West Pak Avocado Inc. has completed its relocation from Temecula, CA, to a new 115,000-square-foot facility in Murrieta, about four miles from the company’s previous location.
“This facility is our company headquarters and also houses packing, bagging, ripening and distribution facilities,” according to Doug Meyer vice president of sales and marketing. “It is going to be a nice compliment to the California crop” for the season just getting under way.
The new facility features “an entirely new packingline, which we are very excited about because it has possible “several advancements in the handling, grading, sizing and packing of avocados.” One improvement in the new line is “the way the fruit is introduced onto the packingline,” Mr. Meyer said. A new continuous bin tipper dumps the avocados onto the line in “the most careful way possible that is available in the industry today. A high-tech computer and camera system known as the InVision system handles the grading, by complex mappings aimed to determine color, shape, and the blemish of our avocados as they travel through the production process.”
The packingline is also “setup for the most careful and efficient way possible to pack the avocados into the various packs,” he said in the statement.
“We have fully integrated our produce traceability system into the new line,” he added. “Innovation has always been one of the core strengths of our company, and our PTI system is a great example of this.”
In the new facility, “we have also expanded our bagging and our ripening capabilities, as those two areas continue to grow for us,” Mr. Meyer said. “We are seeing increasing demand for value added products such as bags and custom pack configurations, so we are well suited to be able to handle those types of increases in demand with this new facility.”
The facility provides West Pak with expanded distribution and shipping capabilities, with “several more dock doors” than the previous facility as well as additional personnel, he said. “That allows for improved truck service levels whether for receiving loads of fruit from the groves or loading our valued customer’s trucks.”
The added capacity provided by the new facility “is nice to have now,” Mr. Meyer said, but it also “is really setting us up for continued growth” as West Pak’s market share within the industry continues to grow.
The most important thing for West Pak is the company’s “commitment to our customers,” he said. “We feel very positive about being able to meet our customers’ requirements and not only to be able to be able to supply them with premium avocados but to work with them to help grow their category through exciting promotions throughout the season” and through category management of their avocado program.
“Our crop is another good-sized crop for California this season,” Mr. Meyer said. Industry-wide, the California avocado crop is estimated at around 515 million pounds, “just slightly larger than last year’s crop,” he said. “Early eating quality is very good for the Hass avocados here in California.” At West Pak, “we are excited to get started. We will be starting in March with weekly volume increasing each week during the month.”
West Pak has “lots of exciting promotions lined up for the California season,” he said. “We are tying promotions with our customers around major holidays and also major events; for example, March Madness, Easter, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day. So with a good crop, and getting started in March, we are going to have good opportunities to supply our customers and support them with promotions for all of those major events” during the California season.