When Olga Loizon began selling her trademark Greek-style sandwiches out of a small kiosk in a Birmingham, Mich., shopping mall in 1970, she knew the combination of seasoned, broiled beef and lamb topped with onions, tomatoes and tangy “Olgasauce” – and wrapped in her secret-recipe “Olga bread” – would quickly earn a fan following. But what she didn’t know was that Olga’s Kitchen would evolve into a chain of 34 successful restaurants in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois with two more under construction. 

What started as a small family-owned operation developing products for the animal feed industry, has seen great growth. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Kemin Industries and its group of companies commercialize ingredients for a wide range of industries from foods, pet foods and agriculture to nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. Still a family venture, the company operates in more than 60 countries with manufacturing facilities located worldwide.

There are certain words that are used so frequently in marketing that they almost lose their meaning. In the food industry, one of those words is “fresh,” which is used to describe so many different products that the meaning of the word has been diluted to the point that it means nothing more to many people than “not frozen.” On the other side of the coin, however, are the companies of Fresh From the Start Brands – Hapco Farms, Powerhouse Produce and Freshouse.

For better or worse, America has excelled at making food faster – whether it’s drive-thru fast food, microwave popcorn or the logistics that make fresh produce at supermarkets possible. Now that we have the “fast” part more or less figured out, it’s time to focus on the “food” half of the equation. Greencore USA Inc. is focused on delivering food to retailers that not only is convenient for consumers on the go, but also is fresh and high quality. 

According to the old adage, comparing apples to oranges is a no-no. Everyone knows the best results come from comparing apples to apples. In the case of Duane McCoy, however, it is not apples that he markets, it is Big Slice™ Apple Sauce; and he is happy to have his brand recognized in today’s market. Armed with his grandmother’s recipe, McCoy used apple sauce to build the Grandma Hoerner’s brand, which is 25 years old and has vast growth potential.

With aseptic packaging instead of cans and bottles, a future that would require little garbage-stack­ing robots like the ones in the computer-animated movie “Wall-E” might not be necessary. “We have got to get out of glass and cans for lifecycle reasons, logistical reasons and nutritional reasons,” President Roger Hoffman insists. “Everything is going that way and we’re seeing more and more aseptically packaged food whether in a box, pouch or food service package. The economic and the nutritional advantages make this inevitable.”

Picking up dairy products frequently is a necessity to obtain farm-fresh products, especially when the milk is delivered to the store within 48 hours of its production. Offering other merchandise like groceries, chips, cigarettes, beer and wine makes stopping at a convenience store true to its name. Dari Mart Stores Inc. is a local institution in southern Willamette Valley, which is within 20 miles of Eugene, Ore. For 45 years, the stores have been selling milk and other dairy products with a freshness its competitors cannot rival. The company’s line includes milk, ice cream, blueberries and filberts raised on its farm.

Junki Yoshida believes great success can come even at times of great struggle. In Yoshida’s case, an economic recession nearly 20 years ago led directly to the formation of an international sauce and manufacturing business that is going strong during another recession.

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