GraceKennedy Foods USA, the proprietary company of La Fe, is celebrating the 50th year anniversary of its Hispanic food brand, La Fe; and it’s opening a brand new state-of-the-art distribution center in Wood-Ridge New Jersey, which was inaugurated on July 1st.
The new distribution center is 195,000 square feet and 36 feet high with capacity for 6-level storage structures. It has the most up-to-date technology for its operations, 28 loading docks and a new fleet of 50 trucks in addition to the 200 already in service. This will allow the expansion of its direct product distribution system.
GraceKennedy Foods USA expects to reach $200 million in sales in the next two years, which is why it has plans to expand the La Fe brand to new markets on the West Coast and Mid West of the United States. Since 2018, La Fe has been present in Illinois and Texas but will continue to explore new territories.
In an interview with Abasto Magazine, GraceKennedy Foods USA’s President and CEO, Derrick Reckord, said that he knows the good relationship La Fe and the Hispanic consumers have developed over its 25 years of existence mainly because of the quality of its products.
Reckord saw La Fe’s great commercial potential which finally resulted in the acquisition of the brand in 2014 by GraceKennedy, which is a powerful Caribbean business group with annual sales for more than $5.8 billion and operations in more than 7 countries.
“We are aware the consumer needs to have options when it comes to product diversity. However, what the consumer really needs is an organization that will deliver the future of products for the Hispanic market, ” Reckord said.
GraceKennedy-La Fe distributes more than 1,400 products in different categories. From groceries, frozen foods, dairy products, beverages and more. They represent well-known food brands from the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Europe and their operations are located in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey; Miami, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia, serving the entire Eastern United States region.
Reckord stressed that they work diligently to offer the most innovative and freshest products in every category of food items they work with, especially in the frozen food area. “We see this as a great opportunity to build the brand and move forward in the future,” said the CEO of GraceKennedy Foods USA.
Andrés Falquez, Category Marketing Director of GraceKennedy Foods USA-La Fe, is leading the process of transforming the brand to introduce its new image and position its products as the favorites among Hispanic consumers in the United States.
“Thanks to the union of Grace as a brand from the Caribbean, we had the opportunity to develop an excellent plan to serve those consumers who haven’t heard from us for so many years. What we decided to do was give it a sense of strategy and give value to the brand to increase capital so that our costumers have a sense of why they go to the stores”, Falquez said in an interview with Abasto.
The executive noted that in the eastern region of the country, from Massachusetts to Florida, La Fe is having sales for more than $130 million. Also, in the Hispanic frozen products category, in which they are leaders by distribution point in the market. “the idea is to continue growing much more and extend our distribution points throughout the United States”.
National accounts manager Desiree Sorensen emphasized that the brand represents “quality, family and tradition”, three fundamental aspects that will be reflected in the marketing campaign “Celebrando el Sabor”, with TV commercials and in various advertising platforms, in Spanish and English.
Reinforcing brand renewal efforts, GraceKennedy Foods USA is improving the presentation of its products. “La Fe recently embarked on a considerable investment to renew packaging in many of our product categories, such as frozen vegetables, arepas, canned vegetables, among others. The brand will continue to innovate with new products and will continue to invest in consumer feedback programs”, said Alberto Young, Vice President of Sales for the Southeast Region.
The World of the Latino Cuisine’s President and CEO, William Colón, organizer of the Latino Food & Beverage Trade Show taking place in New Jersey, told Abasto that “we see that La Fe is entering another stage, Latinos are growing in number and also growing as consumers, therefore we are seeing a proliferation of excellent brands and La Fe is one of them and we hope it continues to be successful”.
With a positive message that underpins the philosophy of the company he directs, Reckord concluded: “For us at GraceKennedy, the fundamental idea is to continue the tradition, which is present in the words “thankfulness” and “faith”, for us it’s something wonderful when thankfulness and faith are together.”