Note: The following article has been edited to just include reference to Supreme Pierogies
By David Wellman
More than 80 buyers, category managers, and retail executives cast their votes in Frozen Food Age’s 7th Annual Top 10 New Products Awards. For the first time this year, FFA has added a Best Refrigerated New Products category to its awards; results of that poll can be found in our Refrigerated Food Age section, beginning on page 45.
For the past few years, the National and Regional lists have been dominated by meal-oriented and convenience-themed products, such as pizzas, sandwiches, and prepared vegetables. While some similar items can also be found on this year’s top 10 lists, a sweet tooth was evident in this year’s voting, with dessert items heavily represented on both the National and Regional lists. In fact, dessert items took the No. 1 spots in both categories….
Following is a look at all of this year’s Top 10 Frozen New Product winners. Be sure to join us this October at the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods convention in Washington, D.C. (for information, go to www.nfraweb.org), where we and our Awards sponsor Active International will honor our winners at FFA’s annual Awards Reception.
Top Regional Frozen New Products
The numbers of pierogies being turned out at Supreme’s plant in Ontario, Canada are expanding. “We now have a capacity of about three tons a day, That’s 150,000 or 160,000 pierogies a day. And it’s not enough.” And so Supreme is in the process of expanding to meet the demands of club chains like Costco and supermarkets like A&P, in both the U.S. and Canada.
Supreme introduced its 14 pierogi varieties-ranging from Cheddar Cheese and Potato to Blueberry-in the U.S. last year, after gaining broad distribution in Canada. Supreme Pierogies attributes their eager acceptance in the States to one factor: quality.
“It’s very difficult to make a good-quality pierogi on a large scale,” says a spokesperson for Supreme Pierogies. “You can buy a machine to make a dumping-type product, and a lot of companies have tried that, but they did not succeed because of quality.” Instead of settling for low-quality pierogies, consumers who wanted them simply bought them fresh at local delis and grocery stores supplied by small pierogi makers. “There are thousands of little producers,” he says. “But ninety percent make them by hand, and you can only do so much by hand.”
Enter Supreme’s Joseph Wilk. Like the small producers, Supreme started out making its pierogies by hand. But eventually, “demand got big and we had to come up with a machine.” Wilk went to work, in his garage, and built Supreme’s first pierogi manufacturing machine. It could put out 7,000 pierogies a day. A year and a half later “that wasn’t enough. So we did a bigger machine.”
And that’s pretty much been the pattern ever since. “At a single Costco in Quebec we can sell four pallets of pierogies a day,” he says. His record so far, for a single Costco (for whom Supreme has an extensive sampling setup; see photo) is 2.1 tons of pierogies in one day. “A&P is also huge,” he adds. “My biggest problem is to supply the demand.”
Which is, of course, not the worst of problems to have.