Calavo Growers Inc (Nasdaq-GS: CVGW) has created FreshRealm LLC, a technology company building a platform for everyone in the fresh food business—or would like to be—to enable them to do their job more effectively. Calavo will be the majority shareholder with a few key strategic minority partners. Terms were not further disclosed.
FreshRealm’s technology platform will allow traditional retailers, large and small enterprises, communities, and food banks to plug in to an ecosystem resembling a national fresh food cooperative. FreshRealm will not sell directly to consumers but instead will serve as the engine that connects participants to a network of regional fresh food producers.
The new firm is being led by Michael R Lippold, Calavo’s director of strategic development. “Fresh, healthy food should be more accessible in every corner of our country. There are no ‘Internet deserts’ in the United States. It is time for an end to fresh food deserts, too,” said Lippold. “We’re excited to connect best-in-class fresh food and logic to enable that shift.”
Lee E Cole, Calavo’s chairman, president, and chief executive officer, said, “FreshRealm is a natural extension of Calavo’s long-term participation in food that is fresh and good for you.” FreshRealm’s strategic relationship with Calavo will allow the new entity to immediately operate as an institutionally backed company both financially and operationally.
By logically connecting the dots in the fresh food industry, FreshRealm can create business value while also reducing food waste. Built into their ecosystem is a plan to gift surplus food to the people and places that need it most.
“By acting in their own best interests, participants can help others as they help themselves. We feel like we have a business model that is prosperous for us, for other businesses, and helps us all collectively,” said Lippold.
Founded in 1924, Calavo serves food distributors, produce wholesalers, supermarket retailers, and restaurant chains worldwide. A global avocado industry leader, the company also procures and markets diversified fresh produce items, ranging from tomatoes to tropical produce. Its Calavo Foods business segment manufactures and distributes guacamole, guacamole hummus, and salsa. Calavo Foods’ wholly owned subsidiary, Renaissance Food Group LLC, creates, markets, and distributes a portfolio of healthy-lifestyle products.