It’s not often that a new food product addresses every consumer interest. But To-Jo Mushroom’s 2008 launch of On-The-Spot-Gourmet comes pretty close. The Avondale, Pa.-based processor’s refrigerated, ready-to-serve mushroom line offers at-home convenience, restaurant quality flavors and health attributes in packaging that’s microwavable, sustainable and even resealable.
“On-The-Spot Gourmet is the first true value-added mushroom product to be offered in the fresh mushroom section of the produce department,” says Paul Frederic, senior vice president-sales and marketing. “The introduction was a major success. Consumers today want quick and easy, versatile and convenient meal solutions - On-The-Spot is what they’re looking for.”
As a fourth-generation, 77-year-old company, To-Jo has gotten pretty good at anticipating and meeting mushroom-users’ needs.
Located adjacent to land originally purchased in 1932 by Joseph A. D’Amico, To-Jo now is run by Joseph’s great-grandsons Tony and Joe, President and Executive Vice President, respectively. Their father, Joseph J. D’Amico founded the company in 1974 and named it for his sons.
Today To-Jo grows, processes and distributes fresh, quick-blanched, marinated and value-added mushrooms for retail, foodservice and private label, and is divided into four separate businesses. To-Jo Fresh distributes a multitude of varieties of fresh and dried mushrooms to retail and foodservice; To-Jo Food Products manufactures On-The-Spot-Gourmet as well as Nita’s Nicest and To-Jo Brands for retail and Back-Of-The-House for foodservice and ingredient applications; Brownstone Mushroom is To-Jo’s growing operation; and To-Jo Transportation is the company’s logistics and customer service arm. Fresh mushroom products are distributed to the 26 states from the Midwest to the East Coast, while value-added mushrooms - including On-The-Spot-Gourmet, which is equipped with a longer shelf-life of 45 days from delivery - are distributed nationally, often routed through a distribution facility in Little Rock, Ark., Frederic says. He adds that increasing distribution of On-The-Spot products even more is among the company’s goals for this year.
“Fresh mushrooms are third in overall popularity of fresh vegetables and consumers are significantly more likely to consume them in the home versus three years ago,” he notes. “Spoilage concerns, knowing more ways to serve them and having time to cook them are some of the complaints expressed by consumers. … On-The-Spot Gourmet products overcome these issues and reinforce the inherent strength of mushrooms - taste and versatility - in a convenient, microwavable package.”
On-The-Spot’s 10-ounce container features in-mold labeling, and is resealable, reusable, recyclable, microwavable and dishwasher-safe. The container is so unique that it earned recognition from the Produce Marketing Association at 2008’s Fresh Summit. PMA awarded To-Jo its Impact Award for On-The-Spot’s imaginative packaging in the Functionality and Technology category.
Frederic says the company is so happy with the innovation they have additional plans for it. “Bottom line, we see this as a superior package and we have line extensions planned,” he says.And that’s not all To-Jo has in store. “We plan to expand our growing operation,” Frederic adds. “The company acquired a 133-acre site on which we intend to build a new state-of-the-art mushroom farm.”
Who are they?To-Jo Mushrooms
Location: Avondale, Pa.
Execs: Tony D’Amico, President; Joe D’Amico Jr., Executive Vice President; Paul Frederic, Senior Vice President-Sales and Marketing
Products: Fresh refrigerated quick blanched, marinated and value-added mushrooms
Channels: Retail, foodservice, private label
Web site: www.to-jo.com