Food & Drink International - Spring 2017 Volume 1 - 99
relationship by merging the businesses into one company,
Premier ProduceOne, with distribution centers in Cleveland,
Columbus and Dayton. "The idea of putting our companies
together was to provide a statewide solution with a local
feel," Erv Pavlofsky says.
The merger created a single food distributor capable of
covering all 88 counties in Ohio plus many border counties
in West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana. That footprint is expected to grow in the coming years as Premier ProduceOne
explores expanding to Pennsylvania and Michigan.
With a larger market, Premier ProduceOne can leverage
its customer base to secure more products and better adapt
to emerging food trends. "We have become a full-service
produce and specialty food company," Anselmo says.
In all, the company offers nearly 5,000 products, from
basic potatoes to smoked sea salts and minerals and gluten-free breads. "I like to say we have the greatest pantry in
the state of Ohio," Anselmo says.
Premier ProduceOne prides itself its range of foodservice
customers. Anselmo says the company is large enough to
provide for Ohio's college campuses and healthcare dining
services, but can still operate on a local level to suit individual restaurants or grocery store deli departments. "We serve
everybody who cares about food," Anselmo says. "From our
smallest café and catering companies to some of the largest
arenas in the states."
A restaurant can have a cut of pork or a fine fish, but protein alone does not make a dish until it's combined with truffle mashed potatoes or another produce item. "Until we get
to the plate it's just a piece of meat," Anselmo says.
Access to information has made consumers more educated about health and wellness than ever before. The desire
to eat healthier has increased the prominence of produce in
"There are more creative ways to use fruits and vegetables than ever before," Pavlofsky says.
chain so that if an issue arises it can be tracked back to the
field it was picked within hours, Anselmo says.
The benefits of technology don't end with food safety. In
2015, Premier ProduceOne was the first food distributor in
Ohio to roll out an ordering app for smart phones. Chefs can
now look at their account history and past purchases and
use the app to easily place new orders while reviewing current stock. The app is an example of how technology is used
in the foodservice industry to improve the customer experience. "Make sure you are keeping up with the bells and
whistles to make it as easy as possible," Pavlofsky says.
Technology is helping Premier ProduceOne become even
more indispensable to its customers, but the company is in
no hurry to expand its services outside of Ohio. Instead, it
prefers to grow by reaching more clients within the Ohio
market and increasing its capabilities. "Where we see our
greatest opportunity for growth is looking at new product
lines and new opportunities in something like new production facilities that would include processing facilities and a
USDA kitchen," Pavlofsky says.
Ensuring a high-quality and safe product in today's food
distribution market means being able to quickly identify the
source of every item sold. Over the past few years, Premier
ProduceOne has invested millions of dollars in software,
technology and hardware to improve traceability and create
secure facilities and trucks.
"Traceability" is a hot word right now in the food industry, but Anselmo says it is not simply a trend for Premier
ProduceOne, but rather integral to the fibers that bind the
company. Every product is scanned throughout the supply
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