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redsauce

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I own a small chain of Italian eateries in CT and have noticed my food suppliers pushing other brands of canned tomatoes over the Stanislaus brand that I have used for 15 years. Has anyone noticed this happening? I actually took my Perkins sales mans advice and tried his Famoso private label which i am told is packed by Furmanos and not only were they less expensive but they were actually pretty good. Anyone noticed the push on private label with suppliers? We are going to save approximately 6k this year in food costs by switching over.

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ManufRep

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Reply with quote  #2 
Just be careful redsauce.  The problem with distributor private label products is that the manufacture can change without notice.  While the distributor may have a set "range" of quality and features for a product, the end product can vary greatly.  Today, Furmanos may be packing it, but if they don't keep up the marketing end of the business with the distributor Red Gold could be packing it tomorrow.  While both may have good product, they will never be identical.

What does this mean to you?  If you want consistant product, stick with branded products.  While the distributor product may still be good, it can change.  Customers don't necessarily notice change for the better or worse.  But they almost always notice change.  And change is not good when it comes to customer satisfaction.

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trouser

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Reply with quote  #3 

Stanislaus was the best tomato in the business up until the late 90's. Stanislaus pioneered the "cold break" process which yielded superior color and flavor.  In addition, the varieties grown in California were considered superior to those in the Midwest and in the case of Furman, the east. Today, canners across the country employ the cold break method, or something very similar. In addition the varieties of tomatoes grown in the Midwest and the northeast have also improved greatly. In short, the superiority Stanislaus once enjoyed has greatly diminished. The difference between a eastern or Midwestern tomato from a good packer and Stanislaus is in my opinion negligible today. With freight what it is, I would switch. 


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JohnBeresfordTipton

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Reply with quote  #4 
What is the "cold break" process?
thanks.
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FSVeteran

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Reply with quote  #5 
If your tomato purchases are large enough to save $6k on making a switch, then your business has developed a hell of a reputation for its tomato based recipes.  Are you really going to risk your entire reputation over what will probably net out to be about 10 cents per customer?  Really?  Are you going to put all of your hard work in the hands of a label that you have no clue what it is going to be like can to can, case to case, year to year?

ManufRep hits the nail on the head. You have no idea who is going to pack that tomato tomorrow under that label. If they don't pony up in the distributor's marketing fund next year - it goes to another packer.

Don't risk it - you post says you own a small chain of Italian eateries.  With this size of an operation you may lose customers and not even know it.  If you owned a 40 seat restaurant you could talk to all of your guests as you transitioned it - but even still, I would never take the chance over pennies per customer.  Some the worst downfalls of restaurants start with these types of decisions.
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zaboo

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Red-sauce - If you have been using Stanislaus for 15 years and your food is good enough to have allowed you to grow into a small chain....why in the world in this economy would you risk it?  Do you read the monthly news letter that Dino sends out?  In that read there are many - many success stories about how savvy independents focus on maintaining their loyal base.  Resisting the flight from quality (consistency) to save a few penny's per serving.  If you feel you must try the cheaper product...why not test it in one store for 3-6 months and see what your regulars have to say.  Customers who have come to expect quality and are willing to pay for it - will find it elsewhere if compromised.  Just the onion of someone who has sold the product for many years.  You may hit a home run....but my bet is that when the contest for new distribution on the house brand ends, you be back?

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Eatme

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Reply with quote  #7 

$6000?  Based on $18 a case which is a median price of all Stan products, thats 6 cases a week.  You have a "small Italian chain" but only do 6 cases a week?  Maybe a change would be a positive.

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Trailboss

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Reply with quote  #8 
Eatme
Red-sauce said his SAVINGS were $6,000 per year. With this in mind, if Red-sauce were to be saving $0.50 per case he would be purchasing 12,000 cases per year or 230 cases per week. I agree with staying with the brand name due to what has been said above about consistancy. You never really know who is packing a house label and you never really know the quality range but with a national brand you know what you will be getting everytime.

The reason most MA's push the house brand is due to higher commissions earned on their private label products.

