Mark Duffy Takes the Reins at Universal Pasteurization and Cold Storage

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAS9AAAAJGExMGMzMzViLWIzMTgtNGY4MC1hOTA3LTI4NDc5NGYyZTAyZAUniversal Pasteurization and Cold Storage, the world’s largest provider of high pressure processing (HPP) tolling services, has a new CEO. Last week the company announced that Mark Duffy has replaced Melanie Galloway, who took the reins as CEO in November 2014.

Duffy heads to to Universal after spending two years as chief revenue officer and executive vice president of flavor manufacturer FONA International. Prior to that Duffy served as vice president and general manager of ConAgra Foods. His résumé also includes seven years as president of Griffith Laboratories and 13 years at Nestle.

“It is an honor to join the Universal family,” Duffy said in a press release. “I feel privileged to support the Universal team as we focus on serving our customers and ensuring their business success. We will be relentless in our commitment to food safety and quality, preserving our customers’ great tasting products, supporting the demand for cleaner labels, and providing our superior cold storage value-added services.”

Duffy doubled down on the excitement in a call with BevNET Thursday, calling HPP a sustainable, long-term growing business and pointing to the ever-evolving health-conscious American consumer as evidence of that.

“This business is so relevant today, and it will continue to be so for years to come because of things like the Food Safety Modernization Act and the continued sophistication and expectations of really smart consumers,” he said.    

In April, Universal announced the opening of a new 170,000 square foot facility in Malvern, Pennsylvania, providing 9,000 slots of refrigerated space as well as two Hiperbaric 525L HPP machines, with room for an additional four machines. The new plant is Universal’s fourth, joining its existing tolling facilities in Nebraska, Georgia and Texas. The company has a total of ten HPP machines currently and Duffy said the company will be aggressive in its efforts to expand its operations and earn more business.

“We’ll continue to expand our capacity and commitment to our customers and determine where it makes sense to plant the next flag into the ground and add the next facility or piece of equipment,” Duffy added.

HPP, a no-heat pasteurization process in which food and beverages are treated via 50,000 pounds of applied water pressure, has become increasingly popular in beverage in recent years, with brands like Suja, Harmless Harvest and Evolution Fresh championing the process for delivering the most flavor and nutrition from fruits and vegetables while extending their shelf lives to up to 60 days. Duffy said beverages account for “a very important and significant part of [Universal’s] business.”

Last month, another toll processor, True Fresh HPP, added a second Hiperbaric 525 HPP machine to its 60,000 square foot HPP processing facility in Buena Park, California, becoming the largest provider on the West Coast. The company says it plans to add two more Hiperbaric models in early 2016.   

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the HPP equipment at Universal’s Malvern, Pennsylvania facility. It has since been corrected.