Co-Packaged Food products
From energy bars to popcorn, Claremont Foods manufactures and distributes products for some of the biggest names in the natural and organic food production industry. Launched by Cioth in 2011, the company is a co-packer that manufactures and packages primarily natural foods for its undisclosed clients. In addition to energy bars and popcorn, Claremont makes and packages puff snacks and dehydrated vegetables.
Cioth and company strive to stay on the front end of industry trends. Claremont recently added pure chocolate enrobing equipment that enables it to coat a variety of products with pure chocolate, as opposed to compound chocolate found on most energy bars and candy. "Having the ability to apply pure chocolate is fairly unique in the industry," says Cioth.
Claremont's 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Boulder County is certified as SQF (safe quality food) Level 2, the highest standard of food safety in the industry. The company also has a 20,000-square-foot distribution center in Broomfield County.
"We source the materials, produce the products, and ship them," Cioth says. "We like to manage the whole process so we can control it in the end. Being in Colorado, we're fairly in the middle of the country. That's kind of nice from a distribution point of view."
The strategy dovetails into a market that's going nowhere but up. U.S. food sales growth is forecast at 2.9 percent (compound annual growth rate) through 2022, according to the 2016 Food Packaging Trends and Advances report from PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. The study forecasts that meat and related products and snack foods will outperform the market with more than 3 percent growth because of consumer demand for portion control and convenience options.
Cioth, who was an owner of Fresca Foods before leaving to start Claremont, says the food industry's strength can largely be attributed to consumers' desire to know where their food comes from. "One nice thing about food is that people don't want to outsource food production offshore," he says. "They want it made in the U.S. We're talking with a client now that wants to move production from Asia to the U.S."
Challenges: Food safety issues present the biggest challenge for Claremont. "The regulatory environment is changing with the Federal Food Safety Modernization Act that [President Barack] Obama passed a few years ago and is starting to be implemented," Cioth says. "The requirements are constantly being increased."
Opportunities: Claremont's challenge with food safety requirements also gives the company it's biggest opportunity. "As certain companies struggle with the new food-safety requirements -- companies that are less nimble and less willing and able to adapt -- it's an opportunity for us to compete effectively," Cioth says.
Claremont's relatively small size also is attractive to clients who want to produce smaller volumes of new products to test the market. "The product innovation cycle is requiring manufacturers to be more nimble and run smaller volumes with a shorter lead time," Cioth says. "We're talking with some pretty big-name companies that are interested in leveraging our capabilities around our flexible manufacturing model."
Needs: Cioth says Claremont needs access to high-quality employees and in a few years will need more space and equipment. "One of the really important things about our company is our culture," he says. "Our culture is our biggest competitive advantage at the end of the day. We're a 24/7 operation. You need to know that the person who's here at 2 a.m. on Saturday is doing the right thing."