Schwan’s Co., Marshall, Minn., announced the creation of Schwan’s Strategic Partner Solutions, a new business unit focused on growing the company’s private label and contract packing businesses with select retailers and food manufacturers.

“Increasingly, we know that today’s consumers see tremendous value in both branded and high-quality private label products when making their grocery purchases,” says Dimitrios Smyrnios, chief executive officer. “We believe our dynamic manufacturing capabilities, iconic brands, high-quality foods and deep consumer insights position us well to help our customers grow their branded and private label businesses, as they work to meet the evolving needs of consumers.”

Schwan’s Co.’s subsidiaries have accumulated decades of experience making and packaging high-quality foods and beverages both for its own brands and external companies. Currently, some of Schwan’s main focuses for its private label and co-packing activities include ice cream, pies, snacks and appetizers, pizza, beverages (primarily smoothies), sauces and aluminum packaging.

“Our goal is to lead in every category in which we compete. In creating a new private label and co-packing business unit, we are achieving two objectives. We are increasing our strategic focus on our private label business, a rapidly growing and vitally important market segment for our customers, and we are enabling other Schwan’s business units to intensify their focus on growing our own strong retail brands,” Smyrnios says.

Joe Pacinelli, who joined Schwan’s through the acquisition of Better Baked Foods, was appointed president of Schwan’s Strategic Partner Solutions.

One important category for the new business unit will be pizza. Schwan’s Strategic Partner Solutions is working to grow its support of select retail and contract packing customers on their needs in the category. Earlier this summer, Schwan’s announced several acquisitions critical to expanding its presence in the pizza market, including acquisitions of MaMa Rosa’s Pizza and NE Foods Inc.’s wholly owned subsidiaries of Better Baked Foods and Drayton Foods.