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Mike and Mike’s continues to grow

Mike and Mike’s, an organic fruit and vegetable distributor based in Woodbridge, Ontario, is celebrating years of constant growth by expanding its product lines and its community involvement. The company has just picked up packaged salads by California-based Organic Girl.

The two Mikes in the company name refer to President Mike Fronte and Vice-President of Operations Mike Dattoli. The two men started their company to raise the bar on service and product in the organic produce industry. The company’s mission is to provide the highest level of quality and the greatest variety possible at fair market prices.

“Organic Girl really ties in with the kind of products we like to carry, and its company profile follows along with ours, offering good product and freshness,” said Marco Capizzo, who does sales and marketing for Mike and Mike’s.

Organic Girl greens are grown without synthetic pesticides, triple washed and packaged in 100 percent recycled plastic clamshells. Mike and Mike’s will launch the line at the end of June, a prospect Capizzo finds exciting. “We’re going to be able to hit a lot more people with the product,” he said, noting the Organic Girl line will compete with brands like Earthbound. The company is also looking at bringing in an organic meat line and a beverage line.

Though Mike and Mike’s has a variety of products, including milk, cheese and eggs, the company’s bread and butter has always been fruits and vegetables. The produce side of the business continues to grow 15-20 percent per year. One of the biggest challenges the company faces is sheer product availability. Capizzo noted there are still more gaps in procuring organic produce compared to conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. Fortunately, as the organic industry grows, the problems are diminishing. “You are getting fruit from all over the world now. Where you may have had only a couple of options, now you have five,” Capizzo said.

Mike and Mike’s has a private label called Organic Select for healthy snacks like nuts and seeds. The brand also branches into citrus fruits, including lemons, oranges, grapefruits and avocados. The company has had its own machine for re-bagging these products for two years now.

“There continues to be a movement toward package identifiable product at chain level stores,” Capizzo explained, adding the company is able to accommodate industry traceability and labeling demands.

Looking to the future, Capizzo sees Mike and Mike’s expanding its community involvement. The company currently has strategies to help educate retailers on organic issues, but also would like programs that target the general consumer. Mike and Mike’s would like to make an impact in the community in sites like hospitals, nutrition centers and schools; Capizzo sees this kind of outreach as win-win.

“It not only helps the general public, it also helps our brand grow, so that’s definitely a direction we are looking to go in the next few months,” he said.