Most Innovative Companies #1: Bolthouse Farms
This week, we'll be counting down the last five of what we consider to be the most innovative industrial companies covered in-depth by Manufacturing.net and its sister publications throughout 2013.
Topping our list is Bolthouse Farms, which began in 1915 as a family-owned, commercial vegetable farming operation in western Michigan. In January 2013, Bolthouse Farms unveiled its Innovation Center, which is connected to the Bakersfield facility. The center is designed to help the company accelerate its research and development efforts, as well as enhance its current product offerings. The $5 million, 17,900 square-foot addition houses test kitchens as well as a sensory center, which allows product developers to use the latest technologies.
Bolthouse Farms began in 1915 as a family-owned, commercial vegetable farming operation in western Michigan, supplying carrots to Midwest processors such as Gerber, Campbell’s and Heinz. When William Bolthouse built a fresh carrot cellophane packing facility in 1959, the company marketed the first bagged carrots, called “cellos,” to retailers.
Bolthouse was built on — and still maintains a strong focus — on its carrot products, but the company has greatly expanded its product offerings over the years. In addition to its carrot juice, the company now produces a variety of vegetable and fruit juices, including pomegranate, mango lemonade, an orange-carrot blend and more. A line of smoothies and protein drinks in flavors such as berry, coffee and chocolate also has been developed.
Throughout the next half of the 20th century, Bolthouse expanded its carrot processing operations, selling ready-to-eat cut-and-peeled carrots, as well as carrot juice concentrate. In 2002, the company began using organic carrot farming methods, and the next year, Bolthouse built a state-of-the-art bottling facility in Bakersfield, Calif., to package its premium juices and smoothies, which now serves as the company’s only manufacturing plant.
The company began manufacturing its yogurt-based refrigerated salad dressings in 2007. The yogurt base is designed to lower the calorie content of the dressings while preserving a high quality, creamy taste. For example, Bolthouse’s Creamy Ranch dressing has 45 calories in a two-tablespoon serving. More recently, the company has begun producing vinaigrette dressings, also designed to keep calorie counts down.
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