and we have to be willing to pioneer these challenges to provide real solutions.”
This type of forward-thinking opens the grower up to possibilities and solutions such as consolidation, cross-docking, and logistics to streamline the supply chain; product innovation to offer value-added items to cut labor costs in the kitchen; or packaging innovation such as smaller volumes or mixed cartons for use.
Since the start of the pandemic, our industry has banded together to face a common obstacle—bringing quality food products to consumers while adhering to safety measures. The collaboration between operators, distributors, and grower-shippers is as important as ever, and that collaborative spirit has spurred innovative thinking and adaptability for California Giant.
“We all have to find ways to continue to work together while we get through this,” Tom explained. “Relationships have always been the most important thing in this industry—that has not changed. If anything, they are more important now than ever before.”
Foodservice will continue to thrive thanks to the innovation and determination provided by industry leaders such as California Giant. Find out more that our industry has to offer right here on ANUK.