Dale Gaffney, well known in the industry as “Mr. Frozen Food,” died Jan. 14. He was 89 years old.
Mr. Gaffney was one of the most respected leaders in the Southern California frozen food industry. He was instrumental in driving its growth throughout the 1960s and 70s when the SoCal supermarket industry was leading the nation in the development of the category. He worked closely with national frozen foods manufacturers and local high-growth retailers; first on behalf of Carnation Foods, then as a VP of frozen foods for the Ray Wells and Bradshaw Brokerage companies. In this role he opened the market to frozen pies, vegetables, orange juice, potatoes, pizza and bagels.
Mr. Gaffney worked closely with many legendary founders of the industry: Dwight Stuart of Carnation Foods; Murray Lender, the founder of Lender’s Bagels; Rose Totino, the founder of Totino’s Pizza; Craw Pollock, the marketing genius behind Green Giant frozen vegetables; Jim Wharton of Treesweet frozen orange juice; and the H.J. Heinz team of Ore-Ida frozen potatoes.
Mr. Gaffney went on to close out his career at Mezzeta of Sonoma, Calif., where he served as sales manager covering SoCal and Arizona.
He will be remembered as the first broker manager to sell more than one million cases of Green Giant frozen vegetables.