by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Back to the Dinner Table

Author: Ken Whah, President and CEO —

The American Frozen Food Institute’s most recent report on Frozen Food Sales Amid COVID-19 documents what many of us know; more people than ever are preparing meals at home. Nearly 90% of consumers are eating more meals at home vs. pre-pandemic or with 73% of consumers taking more time than usual to prepare meals at home. This includes older Millennials and Gen X, who have been known to shy away from the frozen food isle. In this age of convenience, buying, cooking and freezing foods is new territory for some consumers. Consider this stat from Google Trends; the search term ‘can you freeze’ climbed from an interest index of 19 to an index of 100 in a matter of days. (Yes, you can freeze eggs but not in the shell.)

Many frozen categories that have enjoyed high household penetration have become even more popular, including frozen vegetables, meat/poultry and pizza. In some cases, these purchases were first time trials, with high percentages for frozen meat/poultry, sides, fruit and entrees. Both single-serve and multi-serve entrées enjoyed double-digit percentages of first-time buyers.

Of course, the winners in the frozen food isle have arrived at the expense of others. Restaurant sales are in turmoil with reports of industry revenue dropping to 1995 levels. The only bright spot seems to be digitally ordering home delivery, up 60% over this time last year.

Most refrigerated warehousing companies have a mixture of retail, wholesale and foodservice customers. Like Hanson Logistics, they find themselves adjusting inbound and outbound schedules, pallet positions and the moving target of inventory requirements. Warehouse workers and truck drivers have become essential workers; a designation that’s not new to Hanson Teammates.

With all the uncertainty in the world, gathering around the dinner table to enjoy a home cooked, heated frozen or just delivered meal is an opportunity to share thoughts and feelings with family members and socially distant friends. It’s an ideal time for reassurance and hope for the future, and that’s a good thing.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Rising to the Challenge

Author: Ken Whah, President and CEO —

History will look back at this period as a time when farmers and ranchers, processors, distributors, truckers and grocery staff came together like never before with the unified purpose of keeping America fed. It’s a remarkable story of service beyond self during one of, if not the most challenging times the world has ever endured.

With gratitude to all on the front lines, I express my personal appreciation to the unwavering commitment of all Hanson Teammates for their important role in staying the course. Their resolve, their ability to rise to the challenge is a test that every Hanson Teammate is passing with flying colors. We are Hanson Strong.

Consumers are buying frozen foods at record levels. Frozen pizza, ice cream and frozen novelties are all seeing increases from 20% to nearly 60% compared to last year. Cookie dough shot up a record 439% in April, according to COVID-tracking articles in Refrigerated & Frozen Foods.

Another study, this one conducted by the American Frozen Food Institute, shows that after a 94% surge in March, frozen food sales are continuing to see 30% to 35% increases in April 2020 versus a year ago. The survey also found that Gen Z consumers and high-earning millennial households with children, who were previously not big frozen food buyers, increased their buying of frozen products substantially during in the past month.

This combined result of closed restaurants, stay-at-home orders, stockpiling and the increased need for comfort food has created higher volume throughput in Hanson Logistics facilities. We’ve increased our capacity to meet the greater demand, but it’s our Hanson Teammates that are making it happen. The eye on food safety never blinks. Increased volume requires more hours on the job and more diligence in keeping it all moving.

Yes, We are Hanson Strong; watch the below video and see for yourself. Thank you Hanson Teammates!

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

eCommerce’s Rising Star: Frozen Foods

Author: Ken Whah, President and CEO —

The spotlight in US ecommerce falls on the rapid growth of the food and beverage world – in fact, the food and beverage industry is the fastest growing segment of online shopping. Frozen food, while once viewed as too limiting by online retailers, is now front and center due to newly innovative ways to ship and package these edible products. As a result, new brands in the online frozen food department are quickly gaining in popularity. 

According to a recent report, “retail ecommerce sales of food and beverage products in the US will surpass $22 billion this year, growing more than 20% annually through 2021”. While still trailing apparel categories and electronic products, this impressive growth is turning the heads of both retailers and consumers alike. The fact that more consumers are beginning to recognize the safety and quality of frozen food items purchased online is enough to create a strong foundation to support this emerging industry’s rapid growth.

