Paul Frederic, senior vice president of sales and marketing for To-Jo Food Products Inc. in Avondale, PA, said the company is presenting its complete line of fresh and processed foodservice products at the upcoming Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference & Expo in Monterey, CA, July 26-28.
“We will have our whites, browns, exotics, quick-blanched and canned mushrooms on hand, in addition to our processed line which includes items that are an ideal fit for foodservice operations,” said Frederic. “We are rolling out foodservice packages of our popular Portabella Sliders, which were previously packed just for retail. The item is available in three-pound packs. The caps are designed to fit a slider bun perfectly, and will range from two and three-quarters inches to three and one-quarter inches.”
To-Jo also took a major hint from the Mushroom Council’s “Swapability” campaign that was launched last year, and which continues to make great strides in educating consumers about the benefits of replacing a portion of protein in recipes with chopped mushrooms. To-Jo developed Mushroom Meatballs, which Frederic claims “taste just like your mama’s meatballs.”
For foodservice, the product is sold frozen with two five-pound bags to a case.
“These meatballs are so delicious that once people try them they never want to go to the trouble of making their own meatballs again,” said Frederic. “To-Jo is suggesting many applications for the item. They’re perfect with pasta in a traditional tomato sauce, with gravy over egg noodles, as appetizers, for meatball sandwiches and so many other potential uses. They have a wonderful homemade flavor and tender texture. You get all of this plus the great health benefits — reduced calories, fat and cholesterol, and the many nutritional components of mushrooms.”
Frederic will be joined at the PMA Foodservice by Tony D’Amico, president of To-Jo, Mike Wood, vice president of operations and Peter Wilder, director of new business. The company will be sampling the mushrooms at its booth, number 49 at the expo.
Approximately half of To-Jo’s business is in the foodservice sector. It ships its fresh, processed and prepared mushrooms across North America. Its customers include all levels of foodservice operations, referring to itself as a broadline foodservice distributor. Frederic noted that the company provides all foodservice and industrial size packs of its mushroom products. In addition to offering private labeling, the company ships its products under the “Nita’s,” “Nicest” and “Brownstone Farms” brands.
In February, To-Jo Food Products hired Julie West Petrovick as director of marketing. Petrovick is responsible for the development and implementation of innovative marketing strategies for both the fresh and food products divisions of the company. She is also responsible for the company’s in-house creative services initiatives.
“Julie is doing an outstanding job for To-Jo,” said Frederic. “We are very happy to have her on our team.
“We have also brought on additional production,” he continued. “About six months ago we added another growing facility that is adding to our production.”