The long-term economic slump has meant that companies like C&C get sales in different ways.
Sales of organic and other high-end items may be down, but value-item sales are thriving, Conforti said.
“When retailers are running ads, ads are doing better than they used to.”
Staples have also done well. Take potatoes, which C&C repacks.
“There’s been a tremendous increase in potato sales,” Conforti said.
Put Conforti in the camp of people who think that First Lady Michele Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, the efforts of the Produce for Better Health Foundation and other nutritional pushes have increased demand for fresh fruits and vegetables.
“People have a view that eating healthy is a priority, and it’s just a part of their way of life now,” he said.
Conforti compares the healthful eating campaigns of today with anti-smoking campaigns of years past.
Those campaigns worked, he said. And 15 years from now, he thinks people will look back at the efforts by the First Lady and others and think, “That worked, too — kids are eating more produce.”
More and more of that produce will be locally grown, Conforti said. Local sales continue to increased for C&C.
The company packed significantly more potatoes grown in Kansas and Missouri this summer, he said.
“With freight what it is, it created cost savings,” Conforti said of the big local spud deals.