With this expanding growth, one of the ways that retailers are looking to improve the online food-buying experience is by rethinking the packaging, which can boost “convenience and confidence”, according to a recent study. As more consumers trust buying frozen foods online, more retailers are responding to the growing demand for home delivery. Specifically, the global frozen food market is set to witness a higher CAGR of 6.15% during the period 2017-2021, with consumers purchasing freezer staples as well as prepared meal kits.

A survey published by the American Frozen Food Institute revealed that 41 percent of shoppers purchased food online within the past 30 days, with 56 percent of those including frozen foods in their purchase. Those purchases were divided evenly between home delivery and pick up. 

One unique aspect of home delivery: the best shipping origin may be the least populated. Our Logansport facility, for example, is located in a relatively rural area, yet is also a great location for outbound parcel service. As a result, our Pick Pack and Parcel service offers frozen food manufacturers and on-line retailers a frozen facility that’s easily served by truckloads in and parcel out to roughly the east half of the US. Indiana is truly the crossroads of US.

Thanks to an array of new services like Pick Pack and Parcel that are designed to help retailers and manufacturers develop new sales channels by shipping frozen food, meals, and meal kits directly (and safely) to consumers, the impressive growth predicted for the industry is likely to exceed many of the experts’ expectations.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

The Frozen Chosen: Why you need to be in the freezer case at all times.

Author: Ken Whah, President and CEO —

Delayed deliveries, poor inventory management, and inconsistent scheduling all strain relationships with your retail and club store customer, and eventually impact your overall freezer case success. Traditionally, the freezer case needed to be stocked for popular shopping days and times in order to serve brand loyal consumers carrying their pre-planned grocery list.

That’s changing.  More buying decisions are being made in the moment than ever before. Here’s five reasons why you need consistent, reliable stock in the freezer case at all times:

  1. High traffic and rising engagement.
    According to a 2018 IRI study, 99.4% of all grocery shoppers took a trip down the frozen food aisles and made a frozen purchase. Market penetration is exceptionally high, and engagement is spread across virtually all categories. For example, 87.5% of shoppers were drawn to ice cream and 79% were drawn to vegetables, which increases visibility and floor traffic for everything in between.
  1. High-frequency shoppers are on the rise.
    The 2019 Power of Frozen survey also confirms that shoppers are browsing and buying with increased frequency. 35% of households consume frozen food daily or every few days, and 52% of this core category is purchasing more than they did last year.
  1. Core consumers are impulsive.
    Frequent visitors to the store report that they make impulsive shopping decisions and have adventurous tastes. The 2019 data found that core shoppers want to try new things and use frozen convenience to test a wide variety of cuisines. This growing behavior trend happens in the moment, not when consumers are writing a list at home.
  1. Planning also leads to unplanned purchases.
    Even still, more traditional, planned trips lead to last-minute shopping decisions. According to the 2019 survey, 73% of all shoppers who planned a specific purchase left with at least one additional, unplanned item in their cart.
  1. Millennials are spending more and willing to explore.
    The IRI annual Consumer Connect survey measured all food dollar metrics. Data showed that millennials spent 21.5% more on food in March 2019 than they did the year before. Food inflation has risen at a rate of 1.7% but food spending by seniors and retirees still dropped 3.8%. Millennials are the demographic to watch.The 2018 Acosta Behind the Buy shopper survey agreed that millennials are spending more, and their buying decisions aren’t locked down. 48% of this target demographic reported that they are not brand loyal and will switch to make a different purchasing decision while they are in the store. Millennials are more likely to try a different brand if they find a better deal or discover something new to try, which is why constant stock and visibility are essential.

In the farm-to-fridge supply chain, there are many opportunities for delays, stock outs and spoilage. As a manufacturer, you need to balance consumer demands with production, and partner with a frozen food logistics provider who is completely reliable.

Hanson Logistics is the industry-leading expert in refrigerated warehousing and transportation. Let us help you serve more shoppers with in-the-moment decisions.

