Southern Specialties is growing with major facility expansion
Mouth-watering, value-added gourmet produce is not the only thing growing at Southern Specialties these days. The Pompano Beach, FL-based firm is also seeing a growth spurt in its corporate plant.
“We are excited to be preparing for our fifth facility expansion,” said Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development. “In the coming months we will be adding an additional 50,000 feet of warehouse space. The expansion will add another 12 doors and provide for expanded Southern Selects production, as well as a fresh-cut operation geared toward both foodservice and retail customers.”
Southern Specialties’ location is one of the factors behind the expansion.
“As driver laws become more and more restrictive, we find our Pompano Beach location has advantages over more southerly locations,” Eagle said. “Drivers can save hours by loading at our facility and we are minutes from all of the corridors leading out from Florida. Customers are also welcome to take advantage of our consolidation services, enabling the most efficient pick-ups.”
Southern Specialties is becoming more popular because its value-added Southern Selects brand allows consumers to serve their families restaurant quality produce at home, in a matter of minutes. Items under the Southern Selects label include asparagus, asparagus tips, French green beans, sugar snap peas, snow peas, baby carrots, rainbow carrots, shelled English peas and baby zucchini. Southern Specialties has been a leader in the specialty produce arena since 1990.
“We understand the importance of maintaining the cold chain and moving product efficiently,” Eagle said. On the retail level, some of that is accomplished through packaging. “Packaging offers significant value to the customers,” Eagle noted. “In addition to helping extend shelf life and reducing handling, packaging can tell a story about the product inside. Websites, preparation and recipes, nutritional information, scan and trace information and best by dates can all be incorporated onto the container. All this helps keep the consumer safer and better connected to the product and the source.”
Packaging can also assist the retailer in their job of teaching the consumer about different types of produce, and how to prepare and eat them. As consumers become more educated about gourmet and exotic produce they are more apt to try them, Eagle pointed out.
“Retailers need to expose and educate their shoppers to the products. This starts with empowering buyers and produce managers by providing them with knowledge about the product in the market,” Eagle said. “Also, let consumers know how to prepare and enjoy those products. It is also a good idea to include them in the company’s foodservice and home meal sectors.”