By Amanda Allie
April 26, 2012
The oldest natural and organic food company in North America just added something new - a store featuring more than 300 Eden Food products and the only retail location in the world to carry 100 percent of Eden’s entire line of natural, organic, ethnic, gourmet, specialty, macrobiotic and kosher foods.
With Clinton, Mich.-based Eden Foods being a leader in the organic food industry for more than 40 years, we talked to Michael Potter, president since 1970, to find out his secret to success. He was on hand for the opening of the new retail outlet in Clinton. But first, some background.
Eden Foods began in Ann Arbor in the late 1960s with friends sourcing natural food, according to its website www.edenfoods.com. They were motivated by a study of macrobiotics: Eating a diet of whole grain and seasonal local plant foods that are not nutrient depleted and without toxic chemical adulteration.
In 1972, Eden opened its first warehouse and established relations with artisan Japanese traditional food makers. Imports of sea vegetables, teas, miso, shoyu, umeboshi plums, kuzu root starch, rice vinegar, rice bran pickles, mirin and more followed, and this solidified Eden as an important natural food source for the United States and Canada.
In addition to being the oldest natural and organic food company in North America, Eden Foods is the largest independent manufacturer of dry grocery organic foods.
In 2008, Eden completed a 70,000 square foot Michigan warehouse addition at its headquarters in Clinton. In 2009, Eden Foods was selected as the best food company in the world, and the third best company overall by The Better World Shopping Guide.
Eden Foods has annual revenue of $44.7 million, according to Hoover’s Inc. Eden’s subsidiaries include American Soy Products, Eden Organic Pasta, New Meridian Canning, and Sobaya. In the 1980s it became the first major distributor of soy milk in the U.S.
Focus has been key to Eden’s success, Potter told Corp!
Corp!: It is obvious that you have been very successful. What would you say has been your best business decision thus far?