Other data referenced that was not in the PowerPoint:
https://cstoredecisions.com/2018/01/22/look-grocery-shoppers-generation/
https://www.winsightgrocerybusiness.com/fresh-food/do-millennials-spend-more-food 

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Fresh Vs. Frozen: A Case for Loving Your Frozen Veggies

Author: Ken Whah, President and CEO —

In a world where fresh foods are often considered optimal, many people are under the impression that the best option, especially in terms of produce, is to buy and consume as quickly as possible, a glorified foot-race from farm to table. But, is “fresh” really better? Is the only way to get all of the nutrition (and taste) you want to eat fresh, no exceptions?

The answer is no.

Not only are frozen fruits and vegetables just as healthy as their “freshly-picked” counterparts, but the fact that they are frozen means that there is more variety to choose from year-round. Plus, because frozen foods keep, the amount of food waste produced each year can be dramatically reduced as more consumers embrace the quality of frozen.

Just consider a few facts about frozen foods that point to the benefits of keeping a well-stocked freezer…

  1. Nutrient content in frozen produce is just as high, if not higher, than fresh fruits and vegetables. Because fruits and vegetables are frozen immediately after harvest, they have less time to lose their nutrient content compared to most fresh produce, which is often picked too soon so that it can ripen during transit. Certain types of fruit and vegetables actually are healthier frozen because of this, retaining more of their available nutrients than fresh produce.
  1. Frozen produce lasts (so much) longer than fresh fruits and vegetables. Food waste is a major concern around the world, but especially in the United States. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “One third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year – approximately 1.3 billion tons – gets lost or wasted… Fruits and vegetables, plus roots and tubers, have the highest wastage rates of any food.” Unlike fresh produce, which can go bad in a matter of days, frozen fruits and veggies can last up to 8 months in your freezer, making it a great choice economically, too.
  1. Frozen produce provides you more variety year-round. Not only are frozen fruits and vegetables nutrient-rich and boast a long shelf-life, but they give consumers the ability to enjoy favorite produce year-round. Frozen fruits and veggies can be on-hand regardless of the season, offering more options without the disappointment of “off-season” produce tasting bland because it was picked too soon and then shipped thousands of miles in order to end up in your kitchen. In fact, on average, produce (whether organic or conventional) is shipped 1500 miles in order to end up on your plate. When shipped “fresh”, the “farther your produce travels, the less nutritious (and tasty) it is by the time you eat it”. 

This is not to slight fresh produce; after all, their frozen counterparts begin as fresh. It’s just nice (and healthy) to know that Hanson Logistics freezers are filled with food that’s equally as good for you as that in the produce isle. 

References:

https://fruitsandveggies.org/stories/about-the-buzz-frozen-and-canned-fruits-and-vegetables-vs-fresh/

http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/ 

https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/how-far-does-your-produce-travel/ 

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Good News: The Frozen Food Renaissance is Just Beginning

Author: Ken Whah, President and CEO —

You don’t have to look very far to see the increasing momentum of frozen foods. More and more retailers are rolling out home delivery. Ads for ecommerce start-ups in frozen and refrigerated meals are popping up here and there. If the frozen food isle seems a little longer with more SKU’s than ever before, that’s not an illusion; it’s the real deal. 

According to the American Frozen Food Institute, the increase in 2018 dollar sales jumped 2.6% while unit sales were up 2.3%. That’s a healthy increase in the volume of products sold, and this trend is expected to continue.

Why the increase? For starters, in 2017 millennials spent an average of 9% more on frozen foods per trip to the grocery store than households of other demographics. In 2018, the total volume of frozen foods sold in the US increased for the first time in 5 years, driven largely by millennials and consumers with children.  Add to that, consumer perception of frozen food has improved significantly and for good reason. You can find as much health and wholesomeness in the freezer case today as you can in the fresh food department, with a lot more convenience and value for busy families. 

