Felbro

Issue Spring 15


For nearly 70 years, diversity has been key for family owned Felbro. With more than 600 different types of items, “We’re not a typical food company,” COO Daniel Feldmar says.

Thanks to its product diversity, Felbro often acts as a one-stop shop to its clients. “People can come to one source and get many of their foodservice needs met, instead of going to different companies,” Feldmar says.

Based in Los Angeles, Felbro manufactures beverage bases, syrups, mixes and fillings, savory sauces and dressings, dessert sauces and toppings, soup bases, and colors, flavors and extracts. Brothers Maury and Sid Feldmar started the company in 1946 to serve local fast-food chains and distributors with pre-made products.

Today, Felbro serves many co-packing, private-label and custom-manufacturing clients. Although its clients might be well-known, Felbro tends to keep a low profile, Vice President of Manufacturing Joey Meller says. “We purposely try to stay under the radar like a silent partner,” he states.

But the company still has earned “strong word-of-mouth” from its clients, Daniel Feldmar asserts. “We are definitely the go-to supplier for customers in many of the areas where we function,” he declares.

Maintaining Brands
Felbro has grown over the years through acquisition. Usually, “We’ve bought people going out of business or with product lines we’re more interested in,” Meller describes.

Recently, the company acquired Marsa, which is a manufacturer of nutritional products, including diabetic puddings, gelatins and cake for the hospital industry, Feldmar says. But Felbro was not interested in stripping the company of its identity.

Instead, “We let them keep their name alive, not just letting their company disappear,” he describes. “It maintained their customers and their brand.”

Going Natural
Felbro’s customers have expressed interest in buying more all-natural, gluten-free, non-GMO and organic products. “Those are things that we’re working on implementing,” Feldmar says.

But the process can be complicated, he admits. “We have to source all new raw materials, reformulate products and come up with new, innovative ways to achieve a similar end-result,” he says.

In addition, it is more difficult for natural products to achieve shelf stability without the use of preservatives. “But that is where our high level of quality control and use of data comes in to help us achieve a similar result,” Feldmar says.

He adds that Felbro has achieved certification from Safe Quality Foods under the Global Food Safety Initiative. “We carefully review each and every process and have an accompanying HACCP [Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points] plan,” he states.

Ready to Serve
Felbro has maintained longtime relationships with many of its clients. “We’ve been doing business with some customers for 25 years,” Feldmar says, noting that the company manages this by remaining agile.

“We just have a very quick reaction to their needs,” he says. “If they need something produced, we’ve been able to engineer it very quickly so they don’t have a break in their service to their customers.”

Felbro keeps well supplied with superior products, Feldmar says. “At the end of the day, quality is very important to us,” he states. “We don’t take shortcuts to save some money.”

The Family Business
Felbro’s ownership has nurtured a family oriented environment, Feldmar says. “It’s not highly corporate,” he says, noting that the company enjoys high employee retention. “Most people have been here 15 or 20 years.”

The company, in turn, takes good care of its employees with 401(k) and profit-sharing programs, as well as full health benefits.

“We do a lot,” he says. “In our industry, we’d probably be on the high level of benefits.”

As Felbro gets closer to its 70th anniversary in 2016, it wants the family ownership to continue and to move into new markets, Feldmar says. “[We want to grow] maybe a little bit more in the retail, private-label area, but also remain a strong supplier to other manufacturers,” he says. “That’s where we see our growth.”

 


Felbro