You could say that it was only natural that Hot Cuisine America has emerged to supply refrigerated entrees and meal components.
For starters, Belgian parent Univeg has 20 years of experience in supplying refrigerated prepared meals, soups and salads to foodservice and retail customers - including Brussels’ Delhaize Group - in Belgium, Sweden and Portugal. Recognizing strong U.S. demand for both premium private label brands and ready-to-eat meal solutions, the retailer recently partnered with Univeg to supply as many as 1,200 Delhaize Group USA stores throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
Naturally, Univeg complied and last year saw this global giant establish Hot Cuisine America, led by company veteran and General Manager Peter Grugeon. Today finds Hot Cuisine producing “On The Go Bistro” refrigerated foods for Food Lion, Hannaford, Bloom and Sweetbay stores.
Meanwhile, Hot Cuisine’s 150,000-square-foot plant in Swedesboro, N.J., has more capacity and officials have an appetite for more work - whether it’s for non-competitive private label retail accounts, foodservice customers or co-packing accounts. Thus, Hot Cuisine debuted at the Private Label Manufacturers Association convention last fall in Chicago.
There, Hot Cuisine’s products also stood out for their all-natural appeal.
“The category of ‘convenience foods’ is a vast and complex portion of many retailers’ focused strategies,” says Todd Fisher, business development manager for North America. “We bring something new to that segment with the ability to provide a truly natural product without preservatives or additives … that actually delivers on taste.
“At Hot Cuisine America, ‘natural’ means our products have the cleanest ingredient declarations possible. For example, the ingredient declaration on our famous Buttered Mashed Potatoes reads: fresh potatoes, vitamin D milk, half and half (milk, cream), butter, salt. That’s it!”
Fisher adds that Hot Cuisine America already can process more than 30 all-natural refrigerated entrees, side dishes and salads. Moreover, he notes that the plant recently demonstrated its custom culinary skills with five holiday 2008 seasonal items (including Southern Stuffing, Sweet Potatoes, Glazed Carrots, Broccoli with Cheese Sauce and Cranberry Relish) for Delhaize.
Current products come in modified atmosphere packaging - trays with a unique twist in that they are consumer friendly as well as microwaveable and ovenable.
“This European technology has set the new standard for MAP products in North America,” he says. “And as we grow into other product lines, channels of distribution and capabilities, Hot Cuisine America will continue to push the envelope and set the bar for both culinary quality as well as packaging technology.” RFF
Who Are They?HOT CUISINE AMERICA INC.
Location: Swedesboro, N.J.
Parent: Univeg Group, Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium
Execs: Peter Grugeon, general manager; Todd Alan Fisher, business development manager, North America
Products: Refrigerated ready-to-eat entrees, side dishes, soups
Distribution: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast
Channels: Retail (private label), foodservice, co-pack
Web site: www.univeg.com