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Foodservice sector launched Gold Coast 40 years ago

Most grower-shipper firms were started as suppliers to retailers or wholesalers. They only moved into the foodservice sector as that segment matured as a major user of fresh fruit and vegetables. However, that is not the case with Gold Coast Packing Inc., a Central California grower, shipper and processor with roots dating back to 1978.

GC salad DGold Coast’s new Sunny Superfood salad blend.“Our focus has always been foodservice, but over the last few years we have started to focus on retail as well,” said Crystal Chavez, the firm’s marketing coordinator. “Foodservice will always be a big part of our operation even as we branch out to retail.”

She said that the foodservice sector is very important to Gold Coast Packing. “This year we are celebrating our 40th anniversary and for nearly 40 years we have been providing the foodservice sector with our fresh products. It started with cilantro and was followed by broccoli, and it has grown to include cauliflower, spinach, parsley, salad blends, and innovative products like our Caulifornia Snow,” she said.

The company services all the different foodservice venues including institutional operations, restaurants and full-line distributors to that sector.

“We offer a variety of special packs, from salad blends, custom blends to custom pack sizes and co-packs,” Chavez said of the Santa Maria, CA-based company. “We do custom pack sizes anywhere from two ounces to 40-pound bulk.”

At the Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference in Monterey, CA, July 28-29, Gold Coast will be highlighting several recently released products. “Visit us at Booth No. 1009 in Monterey to see all of our new items,” Chavez said. “We will be showcasing our new salad blend. Our Sunny Superfood salad is a blend of chopped kale, chopped green and napa cabbage, shredded broccoli stem, shredded watermelon radish, shredded carrots and chopped cilantro.”

She added that, “it is a bright and flavorful salad that can be dressed up in countless ways. Chefs we have worked with love the pop of color from the watermelon radish and the burst of flavor from the cilantro. Those attending the show will be able to taste this great combination at our booth.“

Chavez said that foodservice operators haven’t yet embraced organic produce in the same way as others in the buyer community. “We have noticed that there is greater demand for organic in the retail sector,” she said. “We have not had many requests from our foodservice buyers for organic.”

Chavez did note that there is a blurring of lines between the sectors as more and more retailers are adding extensive foodservice options in their supermarkets. “We participate where it makes sense in regards to volume and the capabilities in our facility. At Gold Coast we have always worked with our customers to provide tailored products that fit their needs,” she added.