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Fresh Food Group champions ‘on-the-go’ convenience

The Fresh Food Group was created in response to strong consumer demand for fresh, “on-the-go” convenience.

Doug Burris, executive vice president of sales, marketing and purchasing for The Woodlands, TX-based company, said FFG is the combination of a trio of best-in-class organizations with complimentary production and products. Those consist of Country Fresh, a leading provider of fresh-cut fruit, apple slices, vegetables and fresh snacking solutions; Sun Rich, which cuts and prepares made-to-order fresh fruit for foodservice; and Tiffany Gate, which creates, manufactures and delivers fresh prepared foods to some of the largest retail and foodservice companies in North America.

Country-Fresh---Cut-Fruit“Under FFG, we united 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,” Burris said. “A cornerstone of the FFG philosophy is agility. We partner across channels with retailers, club, c-stores and foodservice to develop products tailored to their customers and consumers. We also develop custom packaging designed to maximize shelf space.”

Most of the company’s packaging is custom designed for fresh-cut and it works with its partners closely to ensure that it is utilizing shelf space in the most efficient manner. This allows the company to offer more variety in space that is limited.

 “We serve some of the most successful brands across the retail, food service and industrial channels. We are proud to be entrusted as a manufacturer of private label programs for every major retailer and foodservice company in the country,” Burris said. “Our geographic footprint enables frequent and low-mile deliveries to distribution centers across the country.”

FFG continues to see strong trends in snacking, side dishes, ready-to-go meals and meal kits. Its strategy is based on that demand for products that add to the convenience value proposition.

“Consequently, fresh-cut/value-added produce is moving farther down the processing continuum,” Burris said. “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 R&D, cooking technologies and packaging design.”

The company sees growth opportunities in these trends — fresh and convenient options that enable healthy eating.

“Perimeter departments continue to grow as consumer demand for fresh increases,” Burris said. “There are great opportunities for fresh to participate across categories.”

 As a new company, the biggest challenge has been uniting three organizations under a common mission and set of processes.

“Our teams have been very focused on creating a culture that combines the best of all the legacy companies into one, creating the bedrock for future success,” Burris said. “Under FFG our company comes together as an aligned market leader.”

 The FFG team understands that smart 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,” Burris said. “Fresh products and packaging must also be geared toward omnichannel shopping with the rise of e-commerce, delivery and online grocery pickup.”

 Additionally, he said, consumers have increasing expectations around food-safety and quality, and the Fresh Food Group has extensive quality control measures to ensure the highest standards for safe, high-quality products.