Muirhead Canning is featured in Capital Press “The West’s Ag Website” with a great article. Some of the highlights from the article:
- Russell Loughmiller has seen first-hand how the food processing industry has changed over the years. He’s changing with it.
- But Loughmiller, 42, who has been canning peaches, cherries and pears for 11 years, has noticed a steady decline in consumers’ desire for canned goods.
- “That affects me directly. I go into grocery stores and see that canned fruit is shrinking,” he said. “I feel like some of it is generational, and some of it is the availability of fresh fruit year-round.”
- Loughmiller bought the cannery in 2006, and employs 25 people.
- “Local” is also a factor among many consumers. A 2016 study by Duff and Phelps, global corporate financial adviser, found that 53 percent of consumers seek out locally grown or processed food.
- Muirhead Canning caters to that niche — offering local fruit packed with only fruit, water and sugar.
- “Even as (consumers) eat more fresh fruit or get away from canned fruit, there are more opportunities for us as a smaller player to say that this is a local product and local fruit that can be consumed in the winter without being shipped across the country,” Loughmiller said. “There are opportunities there for us.”
- The competition from private labels isn’t there for Muirhead Canning Co. Loughmiller, the owner, said he doesn’t compete with store brands, but rather with home canning. Even though his price is higher than store brands, he says the difference in fruit quality is enough that it hasn’t impacted his business.
- “Private orders keep the company going. When competing in stores the consumers find the price more important,” he said.