Core-Mark Ups the Ante on Freshness

Core-Mark Holding Co. Inc., one of the largest and most valued marketers of fresh and broad-line supply solutions to the convenience industry in North America, unveiled its new brand initiative and visual identity. This re-branding affirms Core-Mark’s commitment to its “fresh” initiatives and to the importance of this category to its customers and the industry.

In 2005, Core-Mark recognized the emerging convenience consumer trends toward fresh product offerings. The impact of the movement in Europe coupled with initiatives of industry leading retailers in the U.S. led the company to begin building the necessary infrastructure to handle highly perishable consumer products with quality and reliability.

In the past three years, Core-Mark has invested millions of dollars and assembled the necessary components to properly serve this fresh movement, including:
* In-house expertise for sourcing the right product and for creating effective retail marketing programs;
* Facility and fleet modifications to upgrade and enhance the cold supply chain, including chill docks;
* State-of the-art ordering devices to improve the simplicity and accuracy of ordering “fresh” while minimizing inventory costs; and most importantly,
* Experience gained in working with both suppliers and retailers of “fresh” over recent years.

The distributor was the first to initiate several industry leading initiatives, including a turn-key, open-air cooler program featuring national brands of juices, salads, fluid dairy, value-added fruits and vegetables and other fresh items.

Focus on Perishables
Core-Mark and other distributors have been in the frozen and refrigerated business for many years, supplying fast foods and certain grocery staples.

“We recognized that, in order to source, market, and properly handle this new wave of highly perishable product, we had to create another level of capability, across all aspects of the business, from fleet specifications to organization expertise,” said Michael Walsh, President and CEO of Core-Mark.

Today, for example, over 40% of Core-Mark’s 700 tractor-trailer fleet consists of tri-temp trailers. The dual-temps, which distributors traditionally use, don’t meet Core-Mark’s standards of providing quality assurance for the new, highly perishable products now in demand.

Having made the investment and gained the experience, the company is adopting a fresh image commensurate with its capabilities and the demands of the convenience retail industry.

“Fresh” convenience retail leaders have relied on self-distribution methods to augment their traditional supply chain sources. Core-Mark believes that higher delivery frequency service provided by the primary/broadline supplier represents a quicker and more cost effective alternative to enable all convenience retailers to partake in the fresh movement.

Connecting fresh bakery and fresh commissary items to the convenience retail offering are but two examples of Core-Mark’s focus in helping its customers bridge the gap to fresh.

“Not too many years ago,” Walsh said, “the notion of a broadline distributor handling milk would have warranted little or no consideration. Today, we enthusiastically and effectively service over 3,500 convenience retail stores with milk, ranging from full service to no frills, as determined by our customers.”

Core-Mark’s newly rebranded website, featuring the new logo, truck design, and examples of its “fresh” programs, is available for viewing at www.core-mark.com.

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