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Clifford Produce expands product line and locations

Anthony Totta, marketing consultant for Clifford Produce in Leamington, ON, told The Produce News that the company will be featuring its Eco trays, multiple varieties of cucumbers and super cherry Fusion tomatoes at the New York Produce Show & Conference in New York City in November.

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Clifford Produce’s ‘Paysanne’ brand baby seedless cucumbers.

“The ‘Fusion’ tomato item is a one-pound clamshell of small, sweet, salad tomatoes, often referred to as super cherries,” explained Mr. Totta. “It provides an extra layer of food safety at the retail end by eliminating handling of the product. The item is being well received in Canada, and in the Northeast and Midwest U.S. Consumers are using them to create colorful salads as well as for grilling. They are great for making shish kabobs.”

Clifford Produce is looking forward to the second time it has exhibited at the New York Produce Show. The company will be at Booth 1101.

“Last year’s show was great,” said Mr. Totta. “We met up with several good and long-term distribution partners, and we met new retailers. We’re pretty much satisfied with the timing of the show. If it were held any later, it would conflict with holiday business.”

Clifford Produce’s customer list includes small and large retail chains, independent grocers, wholesalers, distributors and foodservice operations, but the majority of its product goes to retailers. All its products are distributed across North America.

The company takes food safety seriously and attained its GlobalGAP certification this year.

It also takes a strong stand on sustainability, perceiving the earth as a wellspring of goodness, and that what is reaped is what is sown. Clifford Produce strives to give back to the earth at least as much as what it gives to the company. Its sustainability practices are evident in its product development and packaging, its use of organic fertilizers, its use and reuse of water, its reduction in paper use, the design of its greenhouse buildings and its alternative fuel consumption.

Clifford Produce is a pacesetter in its packaging. It is using biodegradable trays, flow-through breathable films and corrugated display units that allow its retail partners to introduce the new package designs without having to reset their produce departments.

Mr. Totta said that the company added a new key employee this year. “Arthur O’Leary joined us this year at our Boston location,” said Mr. Totta. “We are very happy to have him on the team. Also, Steve Probstfield, the head of our business-development team, joined us last year. He is a great complement to our organization.”

Mr. Probstfield is a produce industry veteran with more than 40 years of experience working with fresh fruits and vegetables. Prior to joining Clifford Produce, he was the chief operating officer of NationFresh LLC. Prior to NationFresh, he spent 36 years with Sunkist Growers Inc. in various managerial roles, including director of foodservice sales.

The company will soon be shipping from a new state-of-the-art facility in McAllen, TX. It also has facilities in Boston; Kansas City; Springfield, MO; and Romulus, MI; and it plans to add more locations in the future.

The company works closely with retailers to develop educational tools that are built into its merchandising techniques. “These include programs that enhance the information they put into their promotional circulars,” said Mr. Totta. “We can also provide links to retailers’ web sites through our site so consumers who visit us can learn more about the retailers with which they shop.”

The company ships under the “Paysane” label.

“We at Clifford Produce are long-term thinkers,” said Mr. Totta. “The integrity of our product is maintained throughout the supply chain to ensure reduced shrink. This adds an economic value to doing business with Clifford Produce. We provide suppliers with the knowledge of where shipments are at all times. Our cool chain accountability shows how well temperatures are maintained throughout the entire supply chain.

“We are very happy to have started our newly expanded winter deal this year,” Mr. Totta continued. “Our goal is to be even more consistent with variety, quality and competitiveness this year.”