Salad Days for EFS Network

Ventura Foods seeks hidden valleys of cost savings by investing in foodservice industry solution provider

Chicago  October 4, 2002  Salad dressing producer Ventura Foods has invested in and signed a multi-year participation agreement with EFS Network, a provider of supply chain efficiency solutions for the foodservice industry.

In addition, Rick Mazer, chief operating officer of Ventura Foods, will be an observer on EFS' board of directors.

Foodservice giants Cargill, SYSCO, Tyson Foods and McDonald's, through it's eMac Digital joint venture with Accel-KKR, formed the Electronic Foodservice Network (EFS Network) in July 2000 as an independent B2B e-marketplace to facilitate sales and purchases to the foodservice industry.

Currently EFS positions itself as an industry-centric solution provider targeting manufacturers, distributors and operators in the foodservice sphere. EFS' initial product, its Order Management Solution, has been live since December 2001, with a number of distributors and suppliers trading through the solution.

Ventura is a major U.S. supplier of salad dressings and sauces and is the largest foodservice manufacturer of margarines and butter blends. Its brands include the Hidden Valley salad dressings, among others.

"We took a long, hard look at EFS, and, after significant due diligence, we are confident that EFS' knowledge base, current products and vision for the future will add great value to Ventura and the industry as a whole," said Mazer.

Mazer added that Ventura would use the network in an effort to reduce its costs and improve its trade relationships.

Beyond its order management offering, EFS said it plans solutions that will address the industry's requirements associated with contract and rebate management, transportation services, knowledge management and collaborative demand planning.