Haliburton International Foods

From the pages of Restaurant Franchising
Produce at Its Peak

Not long ago, Haliburton International Foods was wooing a national chain with its IQF fire-roasted vegetables and flash-pasteurized salsas. That chain was content with its vendor until the day that vendor had trouble sourcing an ingredient for a popular menu item. Faced with pulling the item from the menu, the chain asked Haliburton to step in to source the item. Within weeks, Haliburton put everything in place, and the chain became a Haliburton customer. “The customer didn’t miss a beat,” says Jayne Price, director of national accounts at Haliburton. “One shortfall was our windfall. We were in the right place at the right time.”

Haliburton opened in 1992, “with the goal of marrying food science and culinary excellence.” In the years since, the company has grown and developed a proprietary procedure for fire roasting vegetables followed by flash freezing. “We capture flavors in the peak of freshness,” Price says. The company picks and packs during peak harvesting months for flavors that taste fresh year-round.

Haliburton’s products include IQF fire-roasted vegetables, flash-pasteurized salsas and sauces, hummus, dips, and spreads. Many products are custom blends and flavors created by the research and development team working with Haliburton’s chefs.

Haliburton’s targeted clients are multiunit restaurant concepts with more than 100 units. This could be a franchisor, a franchisee operating multi-store businesses across several franchise companies, or groups of franchisees working together to increase their own buying power.

Haliburton opened in 1992 with the goal of marrying food science and culinary excellence.

To get to know the customers’ needs and business, Haliburton uses “Day in the Life of” visits. “We go back-of-house with a concept and work with staff to learn the equipment, cooking techniques, storage, and space. It makes us a better partner. The more we understand how our customers operate, the better we can assist them,” Price says.

“Pricing in the fresh produce market fluctuates by up to 500 percent,” she says, a fluctuation that could ruin the costing model in a multiunit restaurant. Because Haliburton buys vegetables at the peak growing season in several geographic areas, “We can lock in a price for up to a year, which means we can offer a contract to our customers to deliver the quality and quantity they need at a price we agree upon,” allowing customers to factor a set figure into the budget for their food cost.

Haliburton’s products save money by reducing in-house labor costs and cutting food waste. “Restaurants take out just what they need for the shift, or we package some products according to portion size,” Price says, “saving time and money.”

Haliburton designs in-house packaging and makes up labels and boxes as needed and for the exact amount being packaged. “Customers love this. Every morning before the day’s production, we print the boxes with the customer’s logo, the exact number we will need that day, no more. If a client wants to change the case design the next time we are producing product for that client, there are no unused labels. We change the label as needed, get a proof approved, and we start making the new labels (or boxes),” Price says.

Haliburton isn’t ready to rest on its already impressive list of products. The company continues to send culinary and research and development teams out to search for new products and product lines. A recent trip took Haliburton chefs to Mexico with Rick Bayless, a master of Mexican cooking and culture, to learn about new ingredients and new recipes. For another national account, Haliburton created a full line-up of products that came in under 600 calories each.

“Haliburton International Foods continues to grow because we understand our customers and their needs and provide them with solutions,” Price says.

For more information about Haliburton International Foods, visit www.haliburton.net.