During the next several months, we’ll drill down into the specifics of this trend, covering topics such as a demographics, nutrition, convenience, purchasing habits and more.  In the meantime, if you need help reaching these opportunities more profitably, give us a call or drop us an email. We can show you how we can optimize your national fulfillment, via truckload, consolidated LTL or ecommerce.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Hanson Launches Pick, Pack, and Parcel

Hanson Logistics has recently expanded its multi-channel distribution offering by launching a new consumer ecommerce fulfillment program titled “Pick, Pack, and Parcel.” Being a leading provider of temperature controlled logistics, Hanson has recognized the growing demand for home delivery of groceries (including frozen and refrigerated foods) and is implementing a service that will help food manufacturers keep up with the market.

Pick, Pack, and Parcel gives frozen food manufacturers that extra channel to sell their products in a “right to your door” manner, which is becoming increasingly more popular by consumers.

The steps to this program are very simple. Manufacturers ship inventory by truckload to Hanson’s Logansport, Indiana warehouse (we can handle transportation for you as well) where frozen and refrigerated products are kept in top-notch condition until ordered. Then the individual orders are picked, mixed if necessary, packed in usable coolers, and handed off to a parcel carrier for delivery.

The Logansport facility (Lafayette too) is strategically located for parcel delivery to 60% of the United States between one to three days with ground service, assuring efficient coverage of the final mile.

There are very few third-party logistics (3PL) providers in the industry that are qualified to step in and be of assistance with the accuracy, safety, and transparency that is required for consumer frozen and refrigerated food fulfillment.

However, for Hanson these requirements fall right into the sweet spot of what we specialize in when it comes to national retail fulfillment.

Learn how we can specifically help your business streamline operations by contacting us today.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Why You Should Use a Freight Broker.

The term ‘freight broker’ has too long been associated with images of a phone and a well-worn Rolodex. A lot has changed. Transportation brokerage services — like Hanson Freight Management — offer shippers technology-based, cost-effective and service-oriented solutions to the increasingly complex world of transportation.

We move millions of pounds of freight across the country for many of the most respected brands. As an LTL or truckload shipper, you can leverage Hanson’s extensive transportation carrier network, transportation management system and multi-modal expertise to assure efficiency and service are delivered on time, at very competitive rates.

Simplify Your Workload

One call does it all. From our TMS portal to your point of contact, Hanson removes the complexity from your transportation and makes it simple. We solve customer problems, deal with carrier performance, and make things happen. It’s that simple.

Leverage Our Purchasing Power

Our negotiated rates are far less than most smaller shippers can hope to achieve and those savings go right to your bottom line. You’ll save in many ways: lower rates, better audits and lower overhead.

Achieve Supply Chain Visibility

Leverage our market-leading TMS technology and gain complete transparency into rates, capacity, carriers and documentation.

Access Capacity in all Modes

Inbound, outbound, multi-temperature, parcel; standard, expedited, guaranteed, white glove and flatbed: Hanson has the expertise, carriers and competitive rates in all transportation requirements.

If you’re looking to drive efficiency in your transportation management — and who’s not — contact a professional freight broker today.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Why Our SQF Certification Matters to Your Business

Last week, we announced that Hanson Logistics has been awarded the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Certification, Edition 8, by the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), a globally trusted, recognized, and accepted food safety and quality program.

This farm-to-fork food safety and quality certification helps food producers assure their buyers that food products have been grown, processed, prepared and handled according to the highest possible global food safety standards. It can immediately improve your standing in the eyes of new partners and deals.

For everyone at Hanson Logistics, this achievement is a great validation of our hard work and our team’s commitment to quality operations. For you, it means increased protection in the event of recalls, improved operational efficiencies in our work together, managed risks, and peace of mind with certified due diligence.

The SQF Certification Process

Hanson Logistics’ Hartford, Michigan temperature-controlled facility received the certification, the first of our eight warehouses to become SQF Certified. There are a variety of requirements that our facility had to meet to achieve certification associated with safety and quality, as well as a commitment to continuous improvement.

The process can take between six and nine months and is a significant investment. We believe the practices it checks for and encourages are a smart way to assure food and perishable safety across the entire supply chain, including sourcing, processing, packaging, and delivery.

