Companies customize, get creative to get items on menus - The Packer

Companies customize, get creative to get items on menus

07/18/2014 11:07:00 AM
Chelsea Mies

Fresh produce companies work hard to get their products onto restaurant menus.

“We try to make products as beneficial for customers as possible,” Jeff Olsen, president of The Chuck Olsen Co., said. “We just work with everyone individually and find what’s best for both parties. We find what makes sense for (customers).”

The Chuck Olsen Co. offers specially sized packages of grapes and citrus products for foodservice customers.

Orlando, Fla.-based Spice World customizes garlic selections for foodservice vendors. Mitch DiMarco, director of foodservice and industrial operations, said they can mince, puree, chop and dice their garlic or leave it as is, depending on what the client wants.

Church Bros.LLC has many clients who want unique products that are catered to their customers’ wants. The company works with clients to create custom salad products.

“We want to work closely with restaurants and chain restaurants to redo their salad offerings,” said Ernst Van Eeghen, director of marketing and product development for Church Bros. “We are in close collaborations with many of our customers to create what they need. Every chain has a different demographic, so it is ‘what do they need?’”


San Miguel ProduceSan Miguel Produce offers destemmed tuscan, lacinato and regular kale in foodservice packs.Kale

As in retail, sales of kale have been growing.

San Miguel Produce has been offering clients a variety of kale products.

Jan Berk, president of Oxnard, Calif.-based San Miguel Produce, said that the company offers de-stemmed kale varieties and a variety of cuts for the green. This gives foodservice clients options for adding kale to their menus.

Berk said that the company is offering Tuscan, lacinato and regular kale that has been destemmed. She said the de-stemmed varieties are preferred for salads and kale chips.

San Miguel also is cutting kale in a variety of ways. The company offers shredded kale, which is great for slaws and salads. The largest cut is good for cooking, Berk said. The middle-sized cut is great for salads.

Gold Coast Packing, Santa Maria, Calif., also is working with customers on new kale products, along with collard greens and broccoli products.

The baby lacinato kale Gold Coast Packing now offers comes in 4-pound packages and has had rave reviews, according to Brett Scattini, vice president of sales for Gold Coast Packing. The new baby lacinato kale comes right in time for the kale trend Van Eeghan mentioned.

Scattini said that the company is constantly coming up with new things for the foodservice industry. Joan’s Broccoli Madness is one of the company’s new options.

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