Schwan’s taking on e-commerce opportunities

Launching of frozen food one- to two-day ground shipping network starts in Marshall

Submitted photo

MARSHALL — On March 19, 1952, 23-year-old Marvin Schwan packed up his “beat-up 1946 Dodge panel van with 14 gallons of his family’s ice cream and delivered it to rural families in western Minnesota.”

That’s the story that is told on the Schwan’s company website.

Today, the Schwan’s story continues. That same website touts that the Schwan’s Company is a multibillion-dollar company with more than 7,500 employees nation wide. Today, Schwan’s still maintains a major presence in Marshall, as well in Bloomington. And the company is growing and adapting with the growing food service landscape.

The first big recent change came when CJCJ purchased a majority stake in Schwan’s Company and specific subsidiaries that focus on foods sold in retail and grocery channels as well as food-service venues. The sale also included the company’s manufacturing and logistics operations and various professional and administrative services. The Schwan family retained a minority stake in the portion of the business sold to CJCJ, and also maintains 100% ownership in Schwan’s Home Service, Inc.

Last month, the company announced another new phase with the launching of a new nationwide frozen food distribution network out of its facility in Marshall.

The 3rd party fulfillment program is called Cygnus Frozen 3PL. Cygnus Home Service, LLC is the legal name of Schwan’s Home Service only. Schwan’s Home Service is the consumer-facing name of the business. Cygnus is the Latinized Greek word for swan which is the logo for the Schwan’s Company.

Cygnus’ mission is to help more frozen food companies capture e-commerce opportunities by offering a national one- to two-day ground shipping network, allowing the company to serve as a true strategic fulfillment partner.

Cygnus Frozen 3PL clients ship their frozen inventory to Cygnus’ national distribution center in Marshall. From there, Cygnus distributes the inventory to its 10 fulfillment centers across the country.

The Marshall plant can be used without any alterations. “Our national distribution center is in Marshall,” said Tarsha Rice, the public relations manager for Schwan’s Shared Services, LLC. “It has plenty of capacity to grow the third-party fulfillment program without expanding the facility or any of our other fulfillment centers across the country.”

Online grocery delivery is a booming market.

“Online grocery is projected to quadruple in size by 2023,” said Joe Kirby, Schwan’s Home Service president. “The e-commerce opportunity for frozen food brands is massive, but very few third-party-logistics companies specialize in direct-to-consumer frozen fulfillment. We want to help frozen brands go direct to consumers like never before. We have a turnkey frozen e-commerce fulfillment solution that reaches the entire country in one to two days ground, plus unmatched logistics and food safety expertise we’ve built from more than 65 years of business.”

As clients market and sell their frozen food online, Cygnus will pick the order in their closest fulfillment center; pack the order securely with dry ice, and then use its third-party network to ship directly to the consumer’s home.

Cygnus’ 10 frozen fulfillment centers can reach the entire U.S. population within two days ground, including one-day ground shipping to more than 70 percent of major metro areas. The company’s 3PL program can accommodate subscription and on-demand business models. And Cygnus can execute these shipments with best-in-class food safety and quality processes Schwan’s Home Service has perfected over more than 67 years in serving its own customer base.

Since January of this year, Cygnus has served as an exclusive, national fulfillment partner to Raised Real, a plant-based frozen baby food subscription service. Cygnus ensures orders are packed according to Raised Real’s brand standards and shipped on time and arrive frozen. “You won’t find a more complete distribution network, or a better partner than Cygnus,” said Steven Kontz, CFO of Raised Real. “They simplify the operational nightmare of managing multiple 3PL partners, and they provide quality service and unmatched care.”