Prepared Foods talks with John Furey, senior marketing manager for Breads and Rolls, In-Store Bakery Division, Rich Products Corporation. This private Buffalo, N.Y.-based company manufactures and markets a wide range of products—including frozen par-baked and fully baked breads, rolls and bakery desserts—to all distribution channels. In January 2015, Rich’s introduced Our Specialty Flatbreads, a line of prepackaged flatbreads that retailers merchandise in the in-store bakery department.
Prepared Foods: Congratulations on such an impressive new product line. What research guided your R&D?
John Furey: According to a 2013 Nielsen Perishables Group study, consumer preference in breads has been steadily shifting from regular sandwich breads to flatbreads, tortillas and European-style breads. As audiences continued to move toward more versatile and unique options, Rich Products responded with the introduction of a line of innovative products, “Our Specialty Flatbreads,” to meet the growing demand.
PF: Please tell us more about your offerings.
Furey: Available in stores nationwide as of January 2015, the Our Specialty brand family of flatbreads is made up of 10 retail-packaged, premium varieties, including: Original Naan, Original Pita, Wheat Pita, White Sandwich Flats, Multigrain Sandwich Flats, Garlic Cheese Naan, Original Rustic Flats, Italian Herb Flats, Chipotle Flats, and Garlic and Herb Pizza Crust. This innovative product line serves up unique assortments of textures and flavors, giving consumers countless options for mealtime.
PF: You mentioned “countless options.” Isn’t that the one of the most appealing aspects of these new breads?
Furey: The baked-in, oven-fired hearth flavor and light, fresh taste—combined with product versatility—make these some of the most customizable products on the market. Whether they’re rolled, folded or left flat, they can be enjoyed for any food occasion: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacking or entertaining.
Rich’s recognized consumers’ desires for quick, easy and customizable products and gave them an entire array of flatbreads to satisfy their needs. The flatbreads not only cover an extensive profile of flavors, but also provide shoppers with products that can be used in multiple ways, thanks to the variety of shapes and sizes. They can deliver a warm sandwich rolled up in a Chipotle Flat; a homemade pizza featuring a Garlic & Herb Pizza Crust; or an easy appetizer constructed from sliced Garlic Cheese Naan. The options are endless. In addition to providing consumers with endless mealtime options, Our Specialty Flatbreads also serve up solutions for bakery and deli operators. Shipped frozen and in retail-ready packaging, the flatbreads can simply be thawed and then immediately place on bakery shelves. There’s no preparation required.
PF: This line certainly is a little more unique. Inside Rich’s, what groups were involved in the overall process?
Furey: The Our Specialty Flatbreads were the result of cross-functional efforts, with contributions by the following Rich’s teams: R&D, Customer Shopper Marketing, Product Marketing, Plant Operations, and Packaging and Graphics.