July 16, 2013

NOT ONLY ARE THE PRETZEL BREAD ONES GREAT...:

Hot Pockets wants to be cool among foodies (Tiffany Hsu, July 15, 2013, LA Times)

[T]he company is stuffing its dozens of Hot Pockets varieties with more upscale ingredients, including premium meats such as shaved hickory ham and slow-cooked Angus beef. The two new types of crust include a buttery garlic option and a crispy version akin to a savory croissant.

The items, made in kitchens in Chatsworth and Kentucky, will be available not only in grocery stores but also via the recently expanded Amazon Fresh online delivery program.

Celebrity chef Jeff Mauro, host of the Food Network series "Sandwich King," has signed on to plug the updated products and potentially even design a Hot Pocket himself.

"It's had a resurgence," Mauro said of the snack brand's public awareness.

But over the last few years, Hot Pockets sales -- along with revenue throughout the frozen sandwich category -- have declined slightly, Nestle said. Early last year, the company laid off a sixth of the Chatsworth factory's staff, or more than 100 workers, and trimmed the production week to four days from six.

"People think frozen food is bland," Jhung said. "We'd like to break that perception, to reintroduce it like something you'd make at home, just on a bigger scale."

As consumers become more epicurean, more aware and accepting of unexpected tastes and more adamant about sourcing, fast-food restaurateurs and packaged-food manufacturers are scrambling to adopt culinary strategies pioneered at more high-end establishments.

"The food standards for the millennial generation are increasing," said Hot Pocket Brand Manager Kevin Holmes. "They may not be going to Bobby Flay's restaurants, but they still expect a little bit of the same flavor. We wanted to raise our bar as well, step up our game a little bit."

...but you get 5 pair fot $10 plus a $1.50 coupon at the register at Shaw's.

Posted by at July 16, 2013 6:19 PM
  

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