Though trade shows might be on pause, the Deli Market News team has many a memory from events in years prior to hold us over until our industry’s schedule picks back up again. It was actually at a Fancy Food Show where I first met Brad Bennett, Founder and CEO of Pacific Pickle Works, who I recently sat down to chat with about how the past couple of months have altered his company’s business. Spoiler alert: The changes Pacific Pickle Works is undergoing are why the company continues to stand tall as an industry pioneer in our book.
“It has no doubt been an interesting time for us during the COVID-19 outbreak. We have actually seen unprecedented growth in our business in recent months—some pandemic-related and some just due to the convergence of new business opportunities at this time. In fact, in the begining of this year just prior to the pandemic, our distribution footprint had expanded,” Brad revealed to me. “Where previously we were only available through Tony’s and one UNFI distribution center (DC) in Moreno Valley, we are now available in all of UNFI’s West Coast DCs and through KeHE’s Stockton, California, DC.”
Pacific Pickle Works has also begun distribution with CHEX Finer Foods on the East Coast, bringing its range of pickled vegetables to all The Fresh Market’s stores—and I am told there are several more exciting placements planned through CHEX for this year on the East Coast. This expanded distribution footprint will help the specialty foods operator continue to carve out its niche amongst consumer demand.
“Like many companies, not only have we seen a surge of grocery buying, we are also seeing direct-to-consumer numbers that far exceeded what we expect to see during the holidays. Fortunately, we have a pretty solid fulfilment capability between our own fulfilment operations and through Amazon’s so that we are able to keep up with volume,” Brad explained. “As a result of this increase in sales, we have shifted some of our energy toward thinking about new types of mail-order packaging to up the game of our brand image and to find packaging that results in less damage while being more efficient to pack from a labor standpoint.”
Prior to this year’s Winter Fancy Food Show, Pacific Pickle Works also dipped its toe into co-packing, which Brad noted is still going quite well for the company.
“Our co-packing business has helped us take on a number of brands, both start-ups and some established. As we push into 2020 and look to 2021, we continue to be approached with lots of opportunities to manufacture, and this will be a big driver of growth for us moving forward,” Brad shared with me. “We are bursting at the seams in our current manufacturing facility and, as a result, we are beginning to look at moving into larger digs. In addition, we’re adding more equipment to handle a more diverse line of products and to optimize our existing production for the purpose of increasing volume and reducing unit costs.”
With plans like Pacific Pickle Works’ waiting to be fulfilled, we here at Deli Market News can only say that we are buckling up for the ride ahead as specialty food companies continue to take challenges and turn them into industry opportunities. As these companies do so, keep tuning in for more of the latest from DMN.