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Fave Produce is looking to boost presence in U.S. market

By
John Groh, publisher

Fave Produce has been one of the largest supplier of ginger and garlic in the Canadian market for some time, and now the company is setting its sights to the south and is looking to boost its presence and name recognition in the United States.

Fave Produce, a division of S.T. Agri Global, was established in 2008, with headquarters in Middletown, NJ, according to Laurie Siderio, sales manager. Until recently, it has focused its business in Canada, and in fact has been the main supplier of fresh ginger and garlic to the largest supermarket chain in Canada for more than 10 years.

However, it has also been a key supplier of juice concentrate to one of the largest food companies in the U.S., she said.

“Currently, our commodity lineup is mainly ginger and garlic, in bulk, bagged and peeled, but we do supply some of our retailers with Chinese vegetables such as Bok Choy, cabbage and eggplant,” said Siderio. “We recently penetrated the U.S. market with our fresh produce, and we are aggressively working to expand in the United States.”

While Fave supplies only conventional product at this time, Siderio said the company places a great deal of emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility.

“We offer socially responsible packaging that is plant-based and compostable,” she said. “We have also partnered with NORFUND, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund owned by the Norwegian government, to help build sustainable agribusinesses in poor countries, thereby contributing to the economic and social development in those countries.”

Fave offers a year-round supply of both ginger and garlic, sourcing primarily from China, though it also imports ginger from South Africa and garlic from South America.

“We supply both raw product and processed, specifically peeled garlic,” she said. “But we are always exploring ways to grow and expand our offerings.”

As with most produce companies, Fave was faced with unprecedented challenges during the past two years, and it has had to adapt its business to overcome those challenges.

“Over all, we experienced growth during the pandemic, as customers cooked from home and looked for healthier alternatives,” said Siderio. “Because we are diversified in other countries, we were able to seamlessly cover the increased demand. As restrictions start to ease, we are seeing sales level off from 2020, but on average we are still ahead of pre-pandemic levels. A big part of that is because we are consistently tracking and monitoring these shifts to best manage our production and inventory to be able to meet our customers’ expectations.”

Siderio added that challenges have arisen from supply chain issues, and Fave has been able to mitigate some of those due to its strategic logistics planning, such as prescheduling to secure lower rates and on-time deliveries.

“We also have warehouses on both the East Coast and West Coast, so we can carry safety stock and ensure premium quality is shipped to our customers,” she said.

Of the current ginger market, Siderio said reserves have not yet been depleted, so there is a lot of product in the market at this time.

“We are adjusting cost with market trends as we exit the old crop and enter new crop arrivals in January,” she said. “One advantage we have over other ginger suppliers is that we have perfected our shipping technique and made improvements to our crates that are more conducive to higher-quality ginger with a longer shelf life.

“The new crop is projected to be 10 percent or more over the previous year, and if sea freight rates stabilize, then 2022 could be a good year for supply and costing,” she added.

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