Supply and demand - it’s the most fundamental of all economic principles.

But what if a company finds a demand with no supply? Well, if the company is anything like New York’s Really Cool Foods (RCF), it answers the demand itself.

Supply and demand - it’s the most fundamental of all economic principles.

But what if a company finds a demand with no supply? Well, if the company is anything like New York’s Really Cool Foods (RCF), it answers the demand itself.

In 2005, Founder and Chief Executive Officer Michael Recanati opened a Manhattan retail store to sell fresh meal components to on-the-go consumers.  Before the store even opened, however, the company realized there was a problem

“With the opening of our first store in Manhattan, we couldn’t find - within the industry - the quality and scope of products we wanted to offer,” Recanati says.

“We realized that if we had a difficult time finding this type of product for our store then possibly there was a need in the industry,” he explains. “So we staffed a team of creative and experienced foodies to make our organic and natural, restaurant-quality food available wholesale to the regional market.”

RCF also needed a space to make its products. A 35,000-square-foot USDA-certified organic production facility was built in Syosset, N.Y., with a focus on food safety to prepare and package RCF products.

“Our solution was to build our own facility that could accommodate every aspect of our needs, from creating natural slow cooked stocks, to blending our own spices, to combining fresh wholesome components into ‘real’ food and meal solutions,” Recanati says.

Once it was up and running, the business fell into place.

Recanati continues, “Within a year, our sales team, with their relationships in the supermarket arena, had filled the void by working closely with key customers in their search for fresh meal options.”

Today, RCF’s offerings have blossomed to more than 125 SKUs - including entrees, side dishes, salads and combination meals - that are distributed nationwide at natural food stores and major supermarkets.

“Better-for-you, fresh, natural meal combinations that focus on lean proteins, fresh vegetables and simple and classic sauces make up our primary core offerings,” notes Beth McDonald, company president and chief creative officer. “Artisan-created entrees such as our Eggplant Towers and Almond Crusted Flounder, and ethnic salads and handcrafted side dishes like our Moroccan Spiced Carrots and Sweet Corn Pudding round out our line.”

Although the Syosset facility accommodated growth through RCF’s first few years in business, the company announced plans in 2007 to build a 77,000-square-foot processing plant and distribution center in Cambridge City, Ind. Located in east central Indiana, the facility will distribute nationally.

“Sales growth doubled over the prior year but has been controlled with the limitation of our initial plant’s capacity,” Recanati explains.

The new plant (also USDA-certified organic) will triple production capacity and will allow RCF to develop even more new products. The first phase of the multi-stage construction is slated for completion this fall, and RCF already has accepted applicants for the initial production needs. Chief Operating Officer Grant Lorsung notes that additional 50,000 to 70,000-square-foot modules are planned for future phases. RCF will continue to operate its Syosset facility and also look for additional production and distribution facilities.

“By far, the design and construction of the first phase of our Indiana facility has been this past year’s most satisfying success and can be attributed to the depth and collective efforts of our entire team, Lorsung says.

RCF plans to extend this vision when, early next year, it will launch more than 24 new products, including what McDonald describes as “exciting new foods and flavors that are on trend as well as high-quality, classic foods familiar to all age groups.

“Our enthusiasm for the fresh chilled prepared food category comes from the consumer’s demand for convenience and better-for-you foods,” she continues.

“Americans’ eating habits are changing, their expectations are higher and their buying patterns reflect their search for these types of products. As more and more consumers look for convenient and healthful options to provide meals for their families, they will look for exciting choices of ethnic, classic, comfort and creative foods.”

Fresh, all-natural meals to-go prove to be a popular concept.


Really Cool Foods

Location: New  York

Top executive(s): Michael Recanati, founder and CEO; Beth McDonald, company president and CCO; Daniel Pearson, CFO; and Grant Lorsung, executive vice president and COO

Founded: 2005

Annual sales:NA

Primary product(s): Refrigerated all-natural, fully-cooked entrees, sides and salads, meats and poultry.

Brands: Really Cool Foods, private label

Distribution: National

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