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Although a healthy bottom line is important, Green says it sometimes seems half of the employees are trying to donate money and resources to support the environment and fight hunger. Green champions the donation of money, product or time to more than 200 organizations around the country. The company also delivers some 175,000 lbs. of potatoes to food banks in Oregon. “We certainly don’t want to curb our people’s unconventional enthusiasm to make a difference,” Green adds.
Healy and his son took a six-week motorcycle sabbatical in Europe in 1987 to research European specialty food markets, and found a unique niche for their hand-cooked chips. A sister operation was founded in Norwich, UK, and production began in 1988. Kettle products have distribution in all 50 states, as well as Canada, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Guam and Western Europe.
After outgrowing its original facility in 1999, a 60,000-sq.-ft. facility was built in Salem at a site along Mill Creek, next to a beautiful stream and wetlands. Employee volunteers led an effort to restore a nearly two-acre wetland system, which improved environmental conditions, prompting the return of nesting herons and other wildlife.
“We feel it’s important to help people cultivate values that are about integrity, respect, honesty and love,” says Green. “We’ve found that the workplace is a great environment to demonstrate this.”
To meet increasing demand, production at Kettle’s flagship facility in Salem, Ore., is getting a boost next month from a $2 million investment in new fryers, expanding the plant's capacity by 30 percent. Production capacity has tripled since 1999, resulting in job growth of 112 percent. Kettle Foods currently employs 280 people at its Salem facility, compared to 132 in 1999.
Kettle Foods recently announced it would expand to meet demand on the East Coast by building a facility with 70,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Beloit, Wis. Critical to the company's decision is the fact that Beloit is centrally located in one of the strongest Russet Burbank potato growing regions in the Midwest. Ground breaking is slated in April, and when production begins toward the end of the year, the plant is expected to process 50 million lbs. of Russet potatoes a year, boosting overall company production by 50 percent.
We've experienced double-digit growth consistently over the past 10 years, fueled by the great taste of our Kettle brand Potato Chips," says Tim Fallon, president/GM North America. "Demand is particularly high in the East Coast where consumers still struggle to find our products on store shelves. Building a plant in Beloit allows us to keep pace with demand while reducing the environmental impact of fuel and distribution."
Not only will the plant's location help cut down on fuel use and cost, the new facility will be built to environmentally sensitive standards. Kettle Foods has been working with A. Epstein and Sons International of Chicago to evaluate suitable locations for the facility, as well as plan for its design, construction and sustainable business practices.
Tropicana and Minute Maid may dominate the juice market, but Naked Juice Co., Azusa, Calif., is riding high on the growing superpremium juice segment of the $14 billion healthy and new age beverage category (ready-to-drink iced teas, sports drinks, bottled water, fresh and refrigerated superpremium juices). This category experienced an estimated 18 percent compound annual growth rate since 1991, nearly seven times that of the overall beverage industry. And the $640 million superpremium juice category grew 42 percent last year and is projected to hit $1.4 billion by 2008.
Prompted by both a revised food pyramid and waves of research calling for more fruit and vegetable consumption for disease prevention and overall health, interest in the superpremium juice category is soaring. Nutrition-savvy consumers are coveting pure, unadulterated (and sometimes exotic) juices, especially those believed to promote elasticity of the arteries, better blood flow and healthy cholesterol levels.
Company strategy is simple but effective. Naked Juice encourages consumers to get rid of their inhibitions and “Get Naked,” albeit metaphorically, by consuming its all-natural, preservative-free (“naked”) fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies and superfoods drinks enhanced with protein, vitamins or herbs. According to Information Resources Inc. data, the company generates the highest amount of sales per store and enjoys the highest brand loyalty in the superpremium juice category.
|Naked Juice makes it easy for juice-lovers and juice newbies alike to pick among inventive flavors to match a spectrum of lifestyle needs. It divides its products into functional categories so consumers can easily choose the right drink for specific nutritional benefits.
More than two decades after its 1983 founding, Naked Juice is thriving as a national brand that delivers unique flavor combinations and highest quality. “Each 15.2-oz. bottle delivers on the ‘pound’ promise, with a pound of bare-naked fruits, no added sugar and no preservatives,” says Hicks. “That translates to more than two servings of fruit and vegetables per day.”
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