McLane Gets Fresh

Published in CSP Daily News

New "Fresh on the Go" program will deliverperishable foods to c-stores

By  Abbie Westra, Editor-in-Chief, Convenience Store Products

TEMPLE, Texas -- As foodservice opportunities continue to grow for convenience store operators, so has the need for fresh, safe foods with no labor and easy ordering. Wholesale supplier McLane Co. will introduce its own foodservice solution on Monday with the launch of its Fresh on the Go perishable food line.

Fresh on the Go takes advantage of McLane's established cold-chain services to deliver sandwiches, yogurt, cut fruit, cheese, ready-made salads and other perishable foods right along with the rest of the retailer's order. All orders will arrive at McLane's warehouse [image-nocss] just before regular delivery for optimum freshness and shelf life. And because McLane does not place restrictions on its customers for carrying a specific set of products, retailers are free to choose the types and quantities of products they carry based on their own customer preferences.

"The concept itself has been about two years in the making," Grant Demers, product director, perishables and foodservice for McLane, told CSP Daily News. "It really initiated with our retailers and the recognition of a desire for a warehouse-delivered solution to this segment of the industry."

The Temple, Texas-based company spent two years working with retailers and suppliers to perfect the offerings, streamline ordering and delivering, "and develop a program that when it was all said and done had a customer base that was already pre-established," said Demers.

To answer distribution volatility and demand, McLane created a proprietary order-delivery system. "[It] gleans fresh products from our customers' traditional orders, pools those by manufacturer, and transmits them directly to the appropriate manufacturer for processing," said Demers. "The manufacturer, based on their lead time to McLane, which has to be less than seven days, processes the order in accordance with that lead time but also with the customer's next delivery."

With food safety in mind, McLane has invested more than $1 billion into the infrastructure of its nationwide supply chain to further ensure the safety and sanitation of its cold-chain solution. Custom cold-chain systems, procedures and documentation have been established in every part of the supply chain, and a third-party food testing and consulting lab verifies the company is complying with these standards and procedures.

Specific McLane Cold Chain advantages include: 20 highly automated distribution centers across the U.S. to ensure close proximity to stores and delivery to everyzip code in the United States.
More than 8 million square feet of warehouse space with more than 2.5 million combined square feet of refrigerated and frozen space. A modern fleet of 2,000 multi-temperature trailers to maintain proper temperatures while in transit. Custom cold chain systems, procedures and documentation to ensure product integrity and safety in every part of the supply chain, including loading/unloading, verification, sorting, storage, transport and presentation in the customer location. Comprehensive, multi-step monitoring process that constantly measures, records and validates temperatures on the loading dock, in the distribution center, while in transit and upon delivery. Third-party food safety endorsement of McLane's entire cold chain system, procedures and documentation process from Silliker Inc., the leading global food testing and consulting lab.

The company also offers a range of equipment solutions, including "air-curtain" technology designed to promote impulse purchases.

Some Fresh on the Go products can already be found in test markets, and on Monday all items will be available to all McLane customers. For more information about McLane and Fresh on the Go, visit www.mclaneco.com/goto/fresh.

McLane is a $28 billion supply chain services company, providing grocery and foodservice supply chain solutions for thousands of c-stores, mass merchants, drug stores and military locations, as well as thousands of chain restaurants throughout the United States. It has 38 automated distribution centers and one of the nation's largest fleets. McLane is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Omaha.

By Abbie Westra, Editor-in-Chief, Convenience Store Products
View More Articles By Abbie Westra