Ready Pac Names Fruit Division Head
Produce here has formed a new division, Ready Pac Fruit, to create a full line of precut fruits for retail and food service.
Chris Nelson, previously chief operating officer for the company, has been named president of the division. The fruit division is currently test-marketing precut melons, Nelson told SN. He said Ready Pac has attained a shelf-life of 10-12 days. The company is already looking towards its next category of precut fruit, citrus.
"Certainly, we hope to roll the program out by 1996," he said.
Ready Pac anticipates that it can build as much as $100 million in business in precut fruit, according to Dennis Gertmenian, chief executive officer of Ready Pac Produce. "We are convinced that fresh-cut fruit will generate at least $50-$100 million per year in business for us in the next few years if we immediately dedicate the necessary resources this exploding category deserves," he said.
"According to most industry experts, fresh-cut fruit is projected to be larger than fresh-cut salads and vegetables by the year 2000," Gertmenian said. "We have created the new Ready Pac Fruit Division to ensure our company's on-going leadership position in this exciting category."
"This is where precut vegetables were five years ago," Nelson said. "Retailers are clamoring for this type of product."
Besides acting as president of the fresh-cut fruit division, Nelson will retain his title of executive vice president of strategic planning, business development and research and development. Mike Broll, previously vice president of operations, will replace Nelson as chief operating officer.
Ready Pac currently has annual sales of over $140 million in fresh-cut salads and vegetables, according to the company.