Remember those drawings where you create an image simply by connecting a series of dots? Here’s a case where General Mills Foodservice easily connected the dots for a winning new product idea.


For starters, it knows restaurant foodservice patrons prefer croissants on menus and, secondarily, that chocolate is a top flavor choice within sweet goods. Likewise, General Mills knows operators face ongoing battles of on-premise storage, skilled labor, product prep time and waste.

Although it didn’t take long to add up those insights, General Mills admits it took a while to formulate, test, and ultimately develop new Pillsbury Freezer-to-Oven Chocolate Swirled Croissants from General Mills Foodservice. Equally suited to both commercial and non-commercial operations, the croissants debuted this January 2023 after two years in development.

“Customers continue to tell us how hard it is to find and keep skilled labor and turn out consistent, high-quality baked goods,” says Christine O'Connor, associate principal scientist. “Our products provide operators with ready-to-bake chocolate croissants that can be made in 30 minutes or less. Moreover, operators don’t have to worry about thawing or proofing. The croissants can go straight from the freezer to the oven and can be baked off in whatever quantity is needed. We tell customers, ‘They are ready to bake when you are!’”

Better Baking: The Behind-the-Scenes Story

“For this particular product, there was a significant amount of testing from the pilot plant all the way to full plant-scale production,” notes O'Connor. “It took several years and many experiments to find the right freezer-to-oven technology parameters and balance the ratios of chocolate to butter. In the end, our freezer-to-oven format is a major point of market differentiation.”

O’Connor says the freezer-to-oven breakthrough literally resulted in a new technology for General Mills. Perhaps no less challenging was how formulators worked with chocolate in everything from flavor delivery to a visual chocolate swirl.

O’Connor notes, “Pillsbury Freezer-to-Oven Chocolate Swirled Croissants are rustic, European-style croissants with 48 flaky layers and we selected Barry Callebaut’s decadent, semi-sweet, Belgian-style chocolate. In the end, our team strived to ensure that chocolate was swirled into every bite as a distinguishing attribute of this product. Visually speaking, you can see chocolate without ever taking a bite and once you bite in, there’s a gooey chocolate center.”

And the product benefits don’t stop there.

“Available in 1.5oz or 3oz sizes, these croissants feature proprietary technology that allows them to be packed and stored flat to maximize freezer space,” O’Connor adds. “Through rigorous testing, we identified a process that entails chocolate folded into the croissants to achieve the visual appearance.  After this step, we curled and pressed the croissants over a series of steps to flatten them. We conducted many experiments to dial in the exact processing parameters—how much to flatten while we still maintain the final desired quality. The result is a croissant that can be stored flat but that still rises beautifully.”

She concludes, “This product helps foodservice operations serve scratch-like croissants on an as-needed basis—whether baking off two or 200—even with no advance planning.”