Greencore USA, a subsidiary of the U.K.-based Greencore Group, may be a young company but it already has found its place in the world. With a multi-tiered growth strategy including organic growth, acquisition and product development, Greencore USA has dug its heels in as a U.S. market mainstay with convenience store retailers.
Greencore USA was founded in 2008 with the purchase of Massachusetts-based Home Made Brand Foods, a maker of chilled convenience food such as sandwiches, salads and quiche. In 2010, it purchased On A Roll Sales Inc., also based in Massachusetts. Earlier this year, it completed the acquisitions of Marketfare Foods, giving it a presence in Virginia and Salt Lake City and expanding its product range with more sandwiches, sauces and frozen breakfast sandwiches. In June, it purchased H.C. Schau with facilities in Chicago and Florida where it produces deli fresh items, fresh-ready meals and sushi.
The acquisitions have solidified Greencore USA’s East Coast presence and given it an entry into the West Coast market. With every purchase, the company diversified its product range but CEO Liam McClennon explains that Greencore USA’s market focus is driven by a specific consumer trend.
“What we are seeing a lot is that people are eating more frequently, even if it’s smaller meals,” he says. “Three meals a day is fast disappearing; instead people may eat five, six times a day. They may have a quick breakfast at home or on the way to work and a mid-morning snack followed by a quick lunch or afternoon snack because they don’t have much time.
“And if there is not time to cook, they can do a quick an easy dinner on the way to home or at home,” McClennon adds. “People are increasingly time-poor and increasingly eating smaller things more often. That’s a big change in how people are eating.”
That’s why Greencore USA is focused on the food-to-go market. It makes a variety of foods – salads, sandwiches, snacks and sushi, for instance – that are easy, pre-made options for the busy, hungry consumer who still yearns for a quality meal. At each facility, the company has kept the product list largely the same since its acquisition but it has focused on developing them in a fresher way. The focus on fresh food also is the reason the company has tilted operations toward the East Coast. If it wants to gain a reputation as a fresh food provider, McClennon says its operations must be in proximity to its base.
“We’re seeing a demand for fresher food,” he says. “People think it tastes better and it is, in fact, better. So our organic growth is really driven by fresher products. It tastes better, looks better and is in more demand by the consumer. So we are increasingly focused on developing short-life products, such as sandwiches, where we make it today, deliver it today and it’s in the stores today.”
Going with the Trend
Because Greencore USA has tapped into market trends and devised a thorough strategy to meet that demand, it has added customers and increased the amount of product that it sells to those customers. With the backing of its U.K.-based parent, McClennon expects this growth to increase.
Greencore USA leverages a world-class supply chain and well-defined processes for safety and efficiency developed by the Greencore Group, which has been in foodservice since the early 1990s. McClennon explains this solid foundation allows Greencore USA to invest in innovation and to position itself as a grocery and convenience store partner, ensuring that as Greencore USA grows, its customers will grow as well.
“When you are in private label, you are not selling a brand,” he says. “You have to understand the retailer and the consumer and design and develop products for them and with them. It’s a very joined-up effort.
“Our customers make sure they understand the market and we do the same, but we also know how to design and develop product,” McClennon adds. “It’s very much a partnership approach to figure out what the customers needs and delivering it them in a fresh and quality way.”