Del Rey Avocado Expands Into New Facility
- by Maggie Mead
FALLBROOK, CA - Clearly, the avocado boom will not be slowing down anytime soon, as evidenced by Del Rey Avocado Company’s further expansion into Southern California. The company has been operating out of the same facilities in Fallbrook, CA, (in northern San Diego County) for five decades. In the last few years, the company has determined that it will soon outgrow the current Fallbrook facility, necessitating the search for a suitable location in the surrounding area.
The planned new facility comes on the heels of the company’s purchase of its latest facility in Vineland, NJ, in January 2017, which made Del Rey one of the few California-based companies with facilities on both coasts. The company then had to double its capacity to keep up with increased avocado consumption and outstanding customer relationships.
“Our growth and expansion would not be possible without the support of our customers and the tremendous relationships we enjoy with them,” said Bob Lucy, President. “In addition to our customers, our employees are the key to our growth and success. Not a day goes by that we don’t count our blessings.”
Over many months the partner families—the Lucy’s and the Siemer’s—scoured the area for suitable land for the new facility. In a rare find, the search led to the discovery of a functional, modern existing warehouse facility in Vista, CA—only a short drive away from the company’s Fallbrook headquarters. The existing facility will allow the company to become operational in half the time, compared to building a new, custom facility. The new facility will add an additional 43,000 square feet of cold storage and ripening rooms to the existing footprint in San Diego County and will be conveniently located next to major transportation routes.
According to the press release, the Vista facility will service customers in the Western U.S. (primarily areas west of the Rocky Mountains) and imports from Mexico. As avocados become more of a staple in the American diet, the market in the Western and Southwestern U.S. only continues to grow. More and more retailers are adding additional SKUs where they traditionally carried only bulk avocados. Many retailers carry at least three different pack options, which research has shown increases consumer purchases. Rather than taking away from bulk sales, the addition of the SKUs has actually increased the overall sales of avocados. A Nielsen market research conducted on “berry patch” merchandising and other specialty commodities like artichokes proved that this merchandising strategy is extremely effective.
“Opening a new facility has long been our goal and desire to streamline our operations, improve efficiencies, and offer us an opportunity to be innovative in meeting the need of our customers,” commented Bob Siemer, Chief Agronomist/Partner. “The new Vista facility will also provide our growers many benefits as it will allow us to receive fruit faster and get products to market faster.”
The company anticipates that the demand for its fruit will only continue to increase over the next five to seven years, and is well positioned with strong growers and international procurement to keep up with the demand from retailers, foodservice, and, of course, consumers who are bonkers for avocados.
Will this new facility help Del Rey keep up with consumer demand? AndNowUKnow will keep you posted.