Good Foods Group LLC
Title: CEO and founder
Address: 10100 88th Ave., Pleasant Prairie
After college, Kurt Penn found a job in the food industry. It was the mid-’90s and the shift to clean and healthy eating was just beginning. Whole Foods began opening stores, and Penn saw an emergence in the industry.
“I was shopping in those stores. I thought, what a great concept it was to be able to provide better choices and cleaner labels,” Penn said.
Penn says he also recognized that the shelves in those stores had room for more product. He took his food background and experience and tried to fill that void in the marketplace.
A serial food entrepreneur was born.
Penn founded Penn Valley Farms in 1994. The firm specialized in the creation of natural, organic chicken sausages and deli products.
He eventually sold the company to what is now Perdue Farms Inc.
Penn was later introduced to high-pressure processing, and brought the technology to his love for better, natural foods.
“High-pressure processing was a newer technology to the food industry,” he said. “It felt to me, at the time, that it was the future of refrigerated foods. I wanted to deliver that to the consumer.”
In 2007, Penn founded the Good Foods Group, a natural foods company that harnesses the power of HPP to produce chemical-free foods that don’t sacrifice flavor or quality.
“We pride ourselves on the fact that our food is delicious, natural and healthy,” Penn said.
Good Foods is currently running three shifts, and recently completed a 40,000-square-foot expansion of its Pleasant Prairie location.
It’s one of the largest HPP manufacturing facilities in the world, and produces cold press juices, guacamoles, greek yogurt dips and salads, as well as Moe’s Southwest Grill and Chef Earl products. In order to support the company’s continued growth and increase efficiencies, Good Foods has invested in more HPP machines and other equipment. The firm also has an additional five acres set aside for future expansion, Penn said.
Penn continues to see opportunities for growth – both in the Good Foods brand of products and as more restaurant groups look to deliver higher quality products with cleaner ingredients.
Penn sees opportunities for the company’s approach to nutrition and the HPP technology in the quick service markets, including schools, hospitals and airports.
“Our goal is to provide consumers better choices, wherever they get food,” he said.
Good Foods supports retail customers including Whole Foods, Roundy’s, Costco, Hyvee, Kroger and Target, among others, throughout the U.S. and Canada.
“Our customers are all very important to us,” Penn said. “We’ve assembled a great team here at Good Foods. The people that are behind the scenes here are the ones who’ve really earned this honor. Our success is a direct result of the work they do.”