Issue Fall 10
Snacking is an activity often equated with junk food, but it does not have to be. SunRidge Farms produces a line of healthy snack products specially formulated for the dietary needs of specific market segments. The company includes ingredients in its health mixes for men, women and children that supplement their daily dietary intake of vitamins and minerals.
Woman’s Vitality Mix includes dried fruits, nuts and chocolate chips enriched with calcium. “One ounce of the Woman’s Vitality Mix provides 60 percent of the daily needs for calcium and 10 percent of the daily needs of iron,” asserts Mark Devencenzi, national sales director. “It’s been well-documented that women need to maintain their intake of calcium.”
For the Omega-3 Men’s Energy Mix, SunRidge Farms includes dried cranberries enhanced with Omega-3 and walnuts naturally rich in Omega-3. An All Natural Antioxidant Mix features dried cherries, blueberries, cranberries, dark chocolate, walnuts and almonds. SunRidge Farms also is developing mixes for children, dieters and students and is researching the optimal nutritional aspects of a potential athlete’s mix. A new item the company will introduce this fall is All Natural Chocolate Rainbow Drops™. SunRidge Farms uses organic ingredients as much as possible, and natural analogs when they are not available organically.
The company’s products are sold in bulk and packaged nationwide and also online, although Founder and President Morty Cohen notes that online sales still are small. In general, natural and organic bulk food sales increased by 10 percent last year, Devencenzi reports.
The company has a fleet of 17 refrigerated trucks that run on biodiesel and distribute its products from its central California coastal facilities throughout its home state. Beyond those local borders, the company sells direct and works through others to distribute its products nationwide to grocers including Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Safeway, Kroger and Supervalu.
In California, the company works with major independent chains, natural and organic food stores, and convenience stores on a complete natural bulk foods program. “We provide the equipment, the service and the expertise to work with them on the product mix,” Cohen explains. “We also ensure that the bins and the racks themselves are cleaned, stocked and rotated, and new products are introduced as they come along.” SunRidge Farms offers 1,000 organic and all-natural bulk food items.
The company has bulk displays with its name and logo that are self-contained and free-standing, with gravity dispensers on top and bulk bins below. It also has branded pegged racks for its packaged products that can be combined with the bulk products unit and also moved around the store to different locations for impulse buying. SunRidge Farms offers its products in bulk, bags and tub packs.
SunRidge Farms manufactures many of its products in a SQF 2000-certified facility. Dried fruit and nuts are covered with chocolate, yogurt or other naturally flavored coatings, pretzels are enrobed, nuts are roasted and/or glazed, trail mixes are blended and bars are made on cold tables. The company also is an environmental steward in its operations.
Approximately 70 percent of its 80,000 square-foot distribution center is powered by 99-kilowatt solar panels on its roof, and solar energy is planned for the rest of its 160,000-square-foot facility in Pajaro. The company says it recycles its office supplies, uses low-flow plumbing fixtures and purifies its air ventilation system.
Employees receive $5 each time they bike to the family-owned company. A workout room with weights, treadmills and stationary bicycles is provided for employees along with a yoga room for meditation. Ping-pong and a pool table are available for recreation.
“We just try to be the best and come up with products that are innovative, creative, attractive, health-beneficial and considerate and respectful of the environment from which they came,” Cohen concludes. “Some people say they’re thinking out of the box – we don’t even think of a box. We just do what we do.”