Calavo Growers, Inc. (Nasdaq-GS: CVGW) today announced that it has created FreshRealm, LLC, a technology company building a platform for everyone who is in the fresh food business—or would like to be—to enable them to do their job more effectively. Calavo will be the majority shareholder with a few key strategic minority partners. Terms were not further disclosed.
FreshRealm’s technology platform will allow participants such as traditional retailers, large and small enterprises, communities and food banks to plug in to an ecosystem resembling a national fresh food cooperative. FreshRealm will not sell direct to consumers but instead will serve as the engine that connects participants to a network of regional fresh food producers.
FreshRealm is being led by Michael R. Lippold, Calavo’s Director of Strategic Development. “Fresh, healthy food should be more accessible in every corner of our country. There are no ‘Internet deserts’ in the United States. It is time for an end to fresh food deserts, too,” said Lippold. "We’re excited to connect best-in-class fresh food and logic to enable that shift."
Lee E. Cole, Calavo’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “FreshRealm is a natural extension of Calavo’s long-term participation in food that is fresh and good for you.” FreshRealm’s strategic relationship with Calavo will allow FreshRealm to immediately operate as an institutionally backed company both financially and operationally.
By logically connecting the dots in the fresh food industry, FreshRealm is able to create business value while also greatly reducing food waste. Built into their ecosystem is a plan to gift surplus food to the people and places that need it most. “By acting in their own best interests, participants can help others as they help themselves. We feel like we have a business model that is prosperous for us, for other businesses, and helps us all collectively,” said Lippold.