Sixty years ago, Kenneth Fox Supply Co. came to fruition.
It’s a story that, if I have anything to say about it, will quickly become legend in our industry. Kenneth Fox, Founder, was spreading his wings and coming into his own as a businessman after having previously worked for another packaging company, operating several different territories within four states across the United States. But, like many in our industry, he turned his eyes south and saw an opportunity in Texas.
Aaron Fox speaks of his father with admiration as the Executive Vice President tells me the story of his father’s foundation, and of how he laid the groundwork for what would become Fox Packaging and Fox Solutions.
Throughout our conversation, a recurring thread unfolds, detailing how family remains an advantage and a centerpiece as the company continues to build upon that foundation.
“My parents moved to McAllen, Texas, with four children. My father, Kenneth, utilized his packaging experience and identified the many agricultural opportunities available in South Texas,” Aaron shares. “At the time, citrus and potatoes were packed into large crates and then loaded onto trucks. My father introduced the packaging concept and ultimately developed the first industry Polypropylene, a woven mesh Fox Leno bag, to assist in this process.”
Fox Packaging had humble beginnings, with Kenneth utilizing older equipment and borrowed space in the back of a McAllen carrot shed.
“Today, things look a little different for us,” Aaron tells me. “Not only have we become a leader in flexible packaging solutions, but we now service produce customers across North and South America. Our facility has five buildings with remote representation in both packaging and packing automation equipment through sales representatives and partnerships across the U.S.”
Aaron takes a beat to reflect.
“It wasn’t always easy,” he reminds me, as it rarely is in our industry. The company has seen its fair share of challenges throughout its 60-year run, but Fox is all the stronger for them.
“Anyone in the fresh produce industry will tell you that the biggest challenges are the external factors, such as Mother Nature and supply chain impacts. This industry is constantly in transition, yet the goal has always remained the same—make sure good food reaches communities with quality intact,” Aaron adds. “Keeping up with customers’ needs in this ever-changing industry can be challenging, and we strive to communicate with transparency and honesty. Consumers are increasingly aware of how products complement their lifestyles, and, as partners, it is our responsibility to be advocates, offering peace of mind to packaging buyers who aim to serve those needs.”
Over the years, communication has become a critical element of Fox Packaging’s operations. It’s a lesson imparted from Kenneth, who, after recently celebrating his 90th birthday, offered sincere words of advice: Remember that you’re not always the smartest person in the room and value relationships—personally and professionally.
As a packaging pioneer, the Fox team understands that innovation is inspired by gaps, and that the majority of those gaps are identified by listening to your customers.
“It’s critical to competition,” Aaron emphasizes. “We’ve spent the last five decades developing one-of-a-kind bag designs that reduce product damage, showcase the natural beauty of fresh produce, and provide a beautiful foundation for branding and artwork—all while supporting the extended shelf-life of products. This can be credited to our relationship with our customers and to keeping a watchful eye on the market.”
Throughout its tenure, Fox Packaging has looked at the marketplace with one goal in mind: to provide fresh produce packers and shippers with flexible packaging solutions that not only achieve cost savings through operational efficiencies, but also positively affect the bottom line with increased demand from retail buyers.
“We encourage our customers to think of Fox Packaging as an extension of their brand, rather than thinking of us as merely a packaging supplier. Whether they are introducing a new pouch program or rebranding an existing product, there is always a way to capitalize on a packaging program that contributes to the story a brand wants to tell,” Aaron remarks.
Thoughtful product design delivers a host of advantages to both suppliers and retailers. As Aaron tells me, convenience is the result of such an endeavor, and as automation technology advances, packaging will continue to be a design of preference for both buyers and consumers.
One example of this is how the company develops its products with environmental mindfulness. This is due, in part, to the current focus on sustainability across nearly every aspect of the industry, but also because it’s par for the course for the innovative spirit of Fox.
“Our team has a tremendous sense of urgency and drive toward innovation,” Aaron shares. “We remain informed of what is happening in the marketplace and are dedicated to being like-minded partners for our customers and a resource for any questions that our industry may have. As a domestic packaging partner, Fox Packaging can alleviate the expenditure and lead times when compared to imported packaging. With many companies experiencing the current challenges of the supply chain, partnering with Fox can be a solution to these industry hurdles.”
In other words, Fox pursues alliances—another tenet of the company strategy as the number of suppliers it onboards becomes increasingly important in how it moves forward. His mentality goes beyond the bag and into packing equipment via wicketed baggers, pouch baggers, Newtec Weighers, Intec Palletizers, and Redpack® flow wrappers.
“We strive to be a one-stop shop for customers by having circular relationships within our industry and by understanding the supply chain to be the solution,” Aaron notes.
With 60 years under its belt, the packaging provider has learned how to conduct itself as a thought leader.
“Our team has a tremendous sense of urgency and drive toward innovation. We remain informed of what is happening in the marketplace and are dedicated to being like-minded partners for our customers...”
Aaron Fox, Executive Vice President, Fox Packaging and Fox Solutions
“My father was able to build his brand and legacy alongside his family,” Aaron says. “We know how much it means to him. He’s been able to surround himself with people who are equally as passionate about the work as he is, and my father has seen his family grow the business and take ownership of it. We’ve always been known as Fox Packaging and Fox Solutions, but at the end of the day we are just Fox.”
It’s the family name that keeps innovation and progress soldiering forward. As Aaron noted earlier, pursuing a top position in business is so much more than simply being in the mix. The pinnacle of competitive business is a fine line to walk, and it’s one Fox navigates with grace and trailblazing speed. Not only has the company maintained its outstanding reputation, but it has continued to conduct itself with great responsibility—for the last 60 years and for many more to come.