Just my $.02
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trouser

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Reply with quote  #9 

The cold break process was developed by Dino.  It chills the tomatoes down immediately after processing which halts the loss of color and flavor. It was revolutionary at the time but is comon place in the industry now. Not to anger anybody here but holding on to a Western tomato is a lot like holding on to a northwest green bean. Improvements in processing techonology and seed varities have negated the difference. All you are paying more for is moving it 3000 miles instead of a few hundred.


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redsauce

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Reply with quote  #10 

I appreciate all the feedback. I have to agree though with trouser about companies in the East catching up to the West. We would have never thought of switching from Stanislaus to a Furmanos/Famoso tomato 10 years ago because the quality was not there. I was just surprised when we tried the tomatoes of how good the quality was. We wouldn't jeopardize our business if the tomato was not as good or better than the Stanislaus products. It does make sense about the 3000 miles Northeast distributors have to pay to get the Stanislaus tomato's and maybe this explains the cost of Stanislaus increasing just about every year. As an operator we appreciate a salesman offering us a product that will perform as well as the name brand and save us money at the same time. I am however concerned about Manufrep suggestion that Perkins could switch to another vendor because of a marketing agreement. I think Furmanos should market themselves to end users the same way as Stanislaus. It would help us to know if Perkins did switch packers that we could locate another distributor.

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BorgyBorgy

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Reply with quote  #11 
I am glad someone pointed out the frieght component and you get it.  This is something every restaurant owner big and small is learning about these days.  When times get tough, the smart go back to school, congratulations, A+.

Dont pay attention to those old school white shoe fast talking salesmen...they dont want anyone to switch to protect thier own pocket.  They arent watcing out for your interests.  Take this a step further and do it every year.  Tomatoes, like grapes for wine, are packed once a year and each harvest can vary slightly in flavor etc (even in California).  Make sure you compare the same pack to the same pack (years) - Check the un-opened boxes your self, dont take anyones word for it...and when they qoute you pricing make sure its on the new pack for the year ahead too.  Most private labels are packed and contracted for the year ahead, it is unlikely your distributor will change packers mid season...this is something sysco does when they contract with multiple packers and flip flop between buying from them...not all branches but I am sure some.  Do this each year and you will garuntee you'll have the best toms at the best price always - and celebrate that $6g's each time too! 

I bet you dont switch often from that Perkins stuff either...your lining up with them, your buying thier truckload product rather than a lesser moving LTL brand name product.  Good job.

Let us know how it works out next year.
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BorgyBorgy

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Reply with quote  #12 
Another thing...yes, your distributor is probably going to make more money on that product....and accordingly so did you.  This is the way long happy healthy (read profitable) partnerships are made.
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Eatme

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Reply with quote  #13 

oops, my bad

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Steve_Rouse

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Reply with quote  #14 

Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideFood
What is the "cold break" process?
thanks.


I have been with Stanislaus 21 years.  To answer your "cold break" question directly, the juice of fresh tomatoes contains pectin, a natural gel like substance which allows tomato sauces to hold moisture.  When tomato processors crush fresh tomatoes into juice to be evaporated into thicker products (puree, pizza sauce, etc.), they first flash heat the juice to “set” (or preserve) the pectin.  If juice is flash heated near boiling, the process is called “hot break”.  If the flash heating is done at a lower temperature (“cold break”), more fresh flavor is preserved in the juice, but some pectin is sacrificed.  For the record, only one of our pizza sauces is made that way, and I am not aware of other packers using it.

 

Perhaps the previous poster was thinking of Stanislaus products being 100% “packed from fresh tomatoes, not from concentrate”.  Not all packers use this process exclusively. 

 

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JohnBeresfordTipton

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Reply with quote  #15 

I've been present at quite a few Stanislaus cuttings (in the Pacific Northwest) and I've never seen them lose (I had no stake in the outcome). 

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FSVeteran

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Reply with quote  #16 

For the first time in my 25 years of Foodservice Experience, I saw another product match Stanislaus last week in a cutting.  The product was Escalon.

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