We launched the Group to leverage the lessons we’ve learned creating a series of profitable new business ventures over the past three decades. They include fast-growth start-ups, one of which we grew to $750MM and subsequently sold to a Fortune 500 company, successful new product introductions, and new niche markets in the food industry.
The principal lesson we’ve learned is that the complexities of increasing regulation in the food industry—particularly in the area of food safety—have become a serious challenge to young companies that need to focus their resources on product quality, product differentiation, and sales. Indeed the breadth of professional services needed in today’s
business environment is a major barrier to a start-up’s success.
For example, in the world of produce, participating in the Produce Traceability Initiative is an ongoing process that requires a large initial investment of time and continuing monitoring. For the small to medium size family farm, trying to marshal the necessary resources can be overwhelming.
Our mission is to ensure that these smaller companies can prosper by providing them with the core services—strategic planning, accounting, marketing, food safety, and key account management—in the areas where they lack these resources so they can focus on managing and growing their businesses.
By using our resources, growers find they have greater control over their operations. This facilitates direct contact with retail and foodservice customers who are looking for flexibility and creativity in developing and packaging products. Such flexibility is often unavailable from large scale agribusiness companies.
This is a growing niche and we have established premium channels of distribution for our companies’ products, many of them new, with leading retailers and foodservice distributors known for their expertise in bringing new products to market successfully.
Profiled in The New Yorker and called a “visionary farmer” by TIME, Koons’ international reputation as a chef at Chez Panisse, creator of entirely new produce categories such as bagged organic spring mix and mâche, and his innovative marketing techniques make him a highly visible pundit in the food industry. His vision provides the Group with lucrative niche markets.
Recruited from Coca-Cola by C.H. Robinson, Meranda built the Fresh 1® Marketing Division from scratch to an organization that included foodservice, retail and wholesale distribution and sales channels. FoodSource hired him as director of business development where he took the foodservice division from $50K to over $100MM and helped grow the overall business from $150MM to over $750MM.
Coming from Alaska to the produce industry in his twenties freed Minnich from preconceptions about the industry’s future. The result? A visionary, entrepreneurial approach. He helped spearhead the revolution that moved organic produce into the mainstream. He builds and leads highly effective teams. One grew Misionero Vegetables from $0 to $120MM. Another built FoodSource from $0 to $750MM before Minnich sold it to a Fortune 500 company.
Partners in The Harbinger Group have been instrumental in introducing many of the innovations that have changed the food industry over the last three decades.
These and other innovations have put us in touch with a multitude of food industry channels, which we mine for new products and new markets. The Group has also served as a magnet, attracting small companies with
unique products that come to us for strategic marketing, financial support, and professional services.
Additionally, some of our larger customers alert us to promising products and enterprises too small for them to nurture but with potential that, once realized, can become viable products in their store inventories."
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