Baking & Snack - August 2020 - 30

CUSTOM FOODS

est survivors of restaurant shutdowns because the product's portability was well suited to carryout, curbside
and delivery options that kept many restaurants afloat.

Pizza, pizza and more pizza
Custom Foods' ability to identify opportunity filled the
bakery's production gaps that stay-at-home orders created. Subsequently, aside from a few weeks' lull at the onset, it's pretty much been business as usual at the plant,
thanks in part to a boom in the pizza market.
"We have been really fortunate in that, during the
pandemic, pizza has performed exceptionally well across
all channels," Mr. Hurt said. "The pizza side of our business has sustained us."
The bakery has made a name for itself by picking up
pizza co-packing business over the past few years with
frozen dough balls and pressed pizza shells as well as a
few par-baked crusts. Five years ago Custom Foods was
barely into the pizza business; today, it makes up nearly
30% of the company's business.
As foodservice operators adjust their back-of-house

operations to fit carryout and curbside business, pizza
has become more about portability for consumers than
the time-intensive experience that comes with dining in
at an artisan-style pizza joint.
"Customers who use a preformed shell don't have to
toss or roll the dough anymore," Mr. Hart said. "They
don't have to make it in the back of the house and worry
about that equipment cost, safety or consistency. They
can just pull a shell out of the box, thaw it for five minutes and top it."
Because pizza is a fairly simple process - relative to
all the bread varieties or the 60 different cookie formulas
it makes - it wasn't hard to incorporate it into the operation. The new pizza line started up last year and runs
from two 1,400-lb Topos Mondial THM-14 horizontal
mixers to an IJ White spiral freezer, both of which were
installed in the 2015 expansion. Mr. Hart had to make
sure the pizza line was designed to keep up with the
speeds on both ends.
"The Topos mixers reduced our mixing time because
of the more aggressive agitator assembly," Mr. Hart said.

WHEN PROOFING FLOOR
SPACE IS TIGHT...



Baking & Snack - August 2020

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Baking & Snack - August 2020 - 1
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