Neil Millman, chief executive officer for I Love Produce in Kelton, PA, told The Produce News that the company is very excited about the remainder of 2011.
“The market for our organic products continues to grow and our company is also growing,” said Mr. Millman. “The organic fresh ginger deal out of Peru is increasing, and we’re now just switching into the new crop. The quality, price and shelf life of this product is a big unqualified winner. Also, we have ginger from other growing areas in the United States as well as from other countries.”
I Love Produce is a combination wholesaler-grower that has handled organic produce for about a decade. Besides ginger, its organic line includes fresh garlic. The company’s customers are independent, small chain and major chain retailers, wholesalers, distributors, foodservice operations and industrial operations. It distributes across the country. Mr. Millman is joined in managing the firm by Jim Provost, president of the company.
“As usual, our lines of loose and specialty packaged fresh garlic, peeled garlic and our original line of ginger and garlic products in glass jars continues to grow,” said Mr. Millman. “We’ve become the de facto leaders in food safety, price and quality in this category since establishing the product line several years ago. Our policy of transparency and education has paid off over the years. People in the business know they can trust our products to be the very best in the market all year round and at the right price. And, we’re moving into the new crop, which provides exciting opportunities.”
He added that the market knows that the company’s fresh loose garlic is available year round from the current crop. It is currently moving into the domestic season, and Mr. Millman said this year promises to best in recent memory.
“Size and supply will not be an issue this year as it has sometimes been in the past,” he said. “Last year supply was tight and prices moved up in response. Prices should remain stable throughout.”
He added that what ultimately differentiates I Love Produce in the market is its customer service and innovative mix of products within the category.
“We also set the market price realistically so that our customers have room to make a nice margin,” he said. “We always stand behind our products. And, our products are always fairly valued as we share market information with our customers so they can share that information with their customers.”
He acknowledged that many Americans are hurting in the current economy, and feels that it’s incumbent on everyone in the organic food industry to ensure that there is a fresh, safe and economical supply of healthy organic produce available so that consumers have a healthy choice for their diets.
“We have a few exciting ‘irons in the fire’ for the upcoming year,” said Mr. Millman, “but the deals are not buttoned up yet. We’ll be announcing them when they are.
“At I Love Produce, we’re having a lot of fun doing what we do in the organic market,” he added.