McLane Co., the Temple, Texas-based supplier to convenience stores, mass merchants, drug stores and chain restaurants across the U.S., has launched Fresh Produce +, giving c-stores a consistent supply of safe, quality fresh produce, McLane says, adding that there was a void in the market for such a program.
McLane describes Fresh Produce + as “a turnkey solution that provides top quality products, operational best practices, merchandising units, information on suggested retail pricing and best-in-class customer service to help operators establish their locations as destinations for fresh produce.”
Fresh Produce + is part of the company’s McLane Kitchen business segment. With its nationwide reach, McLane can service operators in multiple regions to offer a consistent product mix of healthier options. For single c-stores, McLane’s nationwide distribution means it can use its buying power to help these store compete better pricewise while ensuring they receive high-quality fresh produce.
Because pricing is a key factor in creating a solution that works for every retail customer, Fresh Produce + offers markup options associated with varying levels of product guarantee. The produce program also is fully compatible with McLane’s Premium Ordering Management Suite (POMS) and smart handheld technology so that operators can order fresh items just like any other SKU.
McLane said in late May that in coming months, Fresh Produce + will integrate seasonal items and category management to ensure operators continue to grow their return.
According to a 2015 NACS retailer sentiment survey, 50 percent of c-stores have expanded fresh fruit sales, while 30 percent have increased cut fruit and vegetable offerings.
“We recognized our customers wanted a consistent way to fill their consumers’ need for safe, fresh, better-for-you produce,” said Holly Veale, product director for foodservice at McLane. “McLane Kitchen’s Fresh Produce + solution makes fresh produce and cut fruit available to all our customers, regardless of size or location.”
In conjunction with the nationwide rollout of McLane Kitchen’s Fresh Produce + solution, McLane recently announced its affiliation with The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), a nonpartisan nonprofit organization devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of the nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis within a generation.
McLane is the first grocery and chain restaurant distributor to make a commitment to PHA.
McLane chosen to supply Vintners Distributors
McLane Co. said in late April that it had secured a service agreement with Fremont, California-based Vintners Distributors LLC for 126 c-store locations, including 15 of the chain’s Loop Neighborhood Stores.
“Foodservice is our number one priority, and we’re determined to deliver fresh, quality food choices to our customers,” said Pervez Pir, COO of Vintners Distributors. “McLane has similar objectives (to grow fresh foods), and therefore we make a good team.
“We want to redefine the convenience retail store by offering exceptional items that are good for you; excellent customer service and a fantastic experience from the time you enter Loop,” he added. “We strive to provide our customers with everything from a wide variety of fresh foods to daily grocery items which meet their needs and seating areas which give them the opportunity to relax.”
Vintners also is focused on growing its current store base via acquisition and opening additional Loop Neighborhood Stores, according to McLane.
“McLane is a leader in the wholesale forum, and we are excited to partner with them. They have a tenured team that is customer-centric and delivers on their promise. Additionally, McLane team members are flexible and react quickly to the ever-changing retail business, which is what we are looking for in the current landscape,” Pir added.
McLane says its smart handheld (SHH) technology will enable Vintners’ c-stores to order, check in and return items efficiently and better manage reconciliation, allowing staff to spend more time on the sales floor with customers, improve accuracy of inventory and save on labor costs.
Vintners will work with the McLane Center for Category Innovation (CCI), formerly known as the McLane Lab Store, to conduct SKU rationalization in order to develop a product mix that focuses on the top 20 percent of its best-selling products.
Vintners is a branded retailer of fuels throughout the San Francisco Bay Area that was founded in 1978.