A large family looking for an affordable and filling meal. A culinary sophisticate with a preference for all-natural foods. A working professional who lives (and eats) alone. These consumers have at least one thing in common. Like the majority of Americans, they have a taste for pizza and if they head to their local grocery store’s freezercase, they likely will find a number of frozen pizza options.
Whether they realize it or not, many of these will be from The Schwan Food Co., Marshall, Minn.
“Our strategy is to drive growth through innovation, from the value pizzas through the super-premium pizzas,” says Scott Gamble, senior director, Pizza Category for Schwan’s Consumer Brands North America Inc., Bloomington, Minn. “This focus on developing new products - combined with the breadth and depth of our expertise - has enabled our innovation to go beyond just developing more toppings.”
In fact, this year saw Schwan’s expand its pizza offerings by adding new concepts to several of its brands, which include “restaurant-quality” Freschetta, category leader Red Baron, value brand Tony’s and super-premium Wolfgang Puck All Natural.
“The super-premium and premium segments are experiencing the strongest growth, driven by consumers’ increasing culinary sophistication and diversity of palettes as well as product innovation,” Gamble says.
Schwan’s deepened its impact on this market last fall with FreschettaPizzAmoré. Supported by a $17 million advertising campaign - the largest in Schwan’s Consumer Brands’ history - FreschettaPizzAmoré is positioned as an alternative to takeout pizza. With pre-cut slices and a one-step bake-and-serve tray, PizzAmoré eliminates oven mess and clean-up, Gamble says. Two varieties of stuffed breadsticks (Garlic and Cinnamon) round out the product line of 11-inch and 13-inch pizza varieties (available in four flavors each).
“Consumer feedback has been very positive. The television ad campaign has significantly improved awareness of FreschettaPizzAmoré and base volume continues to increase as more households try and repeat the product,” Gamble says.
Another Schwan’s brand, Red Baron, already has exhibited its ability to attract loyal consumers. Red Baron is the No. 1 pizza brand in terms of household penetration, according to New York-based ACNielsen Homescan statistics for the year ending 2007.
The last year saw the brand add two new varieties: Stone Hearth Pizza and Red Baron Singles French Bread Panini.
“Consumers want convenience, great taste and portability,” says Jim Keane, senior director, Snack and Single Serve for Schwan’s Consumer Brands. “We offer the Red Baron Singles line of products as an option for consumers who want microwaveable snacks and single-serve pizzas that provide quick meal solutions with choices to please every family member.”
Tony’s Pizza For One also offers consumers the convenience of an individual-sized, microwaveable meal, Keane says.
“In recognizing the current economic situation we have optimized Tony’s Pizza For One to be a price sensitive meal solution (SRP $1.67), a great affordable option,” he adds.
For the health conscious consumer, Keane says Schwan’s has Red Baron Thin & Crispy Singles - at less than 300 calories per pizza - and Wolfgang Puck All Natural pizzas. Wolfgang Puck pizzas come in six varieties and are made with honey-infused crusts, olive oil and all-natural ingredients including imported cheeses, artisan sauces and vegetables.
With brands ranging from value to super-premium, what consumer trend or meal occasion will Schwan’s go after next?
“Our strategy is to lead market growth through rapid innovation and superior retail execution of consumer valued solutions,” says Gamble. “We will continue our momentum through building stronger brands and launching innovative big ideas in frozen pizza and adjacent categories.”
AT A GLANCEThe Schwan Food Co.
Location: Marshall, Minn.
Top executive(s): Gregory Flack, chief executive officer, president, chief operating officer; Jim Keane, senior director, Snack and Single Serve for Schwan’s Consumer Brands North America, Inc.; Scott Gamble, Senior Director, Pizza Category for Schwan’s Consumer Brands North America, Inc.
Brands: Freschetta, Red Baron, Tony’s, Wolfgang Puck All Natural
Channels served: Retail, foodservice
On the Web:www.theschwanfoodcompany.com
At your (food)serviceIn 2006, The Schwan Food Co. made about $4 billion in revenue according to a July 2007 report inTwin Cities Businessmagazine. While retail sales accounted for about 35 percent of that revenue, foodservice sales - to schools, stadiums and other institutions - accounted for about 25 percent, the magazine reported (the other 40 percent comes from the company's home delivery service).
In fact, Schwan says it is the largest manufacturer of pizzas provided to schools in the U.S.
Among Schwan’s Food Service offerings are fully-prepared, ready-to-bake versions of retail brands - Freschetta, Tony’s and Red Baron - as well as the Big Daddy’s brand, which is exclusively offered to schools. For foodservice operators who want to assemble pizzas on-site, Schwan has Proof Perfect ready-to-bake pizza crusts.