How PRISM Logistics helps this food pioneer service their ever-expanding empire
“Customer service is key in this type of operation. PRISM is big enough to do the work and yet we still have a personal relationship with them.”
– Jim Hofstrand, Logistics Network Manager, Amy’s Kitchen
Long before Whole Foods made organic cool or before the USDA even released national standards on organic products in 20021, Amy’s Kitchen has been dedicated to making food the good old-fashioned way. Since launching in1987, this social media darling has grown to over $500M in annual sales and offers +250 delicious and nutritious organic products. Helping Amy’s Kitchen deliver the 1 million meals it still prepares by hand each day to consumers worldwide is PRISM Logistics2. A trusted partner since 2009, PRISM manages one of three U.S. facilities and is responsible for distribution throughout the West Coast as well as internationally. From their facility in Sacramento, CA, PRISM supports the full line of Amy’s Kitchen dry/non-frozen products, providing an array of value-add services from picking (pallet or case), special labeling, and inventory control. And with everything facilitated through EDI, PRISM is able to provide a seamless, streamlined experience for the Amy’s Kitchen operation.
Among makers of single-serve frozen entrées and dinners, Amy’s ranked 4th, with $295 million in U.S. sales and growth of 6.5% for the same 12-month period.3
We spoke with Jim Hofstrand, Logistics Network Manager for Amy’s Kitchen about their partnership with PRISM. With nearly 30 years of experience in logistics and supply chain (13 years at Amy’s Kitchen) serving as a backdrop, Hofstrand offered the following insights:
“As we’ve grown from $115M to over $500M in sales, PRISM has grown with us. PRISM handles what we throw at them.”
– Jim Hofstrand, Logistics Network Manager, Amy’s Kitchen
AN ORGANIC PIONEER
Amy’s Kitchen began simply enough in an 1870’s farmhouse inPetaluma, CA. That’s where Rachel and Andy Berliner, disappointed by the availability of foods that were convenient, tasty, and nutritious, were inspired to take matters into their own hands by creating a tofu pot pie. With that small act in 1987, a pioneer of the organic food movement was born.
Since then, Amy’s Kitchen has grown to become the 4th largest producer of single serve frozen foods. Sales in 2015 are estimated at $457 million, representing 3.3% YoY growth. Yet despite such tremendous success, Amy’s Kitchen is still very much grounded and guided by the same values that led them to start their own business 30 years ago—Feed the soul. Happiness comes from meaning and purpose. Make it easy for everyone to eat well.
Don’t be fooled by the Berliner’s dedication to doing things the old-fashioned way either. Although the Petaluma ranch still serves as the corporate HQ and food tastings are still done in the family kitchen, Amy’s employs more than 2,600 workers, recently launched a vegetarian fast food chain, and offers over 250 products including frozen entrées, pizzas, burritos, soups, and pasta sauces through national retailers and wholesalers like United Natural Foods, Walmart, Costco, Target, Whole Foods, and Safeway. The company operates three production facilities — two more are underway in New York and Portugal — where it prepares a million meals a day by hand!
Amy’s Kitchen shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon either. The Berliner’s will soon be passing the baton to food industry veteran Xavier Unkovic. As Global President, Unkovic will help transition Amy’s Kitchen into a new era by growing the global customer base, driving operational progress, and expanding Amy’s Drive Thru. With established tenants that are already well-aligned with shifts in consumer behavior and expectations, Amy’s Kitchen is positioned to grow thoughtfully and intentionally while delivering the highest standards of food and service.4
THE ORGANIC MARKET
According to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), a membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products inNorth America, “consumer demand for organic has grown by double-digits nearly every year since the 1990s”, reaching nearly $50 billion in2016. In fact, while the overall food market grew by 3.3% in 2015, the organic food industry grew at a whopping 10.8%!
With household penetration already reaching 75%, demands for food transparency increasing, and research findings on the benefits of organic products and practices becoming more available, this trend is only expected to continue. In order to support continued exponential growth, industry collaboration and public/private partnerships are leading to innovations that secure the supply chain (e.g., expansion of organic acreage, recruiting and helping farmers transition to organic practices).
EIGHT YEARS AND COUNTING
After beating out several other competitors in an open bid process, PRISM Logistics was invited to begin a beta forAmy’s Kitchen in the Spring of 2009. Beyond simply meeting the client’s criteria, PRISM’s location in Sacramento, CA, was nestled among several major roadways (e.g., I-80, I-I5, Highway 59) and 80 miles closer to production, representing a clear and significant cost savings.
From here, PRISM serves Amy’s customers across the western region as well as domestic customers with an international presence in the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, and Dubai. Customers run the full gamut from e-retail (ex. Amazon) to club stores (ex. Costco) to grocery chains (ex. Whole Foods), PRISM needs to be prepared to handle any number of product combinations and quantity configurations. In fact, because the Medford, OR production facility only ships in full pallet quantities, all loose case orders are handed over to PRISM. In addition to picking and staging each order, PRISM is responsible for any labeling required, including special requirements. And although PRISM is part of a larger network of logistics partners, everything is executed via EDI providing the client with a more streamlined experience. This level of trust has enabled a unique communication system to flourish. Team members across Amy’s (e.g., QA,Customer Service) are enabled to connect with PRISM to obtain information they need, making both operations more efficient. Hofstrand’s team can even access PRISM’s WMS remotely to understand exactly where a product or order is in real-time.
As Jim Hofstrand, Logistics Network Manager forAmy’s Kitchen explains, “It’s all about the process. PRISM knows how to perform this process well and has automated to the extent possible.” He continues, “This business is relationship driven as well, and PRISM is a partner that does whatever it takes.”