It’s no secret things are changing rapidly in the organic fresh food industry, with a bounty of disruptors and technological advancements marching into fields, markets and consumer expectations.
Now a consortium of experts have come together to address the evolving needs of the fresh food industry, offering a broad range of solutions in operations, marketing, sales, merchandising, governance, strategic planning, supply chain, e-commerce, and social media.
The nine-person FreshXperts team brings over 230 years of combined experience to the table, with expertise in everything needed to grow and flourish in the organic fresh produce arena.
FreshXperts founder Anthony J. Totta saw a need to bring together a team of fresh produce leaders and experts in areas ranging from supply chain management to retailer merchandising to branding. “There are many consultants that range in areas of expertise and experience. Our group has extensive real-world experience and collectively a large network of contacts to help our clients succeed,” he said.
Anthony J. Totta, Founder, FreshXperts
One major area of focus for FreshXperts is marketing strategies for producers. Totta said growers/shippers and processors recognize that traditional f.o.b. sales have gone by the wayside and new strategies and tactics re required.
Ricardo Crisantes, chief commercial officer at Wholesum Harvest, one of the largest and most influential organic companies in North America, utilized the FreshXperts to envision a new brand for the company.
“I worked with Anthony Totta and Mike Sherivino. They help me re-brand my company from Cris-P Produce to Wholesum Harvest. They did their homework and got the essence of our company to craft an image that reflected the values and vision of the company. From graphic design, videography and event planning. FreshXperts pulled from different resources to deliver a complete package," Cristantes said.
According to Totta, today’s producer must work to offer key insights for retail decision makers and offer supply chain solutions. “The days of ‘quotes, quotes and more quotes’, and hoping for purchase orders are a thing of the past. Win-win relationship matter and create opportunities that are sustainable," Totta said.
As an example, Totta pointed one of FreshXperts success stories. “In recent years we put together a grower network of warm vegetable producers to offer a major wholesaler year-round, 52-week consistent quality and supply. We created improvements to the brands look, feel, and visibility that has brought 20-30 percent growth consistently year after year,” he said.
FreshXperts even have a mergers and acquisitions expert. Eric Bosveld is the newest FreshXperts and brings over 30 years of expertise in mergers, acquisitions, and capital investments.
According to Bosveld, who also leads the merger and acquisition practice in the food and agribusiness sector for SDR Ventures, interest in M&A activity in the produce industry remains robust, driven in part by high profile deals like Del Monte’s purchase of Mann Packing earlier this year for $361 million and Bonduelle’s acquisition of Ready Pac Foods for $409 million in 2017.
“Strategically, many firms are using M&A as a means to penetrate new markets, diversify product offerings, enhance margins, stabilize year-round supply and accelerate growth,” Bosveld said.
FreshXperts also recently added Paul Grothe who has valuable supply chain negotiation experience for multi-unit food service chains business.