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Innovating On The Edge: Capabilities For Branded Growth

CHICAGO – With three independent areas of its North American business, the Wornick Foods division of Baxters Food Group is excited to engage with attendees at this year’s PLMA show seeking solutions in Co-Manufacturing support and strategic partnership for their Brands.

With a strong reputation in collaborative and tailored innovation with its co-manufacturing business, Wornick Foods has been a legacy player in the space of helping Branded players accelerate their opportunities in category innovation. “We’ve been pleased to be part of this show for over ten years and have a reputation in the industry for leveraging our flexible manufacturing model to help deliver on our partners’ needs,” said Jack Fields, Vice President of Wornick Co-Manufacturing.

“And, we’re continuing to increase our focus in this area of our business,” Fields expands. “The past few years have been a really great expansion of our capabilities – and partnerships – in some really innovative and unexpected areas that aren’t necessarily associated with the ‘classic’ Grocery or Retail segments. In fact, one of those areas has been in the vein of Functional Nutrition and Enteral feeding solutions. With predicted growth in this category, and our capabilities in great tasting, SQF Level 3-certified quality food, we are positioned to continue to grow in this market segment and accelerate innovation in a variety of package types and formulations.”

So why the focus here? “If you look at the data, we have an aging population and a rise in chronic conditions that surround specific needs for dietary and feeding constraints. Added, certain reports showed the market opportunity to be just north of $4 Billion in 2016 with a projected CAGR of 7%. So, we see our flexible packaging capabilities as a method to work with Branded partners to deliver innovation to meet this growth trend with tangible – and affordable solutions – across their various channels of trade” Fields confirms.

Fields expands, “The other aspect that we see as mission critical isn’t just about the production capability to manufacture for a Brand in the Enteral Feeding market; it’s also about how we innovate to deliver together to create new offerings in a space that’s growing dramatically. One thing we’ve seen is that legacy offerings have been very clinical and not necessarily reflective of more ‘whole food’ options. Because we have the capability to use real, fresh ingredients and even validate them as Organic, we can deliver a solution in this space that doesn’t just deliver on daily nutrition values, but can do so with a cleaner and more legible ingredient deck. We see that as a key need state as this format becomes more widely embraced.”

And what does this mean for where the Wornick Foods Co-Manufacturing business is going? “Honestly, while we’re excited about the opportunity we’re seeing for products in the Enteral space, we’re just as passionate about our Branded partners’ focus in mainstream products like Soup, Rice & Grains and Baby Food,“ Fields summarizes. “Our mission is simple: we want to be an innovation partner for Brands that have a clear purpose and need help bringing that ideal to life. That’s why our theme for this year’s PLMA made so much sense. We want to deliver a real solution for an ideal offering. That’s where we have been most successful and what will keep us on the leading edge.”