Issue Spring 14
When it comes to serving customers in the Northeast with case-ready meat products, there are few companies that have the capabilities of AVA Companies. The company says its state-of-the-art facility on Long Island has become known as “the Meat Depot” because it serves as the center for many customers’ case-ready programs. It’s thanks to these capabilities that AVA Companies has become one of the leading suppliers of pork and beef products to independent retailers and club stores in and around New York City.
“Nassau County in New York’s Long Island may not seem a likely spot for an ultra-modern meat-processing facility, but behind a glass façade building, AVA Companies’ new plant is dedicated to changing the way East Coast operators improve their case-and-space management strategies,” the company says.
AVA Companies has been in business since 1984, when founder Albert Girgenti started servicing the New York City market with high-quality Canadian pork. “Starting from a regional van load a week, he has grown AVA into one of the leading companies in quality pork distribution, servicing customers nationwide and worldwide,” the company says.
“AVA, with a leading-edge in technology and experienced staff, both from the supply side and the retail operation side, have established a leadership position in cost efficiencies, distribution efficiencies and space management,” the company continues.
The company opened its new facility about two years ago, and it says the space gives it the capacity to handle needs other competitors can’t. This includes the ability to provide just-in-time delivery. “The plant, known as the ‘Meat Depot’ because of its role as a hub for operators looking to develop and supply signature case-ready programs, is equipped with the latest cutting and packaging technologies,” the company says. “With two pork production lines and two beef lines running simultaneously, the facility can process and deliver orders within two days.”
The facility’s lines are divided into separate production lines for beef and pork. Each protein has two production lines that can be expanded to four at times of increased demand, and at full capacity the facility can process and package nearly 2 million pounds of each per week.
“AVA is quickly becoming the adjunct backroom to the supermarket,” the company says.
The close working relationships AVA Companies has with its retailer and foodservice customers are no accident, according to the company. It says it is proud of the way it can handle virtually any requests for case-ready meats. “Our customers specify the product’s production and packaging requirements as they would prepare it in their meat department and we’ll do it that way,” the company says. “The relationship is truly a supplier-operator partnership. Our production facility was built to handle the various spec requirements from our operators.”
On the logistics side of the business, AVA Companies says it has the capabilities to be the most efficient option for customers to receive their products.
Wave of the Future
AVA Companies believes that case-ready meats, especially pork, will be the wave of the future for many retailers, and the evidence appears to bear that out. According to the company, nearly 40 percent of meat departments today have one or more case-ready programs, and more than 35 percent have some kind of a la carte meat case program.
“AVA wanted to be ready to grow because they saw pork demand continue to rival chicken,” the company says. “They knew pork would be the next protein to be pre-wrapped and brought to market as consistent as chicken. With meat cutters aging and shelves often sitting empty, case-ready solutions, led by pork, was a logical solution for the consumer meal planning.
“The AVA Meat Depot model performs for today and is built for the future with an operating strategy to take care of today’s meat-business needs,” the company explains. “AVA’s plan is to be prepared to meet demand as the meat department’s back rooms continue to mature beyond what meat cutters can provide.”