WADA MARKETING, FARM FRESH DIRECT ANNOUNCE JOINT VENTURE

Published online: Apr 08, 2008 Bob Meek, Wada Farms Marketing Group
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Wada Farms Marketing Group, LLC of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Farm Fresh Direct, LLC of Monte Vista, Colo., have announced the formation of Category Partners, LLC a joint venture marketing organization.


The new organization is designed to better enable these two suppliers to support the changing needs of retailers, foodservice operators, wholesalers and today's new consumer.


"We will continue to operate our businesses and sales offices as separate entities," said Bob Meek, CEO of Wada Farms Marketing Group, "but we are seeing a real need to provide value-add services to our customers beyond great products, and felt we had to add a higher level of marketing to effectively compete in today's changing environment."  


"While we are two separate businesses, both our organizations saw an opportunity to improve our category management and marketing approaches to support our customers" said Jim Knutzon, president of Farm Fresh, "and in today's economy it didn't make sense for both of us to build an infrastructure to meet those needs."   


According to Meek, Category Partners will focus on category management, promotion and innovative products and packaging, all with a consumer focus.


"Both our firms have paid a great deal of attention to production, great product and superior service," Knutzon added, "but as rapidly as the market and consumer is changing we knew we had to include another facet to our organizations to succeed in the long term." 


It was also announced that Mac Johnson, most recently vice president of domestic marketing for the United States Potato Board, will head the new venture as president and CEO.


Johnson has been at the Potato Board for eight years directing the retail, chip and research and innovation programs, and prior to working on the Board held senior marketing positions at Tom's Foods, General Mills, Beatrice Foods and Ketchum Advertising. 


"This is an exciting opportunity to work with two of the industry's most successful and aggressive suppliers, and hopefully support their efforts with my 38-plus years of marketing experience, and stay in an industry where I have made a lot of friends," Johnson said.


Johnson will begin his position with Category Partners April 16.  


Category Partners, LLC will headquarter in
Denver, Colo. For further information contact Bob Meek, CEO of Wada Farms Marketing 208-542-2898 or Jim Knutzon, president of Farm Fresh Direct 719- 852-2600.

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