In this video interview, Ira Brill, director of communications for Foster Farms, discusses the transformation Foster Farms has made over the years through acquisitions and looks to the future of innovation.
Andy Hanacek: Ira, thanks for joining me. Thanks for having me out here at Foster Farms. Congratulations again to the company on [winning] the 2016 Processor of the Year Award. It’s well deserved as we know from some of the tours and interviews. I wanted to ask you as part of this story for a little perspective on the transformation in the variety of areas the company gone through. Given the history of the company, how big of a change was this transformation? Was this something that you would have expected from Foster Farms years ago to make, or is this really a big leap for the company to make these transformations over the years?
Ira Brill: I don’t think it is as much of a leap as it is an evolution. Foster Farms historically grew its core business, its fresh business through acquisition, and so we acquired Zacky [Farms] in Southern California. That’s how we became the leading brand in Southern California. We don’t hope to expand the fresh business beyond the west coast, and so what that leaves us is either expanding products that we originally developed in areas like frozen cooked to other markets or acquisition. While we will continue to consider appropriate acquisitions, I think right now the thrust of the company is building businesses like frozen cooked chickens [and] like corndogs on a national basis.
Hanacek: So that national thrust has begun in earnest, and that’s part of why I’m here and why you guys have won the award. I assume but I’m going to ask anyway… there’s still more to do to expand nationally, [right]?
Brill: Sure, because most of the businesses we hope to build even as a category tend to be more regionally developed, and what we would like to see are brands that are in full distribution across the United States.
Hanacek: So without giving away the kitchen sink, what are some of the next steps that you guys have to take in order to expand that national contender progress?
Brill:I think as we talked a big part of this is going to be developing new products through our innovation process, and we’ve already introduced things like sauté-ready and breakfast wraps, and you’re going to see a lot more of that coming down the pipe.
Hanacek: Great. Thanks again, Ira. I appreciate your time, and I appreciate Foster Farms having me out here. Congratulations one more time on the Processor of the Year.
Brill: Always a pleasure, and we are very honored to have gotten the award.