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Dole Foods of Canada Ltd.: Making Healthy Snacking More Convenient and Delicious
Dole Food Company Inc. (Dole) ranks first among the world’s producers of high-quality fresh fruit, vegetables and packaged foods. As the industry leader, Dole sets a high bar for quality, safety and nutrition without sacrificing flavour. After all, the nutrient content of a product won’t matter if no one will eat it, which is precisely why Dole continues to focus its efforts on the development of products that become the building blocks of a long and healthy life.
Dole also boasts a Canadian arm of the network: Dole Foods of Canada Ltd. (Dole Foods). “David H. Murdock, chairman and principal shareholder at Dole, is known for being extremely passionate about health and nutrition,” says Jerry Mancini, president of Dole Canada. “But we have many, many individuals throughout the organization who share in his passion.” Dole Canada maintains headquarters in Toronto, but its reach extends to all 10 provinces.
Murdock founded the Dole Nutrition Institute to help spur the healthy eating movement through education. The institute gleans information from leading researchers around the world and even conducts its own. Dole Nutrition Research Laboratory is located at the North Carolina Research Campus, which also houses eight collaborating universities in addition to changing research. Combined, the Dole organization goes beyond distributing healthy products to generate easily accessible, scientifically validated information on the benefits of healthy eating.
Mancini and his team, which has a reputation for being creative and innovative, will be expanding the company’s product offerings with innovative, value-added products under the health and wellness platform to drive sales and profits. Mancini’s responsibilities also include Europe, Russia, Asia, as well as the Middle East. Both he and his team are driven to find consumer white space for health and wellness products. Mancini’s international experience allows him to bring innovative ideas from around the world to the Canadian market.
Leading a Health Revolution
Dole’s global network includes over 75,000 employees who source, process and distribute over 200 products to 90 countries worldwide. Dole Canada’s lean organization houses senior executives, similar to that of a law firm, where everyone shares a vested interest in the business.
“We’re a very lean organization, but we work with a network of business partners who we really consider an extension of the Dole family,” adds Mancini. These business partners must adhere to Dole’s global standards for food safety, traceability and environmental responsibility. The company recently upgraded its refrigerated transportation fleet to more efficient models, which now consume half the amount of energy required by the older models. Additionally, the company replaced its wooden pallets with recyclable plastic pallets, which weigh less and are more durable than wooden pallets and can be easily sanitized.
Along the way the company has been able to tweak some of its signature products to reflect the high nutritional standards the Dole name has come to represent. The ubiquitous Dole Fruit Bowls, for example, are now available packed in 100-percent fruit juice and in pure water. The new products deliver the same fresh taste as the classic counterpart with no artificial sweeteners and in the same convenient packaging for healthy snacking on the go.
Dole’s commitment to providing a premium quality, healthy and nutritious product continues to drive product development, though the company has since branched out into a few grain-based products alongside its fruit-based staples. The company recently launched the Fruit’n Crisp, which serves as a healthy alternative to an indulgent fruit cobbler. The product packs juicy Dole fruit packed in a fruit sauce to be served with a crumbly topping of whole grain, rolled oats sweetened with a touch of brown sugar. The product is packed in a portable plastic bowl with a peel-off lid, for a convenient, guilt-free treat.
“Dole is synonymous with health and nutrition, so whether our products are fruit-based or grain-based they will always be health-oriented,” asserts Mancini. Dole Canada launched a new granola product in 2012 that also aims to replace an indulgent snack with something hearty and wholesome. The Live Right bites come in classic, yet antioxidant-rich flavour combinations, which include dark chocolate coconut, peanut butter banana, cranberry almond and mixed berry almond.
The Dole difference is in the size of the product, which consists of two bite-sized treats packing just under 150 calories total. The soft-baked products have more in common with a cookie in terms of texture, but are made with omega-3 potent flax seed, whole grain oats, walnuts and almonds to stave off hunger with a kick of healthy fats and three grams of protein.
Dole Canada’s healthy snack party isn’t likely to slow down either as the Dole parent company acquired Mrs. May’s Naturals in early 2012, a company specializing in natural snack alternatives. Mrs. Mays’ signature products include the Trio Bar, a snack blending nuts, seeds and dried fruits, as well as the indulgent Chocolate Rounds, which are bite-sized, chocolate-covered morsels of whole grains, nuts, seeds and fruit.
“Mrs. May’s is known for its healthy and often vegan and gluten-free products, which are already in line with the Dole family of products,” adds Mancini. “We plan to launch those products in Canada under the Mrs. May’s name, while incorporating some aspects into Dole packaged products as well.”