Like I promised a few days ago, here is an another interview with major long term food supplier. Here is what Chris Ondatje from Honeyville Farms has to say.
Chris – Thanks very much for reaching out. I’ve answered the questions you posed as clearly as possible. We do have a pretty diverse product line, so for the sake of clarity, I’m answering the questions based on the #10 Food Storage Cans that we offer, which seems to fit your intended audience the best. Thanks for the opportunity. Please let me know if I can answer any additional questions.
How long have you been in the food business?
Chris – Honeyville is a privately held, family-owned business in operation since 1951. So, in short, 63 years.
What is your main motivation for staying in business?
Chris – General preparedness is an important tenet within our employee group and ownership. Food storage was a natural cross-over from the wholesale commodity trade that is at the core of our business. We strive to make food storage of the very best quality available to the public. We do aim to make a profit so as to grow and sustain the great Honeyville team and their families.
Do you have a military background?
Chris – I do not personally, but many of our valuable Honeyville team members are ex-military.
What Brands of Food do you sell?
Chris – Within the Food Storage market we mostly stick with our own branded product in #10 cans and smaller, pint-sized cans. We do support those products with offerings from Wise, Nutriom, Water Brick, Life Straw and other brands we trust.
What is your favorite brand?
Chris – My personal favorites are the Freeze Dried Meats (Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Ham, Sausage, etc.) under the Rancher’s Cut Honeyville brand.
What is the oxygen level in the brands of foods that you carry?
Chris – We use Oxygen Absorbers in every sealed can, so we’re getting 0.2% residual oxygen and better than that in some cases.
Has your food been independently tested?
Chris – Yes. Our facilities are SQF Level 2 (Safe Quality Foods) Certified, in addition to a number of 3rd party, industry certified standards required to produce food at the highest possible quality level. We send out product for 3rd party lab testing to ensure that we are consistently delivering on our product specifications.
Why doesn’t nitrogen flush work?
Chris – I don’t think that nitrogen flushing doesn’t work. I just think that it has to be properly done and frequently tested. We don’t currently use nitrogen flushing, but we may add it to the mix, in addition to our oxygen absorber protocol.
What method do the brands that you carry use to control the oxygen levels?
Chris – Oxygen absorbers.
Are there Chinese foods in the products you sell?
Chris – We steer clear of China and the Orient. It means that we run out of domestic supply from time to time, but we stand behind the products we sell and are not comfortable with the FD Fruits, Veggies, and Meats coming out of China to date.
What about foods from Mexico or other countries?
Chris – In an effort to offer great produce year-round, you have to look outside of the US to Europe and South America. We’ve had consistently great results with produce from these areas and, of course, our predominantly US domestic product.
What would you warn consumers to look for in purchasing foods?
Chris – Be sure to compare apples to apples. Freeze dried food storage is expensive. That said, not all FD product is created equal. Make sure you have a vendor that you and others trust. Know where your food is coming from, and shop based on that information and price per ounce. Bottom line: buy from a company that absolutely stands behind their product.
Why do you think people should buy long-term storage foods?
Chris – We’re not a doom and gloom company. That’s just not our style. Food storage is just smart policy. It’s a way to prepare for the unknown, store a little peace of mind, and hedge the cost of food. When was the last time you said, “Remember 10 years ago when milk and eggs were so much less expensive?” It just doesn’t happen.
What size serving do the foods you carry have?
Chris – Most of our food storage products are sold in #10 cans. A #10 can holds about 10 – 12 cups of product. Most freeze dried products have a serving size of ¼ to ½ a cup.
Why should people buy from you?
Chris – We have a 63 year track record of honesty and integrity within the food commodity world. We absolutely stand behind the food we peddle, the lightning-fast shipping from our 2 Distribution Centers, and an eagerness to make certain that you get what you pay for.
Chris Ondatje, Vice President – ECommerce, Honeyville, Inc.