Little did George Paulose know when he began his humble cashew processing and distributing business in his garage that his products would eventually reach a worldwide market. The name “AMES” is an amalgam of family names – his daughters, Amy and Emily, and his wife, Susan, provide the initials for the corporate moniker. Emily’s Chocolates was named for Paulose’s daughter.

For Vegetable Juices Inc. (VJI), there may be no better time than now to be in the natural vegetable flavor and ingredients business. “We’re in a very good spot as far as the wellness trend,” President Jim Hurley says. “We’re trying to provide solutions so people get more vegetables, health and wellness into their diet.”

That’s the secret to success for this 25-year-old fast-casual dining group, which lures in tourists at its eight locations throughout the United States. Between its reasonable prices, anything-goes atmosphere and penchant for providing refuge from the everyday world, Dick’s Last Resort is growing its revenue during the recession while some of its competitors struggle to survive.

When people try an oyster cracker or a snack cracker made by Westminster Cracker Co. for the first time, the company pro­claims that everyone says it’s the best cracker they’ve ever eaten. That’s a bold assertion to make in an industry as diverse and competitive as the cracker business, but the fact that the Rutland, Vt.-based company has been around for close to two centuries is a testament to its quality and popularity, Chairman of the Board Jeffrey M. Walters says.

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.

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