Los Angeles business updates

07/13/2012 03:35:00 PM
Tom Burfield

Caldwell Fresh launches baby carrot packs

Caldwell Fresh Foods, Maywood, Calif., is presenting two new items to retail markets, said Maurie Thomas, general manager.

Fresh Nibblers, 2.5-ounce packages of baby carrots with celery sticks and baby carrots with broccoli florets, already are served in schools throughout California.

The snacks are in keeping with the anti-obesity movement now spreading throughout the country and are pocket-sized, Thomas said. The company also may make them available in multi packs.

Coosemans L.A. offers hot scorpion chilies

Cooseman’s L.A. Inc., Los Angeles, now has scorpion chilies, one of the hottest chilies in the world, said Alan Pollack, general manager. The red chili peppers are imported from Europe.

Cooseman’s offers a wide range of products, including specialty lettuces, endive, radicchio, baby lettuces, tomatoes, specialty tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes of all sizes and colors.

Consolidated West hires salesman

Blas Rodriguez, most recently with SC Fresh, Visalia, Calif., has joined Consolidated West Distributing Inc., Commerce, Calif., as a salesman, said Joel Young, an owner of the company.

Rodriguez will sell all the commodities the company handles, including apples, cherries, stone fruit and grapes.

Frieda’s Inc. adds two employees

Jennifer Poulson, most recently with The Oppenheimer group, Vancouver, British Columbia, is scheduled to join Los Alamitos, Calif.-based Frieda’s Inc. in July as business development representative, a new position at the company, said Alex Jackson, communications coordinator. She will be based on the East Coast.

Also, Cindy Arora, most recently with the Los Angeles office of New York-based Porter Novelli, has been named communications manager.

Also at Frieda’s, founder Frieda Caplan has received the National Association of Women Business Owners Legacy Award for her efforts in the advancement of women in business.

The company held its first Love Your Produce Manager promotion in April designed to highlight “the exemplary customer service in the produce department and recognize the impact the produce manager has on a consumer’s experience in their produce department,” Jackson said.

Love Your Produce Manager was created by Frieda’s in honor of its 50th anniversary.

Fruit Distributing Corp. beefs up sales force

Fruit Distributing Corp. of California, Commerce, has added two people to its sales staff.

Paul Arambul Jr., most recently with Union Gap, Wash.-based E.W. Brandt & Sons, is heading up the company’s apples and deciduous fruit department.

Lorenzo Brunetti, a recent graduate of Whittier College, Whittier, Calif., is working with Harold Weisfeld in the Texas citrus, limes and Mexican fruit department, said Jeff Weisfeld, owner and president.

The company now is in the second year of operating its own warehouse and offers services ranging from repacking to consolidation to better serve its customers, Jeff Weisfeld said.

Great West Produce marks 50th anniversary

Great West Produce Inc., Commerce, Calif., is still going strong as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The company has added a repacking facility where it now produces consumer packs of onions and is expanding its services to start putting up consumer packs of navel oranges, minneolas, lemons and limes from domestic growers and importers, said Sean Villa, president.

The company receives product at the Port of Los Angeles, where it conducts inspections and has cold storage and repacking facilities.

Great West Produce can pack in euro bags with high-graphic film.

The company can design labels for retailers, use retailers’ current label or pack in independent labels.

Also, Tim Warren, a 30-year produce industry veteran most recently with Pacific Sons Produce LLC, Laguna Niguel, Calif., has joined the company’s sales staff.

Great West Produce was started by Art Villa in 1962 as a brokerage company.

His son Paul Villa, chief executive officer, developed the company into a wholesaler, distributor and repacker.

Interfresh Inc. opens office in La Quinta

Interfresh Inc., Orange, Calif., has opened an office in La Quinta, Calif., in the Coachella Valley, said Chris Puentes, president.

The office is headed up by Barrett Johnson, most recently a field buyer for Minneapolis-based Supervalu Inc.

Progressive Produce hires sales manager

Progressive Produce Corp., Commerce, Calif., has hired Chris Jacoby as sales manager, said Jack Gyben, vice president and partner. Jacoby was with Albertson’s for 20 years.

The company also has reintroduced its baby potato line. Retailers have shown renewed interest in the category as consumers seek out the convenient size and appealing color of baby potatoes, Gyben said.

Progressive offers a newly redesigned line that includes consumer recipes, he said.

Progressive’s premium citrus category also continues to grow with a focus on 1-pound packages of key limes, baby lemons and limes. Many customers cross merchandise these items in the beer aisle and in the seafood section for incremental sales, Gyben said.

QSI LLC adds three to sales desk

QSI LLC, Los Angeles, has added three people to its sales desk, said Paul Vogel, managing member.

Kiet Vong, previously in the retail grocery industry, will help sell the company’s full line of fruits and vegetables.

Robert Rojas, most recently with Produce Central, Los Angeles, will handle sales of mangoes, limes, chilies, pineapples and papayas.

Michael Moratta, most recently with Muranaka Farm Inc., Moorpark, Calif., has been named to develop the company’s California stone fruit program.

Ready Pac Foods names sales manager

Ready Pac Foods Inc., Irwindale, Calif., has hired produce veteran Don Brumley as regional sales manager.

Brumley, most recently with Colorful Harvest LLC, Salinas, Calif., has more than 25 years of retail sales and management experience and reports directly to Alan Ediger, senior vice president for retail West.

Brumley previously worked for Ready Pac from 1999 to 2006.

Ready Pac also “made great strides in engaging its consumers” through its Lunch Is on Us online contest this spring, said Tristan Simpson, director of marketing.

Bistro-Bowl-a-Day giveaway winners were announced daily on the Ready Pac Facebook page and via e-mail.

The contest boosted the company’s fan base and increased the amount of “likes” on its Facebook page by more than 3,000 and helped increase its volume of Twitter followers by nearly 50%, she said.

World Variety rolls out garbanzo, beet packs

World Variety Produce Inc., Los Angeles, has introduced a packaged garbanzo bean product.

Garbanzo beans previously were targeted largely to the Hispanic market, said Robert Schueller, director of public relations.

The company is marketing a Melissa’s brand garbanzo bean item as “the next new edamame-type product.”

The company also has introduced a one-count steamed beet.

The product is similar to the multiple-count, baby steamed beets that the company introduced about seven years ago, Schueller said.



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