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C&C Produce’s Cool Creations are a value-added standout

Cool Creations is a hot-ticket item, and retailers are increasingly using the value-added line offered by C&C Produce to distinguish themselves in the produce department. Nick Conforti, John Conforti and Nick Cali are the company’s owners. Nick Conforti said Cool Creations was added to the company’s offerings two-and-a-half years ago and continues to build its reputation as a fresh produce innovator in the Kansas City region.

Fresh-cut and value-added items represent a growth area for the repacker, which is headquartered in North Kansas City, MO. The company began operations as a produce wholesaler in 1992. Today C&C Produce has a 200,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility with 34 dock doors and a delivery fleet of 41 trucks, which are climate controlled and GPS monitored. Fresh produce is sourced from nationally recognized brands and labels.

“We are a one-stop shop,” he said. “There isn’t anything we can’t do. We are constantly challenging ourselves.”

CCProduceC&C Produce delivers a full array of fresh produce to customers in all market sectors. “We have developed a packaged program that has helped retailers increase their sales by 18 percent, while reducing shrink by 8 percent,” the company’s website states. “C&C Produce’s repack program also has the ability to rework produce for growers-shippers.”

Fresh produce is carefully stored and monitored to ensure optimum freshness. The facility houses 10 separate coolers. Temperature and humidity levels are constantly maintained, allowing C&C Produce to store produce under optimum conditions.

Mr. Conforti said the company continues to make warehouse improvements. “Right now, 100,000 square feet are getting brand-new refrigeration,” he said.

“One of the things that’s unique is how much value-added we can provide,” Mr. Conforti told The Produce News. The company approaches merchandising for its Cool Creations in visually exciting ways, combining color, textures and eye-catching packaging. To illustrate, Mr. Conforti said, “We do an apple and cheese tray. It gives the [produce department] a real pop.” Another value-added standout is chocolate-dipped strawberries, which are very popular for Valentine’s Day.

“We’re building a flavor profile,” Mr. Conforti said of the Cool Creations line. “We are giving consumers confidence with their eating experience each and every time.”

C&C Produce has also partnered with Vanscoy Industries to package Fiesta Garden Fresh Salsa. “We’re doing most of the packaging for the Kansas City area,” Mr. Conforti stated.

The company also provides overwrap service to retailers who are promoting the Pick 5 program, which enables consumers to buy five packages of healthy fresh produce for $10.

For the past six years, C&C has offered a full fresh pack for potatoes and onions. “We’ve never packed more,” Mr. Conforti commented. Five- and 10-pound bags, master bags and full bins are available. “It’s been tremendously successful,” he commented.

The company has added two additional people to its food-safety team. “They’re doing absolutely great,” he went on to say. The company’s foodservice sales doubled in the past year. C&C Produce is BRC third-party audited, and Mr. Conforti said the company passed the audit the first time around. “We did it with flying colors,” he stated.

C&C Produce is also a member of ICIX, a collaborative network allowing businesses to share business information. Mr. Conforti said companies that have been successfully audited are then placed on an approved list. Business is conducted smoothly and confidently as a result.

He credits C&C’s high level of service and accountability to its employees. “We go the extra yard to train our people,” Mr. Conforti noted.