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.”

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