Chill factor

| Print |  Email
Articles - July/August 2012
Monday, July 09, 2012

 

0712 Tactics 01
// Photo by Adam Bacher

Several industry and economic trends are helping sustain and grow the company. Uncertainty — social, economic or political — apparently is a positive indicator for the food-processing industry. “We watch gold, guns and grocery,” Merryman says. “If those things are going up, that means there’s turmoil out there and that means people are buying food.” Mountain House has experienced double-digit growth annually for the past three years, and OFD has experienced companywide growth since 2009.

A growing nationwide preoccupation with emergency preparedness is another angst-driven market booster. “It could be a tornado, it could be a hurricane, but people are concerned,” Merryman says, and they want nutritious food that doesn’t require electricity if the power goes out. OFD also is capitalizing on interest in healthy convenience food by test-marketing its own freeze-dried meals — beef stew, lasagna — for everyday family use. At the same time, the company intends to invest more heavily in Mountain House, focusing in part on new ways of meeting backpackers’ twin objectives: more protein and less weight.

In the 21st century, freeze-dried isn’t just for food anymore. A market leader in freeze-dry technology, OFD has dabbled in a wide variety of products in the past decade, including nanoparticles, rocket fuel and probiotics. One of the biggest growth areas is pharmaceuticals, Merryman says. “We see a lot of products that have been patented over the years that are coming off of patent looking for a new delivery system.” More specifically, OFD will focus on alternatives to drug injections, including oral delivery, a method that will be further developed at the new manufacturing facility.

Scheduled to be completed in 2013, the pharmaceutical plant reflects the company’s desire to grow locally, a community-based philosophy that dates to 1986. That’s when a group of employees including Merryman purchased OFD, which had transitioned through two owners, 7UP and Philip Morris. Today OFD’s strategic focus on core house-branded products is another example of the company’s locally grown priorities. Not that the food processor is trading diversification for the monotony that sometimes plagues other food producers.

“I have a lot of friends in the food business,” says Merryman, who got his start at OFD scrubbing floors in 1974. “When you’re running corn, you’re running corn, and when you’re running beans, you’re running beans. We make over 450 products, and every day is something new and different.”

Linda Baker is the managing editor of Oregon Business. She can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



 

More Articles

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

Leading with the right brain

News
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
120914-manderson-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

On the eve of the Portland Ad Federation's Rosey Awards, Matt Anderson, CEO of Struck, talks about the transition from creative director to CEO, the Portland talent pool and whether data is the new black in the creative services sector.


Read more...

Corner Office: Timothy Mitchell

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president.


Read more...

The short list: 4 companies engaged in a battle of the paddles

The Latest
Thursday, December 04, 2014
pingpongthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Nothing says startup culture like a ping pong table in the office, lounge or lobby.


Read more...

Corner Office: Pam Edstrom

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seven tidbits of information from an agency partner and co-founder of Waggener Edstrom in Lake Oswego.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

OB Poll: Wineries and groceries

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

24-winethumbA majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS