(Aug. 5) IRWINDALE, Calif. — As Ready Pac Produce Inc. and Tanimura & Antle focus on integrating the latter’s Salad Time value-added business with Ready Pac’s, buyers probably won’t see immediate introductions of new products.
But they should start seeing current products get a much wider distribution.
The merger that brought the nation’s third and fourth largest fresh-cut salad producers together was completed Aug. 1, forming a new company called Ready Pac Foods that will do business as Ready Pac Produce.
Tanimura & Antle remains separate to focus on its fresh vegetable commodity growing and marketing programs.
With the merger complete, Ready Pac will, for example, be able to provide Salad Time’s Cool Cuts fresh-cut carrots and celery to a wider audience, said Bill Zinke, vice president of sales for Ready Pac.
Meanwhile Ready Pac can reach Tanimura & Antle customers with its European Style salads and Bistro to Go kits.
“Our first step now is to manage the integration of business,” Zinke said. “Step two is to look at current products and see which can benefit from better distribution and develop that. Step three is to look at how to take advantage of both companies’ innovations and develop new products.”
Cool Cuts are snack packages that feature Warner Bros. cartoon characters on the packaging and ranch dip to go with the carrots and either ranch or peanut butter to go with the celery.
Bugs Bunny is paired with the carrots, while Daffy Duck is teamed with the celery and peanut butter. The Tasmanian Devil is on the packaging for the celery and ranch dip.
TOP PRIORITIES REMAIN
Private-label salads and fresh-cut fruit will continue to be top priorities.
Rick Antle, chief executive officer of Tanimura & Antle, pointed out that opportunities for fresh-cut fruit continue to appear, and that Ready Pac already is finding success in nontraditional medleys.
“They’ve got fruit products in the marketplace already that are building,” Antle said. “They’re incorporating mangos, blueberries and strawberries. They’re going beyond just melons.”
Ready Pac’s Summer Splash fruit medley, which includes strawberries, is in its second season and has been a success, Zinke said.
Ready Pac is finding additional success introducing U.S. consumers to the world’s most popular fruit in its Mango Fandango medley. Mango Fandango is in its second season and features mango, gold pineapple and blueberries.
Under the merger, Ready Pac now owns four Tanimura & Antle processing facilities in:
- Jackson, Ga.
- Plymouth, Ind.
Ready Pac is using two additional facilities with which Tanimura & Antle had contracted.
The additional facilities give Ready Pac the opportunity to build upon its distribution base across North America.
Even in regions where a former Tanimura & Antle facility is near a Ready Pac operation, such as in Montreal, the two plants are complementary and don’t duplicate the other’s efforts, Antle said.
“The plant in Montreal for Ready Pac is a spring mix washing plant, and product is sent to other plants for processing. So having two plants there is actually complementary,” Antle said.
He said Tanimura & Antle already has begun handling some of Ready Pac’s fresh-cut load from its Los Angeles facility in Tanimura & Antle’s Salinas plant.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. But in the merger of Salad Time with Ready Pac, the Tanimura & Antle families became stockholders in Ready Pac.
Rick Antle joined Ready Pac’s board of directors. The senior officers of Ready Pac are:
- Dennis Gertmenian, chairman.
- Larry Kern, president and chief executive officer.
- Craig Delaney, executive vice president and chief financial officer.