Ones to Watch: Where are they now?
2007 HonoreesDairy Foods honoree: YoCream International
Since being named “One to watch” in the dairy category last year, YoCream has seen continued success. During the first half of 2008, sales grew by 34.7 percent, representing the eighth consecutive quarter of double-digit sales increases.
Commenting on the company’s success was Suzanne Gardner, director of marketing.“YoCream continues to expand its frozen yogurt market share with strong results inboth sweet-profile frozen yogurt and tart-profile frozen yogurt,” she said. “We anticipate solid sales throughout the year based on the performance of current products and the introduction of new items.” New items this year have included EuroTart frozen yogurt and six new flavors of frozen yogurt with well-known national flavor brands.
Noted Gardner, “A subcategory with new flavors will be added to YoCream’s successful frozen beverage line this summer as well.”
Bakery Foods honoree: Sweet Life Enterprises
Santa Ana, Calif.
In November 2007, Fresh Start Bakeries, Brea., Calif., purchased Sweet Life Enterprises for an undisclosed amount. Like Sweet Life, Fresh Start is a McDonald’s supplier with more than $500 million in annual sales.
Fresh Start Chief Executive Craig Olson said Sweet Life’s cookies and other sweets would complement Fresh Start’s buns, baked goods, ice cream cone, fruit pie and cake offerings.
“[The purchase] has strategic and practical value for us,” he said.
Fresh Start, which has more than 29 plants around the world, said it plans to take Sweet Life’s offerings worldwide. Meanwhile it will keep operating Sweet Life’s 50,000-square-foot state-of-the-art plant in Santa Ana and will keep Nancy Kirksey - who started the original Sweet Life Bakeries retail bakery - as head of R&D.
Prepared Meat, Poultry, Seafood honoree: Blue Horizon Organic Seafood
The first three months of 2008 were busy for Blue Horizon Organic Seafood. In January, the company launched organic, sustainably-farmed spring rolls in six different shrimp and vegetarian varieties. In February, the company inked a deal through United Natural Foods Inc. distributors to place the organic spring rolls in Whole Foods markets nationwide. In March 2008, Blue Horizon named TV personality and green lifestyle expert Sara Snow as its celebrity spokesperson.
In a case of “Ones to Watch” synergy, Blue Horizon signed a deal in December 2007 with SunOpta Food Group (another 2007 honoree). The exclusive agreement provides for SunOpta to distribute Blue Horizon products throughout Canada.
Snacks, Appetizers and Side Dishes honoree: Original Rangoon Co.
This year saw Original Rangoon take its appetizer expertise into a new brand: Jeanette’s Natural Foods. This new line of frozen appetizers is made from all natural ingredients with zero grams of trans fat and includes: Crab Rangoon, Sweet Sea Scallops, Jumbo Stuffed Scallops and Butterflied Shrimp. The new line is handmade at Original Rangoon’s two production facilities in Framingham, Mass., and Needham, Mass.
Prepared Meals and Entrees honoree: Cuisine Solutions
For the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2008 (ending June 28), Cuisine Solutions saw a year-over-year up tick in sales of 10.7 percent. For the year overall, the company saw an 8.9 percent increase in sales compared with 2007. In September 2008, Cuisine Solutions announced that it had begun conducting formal training classes in the sous-vide cooking technique with its recent acquisition of CREA in Paris. The company also said it plans to build a U.S.-based sous-vide training facility.
Prepared Fruits and Vegetables honoree: SunOpta Food Group
Buena Park, Calif.
SunOpta Food Group overall has seen continued growth since last year - it closed second quarter 2008 with its highest revenues yet and marked 43 consecutive quarters of growth. The SunOpta Fruit Group realized improved segment operating results versus second quarter 2007. The publicly held company said it realized a net segment operating loss of $281,000 versus a loss of $1,137,000 in second quarter 2007. Berry operations, specifically, realized a 72.9 percent improvement in results versus the loss it saw in first quarter 2008, approximately $3.9 million. SunOpta reported that the improvement was due to better pricing and reduced storage costs. Company officials said they expected a new management team and improved internal processes to contribute to solid third quarter results.
Prepared Meals and Entrees: Fairfield Farm Kitchens, Brockton, Mass.
Snacks, Appetizers and Side Dishes: VLR Food Corp., Concord, Ontario, Canada
Prepared Meat and Poultry: MBA Poultry, Waverly, Neb.
Dairy Foods: Bravo! Foods International Corp., North Palm Beach, Fla.
Prepared Fruits and Vegetables: Europe’s Best Inc., Montreal, Canada
Bakery Foods: Galaxy Desserts, Richmond, Calif.
Prepared Meals and Entrees: Lettieri’s, Burnsville, Minn.
Snacks, Appetizers and Side Dishes: Cuisine Innovations LLC, Lakewood, N.J.
Prepared Meat and Poultry: Maverick Ranch Natural Meats, Denver
Dairy Foods: Brigham’s Ice Cream, Arlington, Mass.
Prepared Fruits and Vegetables: Superior Foods, Watsonville, Calif.
Bakery Foods: Sweet Street Desserts, Reading, Pa.
Prepared Meals and Entrees: Monterey Gourmet, Salinas, Calif.
Snacks, Appetizers and Side Dishes: Harry’s Fresh Foods, Portland, Ore.
Prepared Meat and Poultry: The Buffalo Guys LLC, Elk Mountain, Wyo.
Dairy Foods: Lifeway Foods Inc., Morton Grove, Ill.
Prepared Fruits and Vegetables: Alexia Foods Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Bakery Foods: Starr Culinary Delights, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada