Emelio Castaneda, President, Field Fresh Foods Inc.

Finalist – Food Services

When Emelio Castaneda, president of Field Fresh Foods Inc., was just 5 years old, his family members made the very difficult decision to leave their home, relatives and country for a better life. They fled communist Cuba for Spain, and two years later, they moved to Los Angeles.

Castaneda watched his parents struggle, but they always had a roof over their heads and food on the table. It is the respect for his parents’ experience and conviction that has made him the risk-taking businessman he is today. He is able to use adversity as a learning experience and motivation to persevere. This perseverance has caused the growth of Field Fresh Foods to become a leader in the industry of produce processing.

Castaneda has brought a fresh business dynamic to the fresh-cut produce industry. By focusing his company on fulfilling the needs of his customers, Field Fresh Foods has developed a corporate culture and built an organization that quickly innovates in response to the needs of the marketplace. As an example, there is currently a growing need for healthy school snacks that can meet new U.S. Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines for schoolchildren. Castaneda has directed his company to develop and market a line of products that cater to this market.

Castaneda believes the future success of the community starts with children. He has been very generous to the schools both with his time and resources. He has funded the tuition of many needy students and donates to the enhancement initiatives of various schools. He also has hosted field trips to teach students the importance of eating right and has volunteered his time to several schools.

How to reach: Field Fresh Foods Inc., www.fieldfresh.com