A core component of the certification is something that’s mission critical for your business: effective management of food safety hazards. When you hear that Hanson Logistics, or any other partner, is SQF certified, it means that they have a demonstrable commitment and processes in place to create, monitor, and manage a safe environment for food production.

SQFI provides a global, consistent certification process that is one of the most trusted in the world for food safety. The certification is important for every partner in the food supply chain, and we like that the body requires annual reviews to ensure that we are compliant and always follow best practices.

Benefits of SQF Certification

Achieving SQF certification requires that we develop process and business improvements that allow us to proactively identify and manage threats to the products we store and ship for customers like you. In the Hartford facility, these requirements apply to all of our operations, including long-term storage and outbound transportation designed to save you money and deliver your product to their destination as required 

Pairing SQF certification with the ability to fulfill larger, higher-frequency orders can also protect your bottom line by giving you access to a larger market. Not only will you be able to address order demands, but you’ll meet the increasing demand for supplier certifications coming from partners and buyers. Having a certified partner ensures that your operations can support the demands of larger retailers and chains.

You can also reassure your leadership that your products are in good hands.

We see certifications like SQF as a smart way to ensure we stay on top of food safety regulations and requirements. It is in concert with the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), designed to improve safety from farm to fork. 

At the end of the day, SQF certification is a demonstration of our commitment to food safety, quality, legality, and support for all of our partners. Or, as our CEO Jim Riets says, “SQF Certification speaks to our team’s effort to meet and exceed that which is expected of them as logistics professionals. It’s recognition of our “Yes We Can” attitude, and we commend our Hartford team for a job well done.” 

Get to Know Our Michigan Facility

Our Hartford location is nestled in the heart of West Michigan’s fruit and vegetable farmlands. Consisting of 7 million cubic ft. of temperature-controlled space, we support a significant part of the regional grower community with offerings including blast freezing, racked storage, transportation management, and an unparalleled commitment to service quality.

Goods shipped from Hartford are labeled with the SQF certification, giving our partners a credibility boost as soon as those boxes and pallets arrive at their next destination.

Today’s consumers have increasingly complex demands for food management and safety. Those concerns are readily visible in the requirements from retailers and vendors. Give your products the best chance to exceed expectations, regulations, and requirements by partnering with an SQF Certified logistics company.

Learn how our certification might even save you money with a more efficient operation by contacting us today.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Continuous Improvement “The Hanson Way”

The Hanson leadership team recently launched a new three-year strategy focusing on growth and enabling capabilities. The foundation of the strategy is known as “The Hanson Way.” This new effort will allow the organization to accelerate embedding a culture of continuous improvement and operational excellence. Building an environment that focuses on every teammate helping to improve our work.

To kick off this initiative, twenty of our top leaders gathered together to partake in numerous training exercises designed to improve Hanson’s internal processes. The training took a variety of forms all leading up to a final unifying experience, which combined the takeaways from previous lessons and culminated them into a concluding experience to see how our team-working processes had improved.

The simulation divided the Hanson leaders up into two competing teams to pack meals for Lifeline Christian Mission to benefit families in Haiti. Once the groups were separated into their competing teams, they completed three rounds of meal packing, which lasted 20 minutes each. In between each round, the teams met for 45 minutes to improve their process.

The teams took different approaches and implemented quite different improvements, yet both teams saw impressive results. In the first round, each team created and packed approximately 216 meals each. After two rounds of process improvement, each team packed around 850 meals each.

“It was an amazing experience for everyone involved,” said Ken Whah, Executive Vice President of Hanson Logistics. “Not only did we pack 4,590 meals in one hour for Haitian families in need, we were also able to apply our learning and there was a 400% improvement in production output in a very short amount of time.”

As we continue to implement The Hanson Way, management looks forward to creating an environment where ideal behaviors are evident in every teammate, and the meal packing experience training is the perfect embodiment of that ideal. The Hanson Way will now be rolled out to all Hanson teammates and meal packing will be an integral part of every training moving forward.

Yes, We Can!