It is really more than that. It happens to be an effective way to store huge amounts of food through freezing. In practice the better the quality produced, the better it all behaves when frozen. All this points to a real opportunity.
As we enter the age of organic farming we will produce huge amounts what is properly seconds. That is perfectly fine food that cannot be sold. Converting all that into boiled product solves the storage problem in the form of soups, stews and curries. Better yet there is a natural market that demands high quality and good taste and that is the school lunch.
Better yet it is not unimaginable that quality packs can be fed into all sectors of the food industry because of price points and quality points been demanded by consumers. What it does do is put the marketing back into the hands of the producers with labeled product as has happened with several sectors of the industry.
Global Gourmet Foods banks on fresh ingredients, homemade stock
When Anne Chong Hill developed hypertension she decided to make healthy soup. Her successful food service company, Global Gourmet Foods, already has good distribution for its products in the States and Canada but it’s hard for small companies and huge companies to get into making healthy soup from scratch.
For one thing, peeling vegetables and making stock from scratch takes time, physical space and labour. That means a facility not only needs volume sales to offset the cost, it must be physically configured for all that chopping. Using concentrated powdered soup bases and precut vegetables is the conventional approach and much easier to handle.
“There’s less competition than you might think,” said Richard Breakell, sales and marketing director of Richmond’s Global Gourmet Foods, which launched Smart Soup, its healthy soup brand, in the U.S. in 2013 and plans to launch in Canada this fall. Whole Foods, Kroger and Costco in the U.S. are among its larger customers.
Small companies tend to lack both capital and distribution, Breakell said, while large companies reporting to corporate boards lack the will to wait for a return.
“When we decided to launch the brand, we easily had $1.5 million invested before a single box was produced,” Breakell said.
Global Gourmet is a 27-year-old family-owned food service business started by Anne Chong-Hill and her husband Lawrence Hill. The 140-employee company has a 75,000-square-foot facility and extensive distribution across Canada, the U.S. and Japan selling soups, chilis, sauces and entrées to multi-unit restaurants, supermarket delis and institutions such as hospitals. It also produces private label product for customers such as supermarket chains.
Chong-Hill built the business on gumption and luck.
Take the time she walked into the Bank of Nova Scotia back in 1976.
“I need a job,” the then young mother told the bank manager. Her previous work experience was mostly in a secretarial pool.
“‘You don’t have a loans officer. You should be concentrating on your job and hire somebody like me to expand your loan profile ...’ He was laughing at me. ‘I can come in part time,’” she persisted.
She got the job.
It surprised no one when Chong-Hill started her own food service business three years later — with a Bank of Nova Scotia line of credit. It was 1979 and the recession was just beginning. The first month in business, Hill’s Cornish pasties, sausage rolls and curry puffs brought in $200.
That’s when she showed up at BC Ferries with a box of curry puffs. Luckily for her, the head of catering in Horseshoe Bay was a former British Army chef and he knew his curries.
“That’s how I started with four ferries,” she said.
The experience taught her to be frugal. The contract went out to tender every six months so before long, she was competing against big players. She had to deliver to Departure Bay and Swartz Bay, so she’d get up at five a.m., fill up her car with curry puffs and ride the ferry over.
“I was delivering for two years by myself,” she said. “Twice a week to Horseshoe Bay and twice a week to Tsawwassen. You know what? It was fun. I had all the truckers honking at me and they’d come sit with me and have a coffee early in the morning.”