Krusteaz Professional: the perfect blend of history and innovation

From Krusteaz Professional.

It started with a Seattle bridge club in 1932, when group of women longed for a way to make a hassle-free pie crust. From that simple concept, Krusteaz® (crust-ease) was born and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Since then, Krusteaz has earned the trust and respect of customers with its reliable mixes, ranging from brownies and pancakes to muffins, gravy and specialty recipes. It just made sense, then, for parent company Continental Mills to re-name its foodservice division Krusteaz Professional.

Today, Krusteaz Professional stands out as the primary foodservice baking mix company that allows foodservice operators to create fresh, delicious, home style and high-quality baked goods with minimal time, labor—with no guesswork!

Beyond baking mixes

It’s not enough to depend on 75-years of expertise; Krusteaz Professional is meeting the needs of today’s foodservice directors by asking how they can better serve them, says Greg Sevener, Vice President of Krusteaz Professional.  As a result of extensive research, he says, “we found the best way to connect with our customers was to envision ourselves through their eyes.”

Explains Sevener, “We are elevating service to a different level; we want our customers to look at us at the experts in bakery mixes. But we also want to help them grow their businesses, improve their menus. We provide education, training and culinary support.”

The goal is to help clients reduce cost and improve quality, providing a more satisfying experience for them and in turn, for their own customers.

How exactly, does that work?  When a customer calls Krusteaz with a question or concern about a product, it’s not a random representative on the other end of the phone—it’s Dimitri Ponomarchuk, Krusteaz Professional’s Corporate Executive Chef. Not only will he troubleshoot the problem; as a chef he speaks the language and provides the precise resource needed.

Ponomarchuk spends time on-site with operators, working collaboratively with them – personalized customer service unique to Krusteaz Professional. “We’re not too big, so we’re able to deliver exceptionally high quality product and be very proactive in terms of the marketplace. I’m able to speak to the needs of our customers,” says Ponomarchuk.

Introducing Shepherd’s Grain™: baking mixes with the environment in mind

In response to customers’ growing awareness about sustainability, and in keeping with the values of a company steeped in tradition, Krusteaz Professional partnered with family farmers, “just over the hill from us--in the Pacific Northwest,” says Sevener. In the fall of 2011, Krusteaz launched the Shepherd’s Grain line, made with Food Alliance certified wheat that’s been responsibly and sustainably grown and harvested.

“What these farmers are doing to change the ecosystem is really important for us and for the future,” notes Sevener. “It’s a good fit for our company and for them.”

Shepherd’s Grain mixes are nutrient-rich, simple to prepare…and they taste great. The environmental benefits are significant, but there are attributes from a product stand-point as well.

“I’m interested in the highest quality product with the least amount of impact on the environment. We find there is a higher moisture content from this wheat that renders a better finished product,” says Ponomarchuk.

Ghirardelli®: fine chocolate equals sublime desserts

Consistent with the company’s commitment to high-quality products for discerning palates, Ghirardelli mixes offer operators the chance to create premium desserts, and the flexibility to add their own innovative flair. With their simplicity and high-grade ingredients, Ghirardelli dessert mixes let you “own” your desserts, rich and indulgent, backed by a name you can trust.

Strong foundation, future thinking

Looking ahead, what else can you expect from Krusteaz Professional? “People are looking for better choices: gluten-free, reduction of corn syrup, and use of whole grains,” says Ponomarchuk. “We take it very seriously and it’s gaining momentum.”

In the end, it’s about providing a more satisfying experience for the customer, says Sevener. “We want to be their trusted expert, someone they can call on when they have a question or a problem, even if it’s outside the realm of what we do.”

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
delivery

We offer a food delivery service to students who are too sick to eat at the dining halls. Oftentimes when we’re sick, we want simple, bland food that’s easy to digest. We also include a bottle of water since staying hydrated is super important. Students who have used the sick meal program are very grateful that we offer this service because they don’t have to stress over how they’re going to eat when they’re too sick to come into the dining halls. The program is also important in preventing the spread of illness.

Ideas and Innovation
smoothie

Nurses often mention that at 2 p.m. they are dragging and just trying to get through their 12-hour shift. This winter I will be implementing a 2 p.m. pick-me-up, which will include a smoothie station where they can create their own smoothie to help get them through their shift. It will be filled with energy-boosting ingredients to personalize their own drink, such as bananas, almonds, spinach and even dark chocolate.

Ideas and Innovation
chili

Winter is when our guests frequently crave something comforting and hearty, and chili is great for that. Our plan is to boost guest engagement this winter by inviting them to design a unique chili experience. The guest chooses the type of chili first, then the vessel: bowl, bread or potato. Next, they customize their dish even further by choosing the toppings, which will be categorized as traditional, creamy, crunch or heat. The wild card, crunch and heat categories, are where my team and I will flex our creativity and highlight different flavors, ingredients or techniques.

Ideas and Innovation
new year party

In search of inspiration for this letter, I turned to the one I wrote for January 2017, in which I griped about some trends I wanted to toss in the new year. Twelve months later, the Sriracha trend has calmed down, food trucks seem slightly less pervasive and, while the definition of “clean” eating continues to evolve, it’s not so laser-focused on GMOs. So it seems my predictions were correct, including the one about where I’d be eating on New Year’s Day (though I had no clue my now-fiance would propose to me that night over duck noodle soup).

However, since this year has been...

FSD Resources