CHICAGO -- A new line of individually wrapped dinner rolls has been introduced to supermarket fresh-meals programs, opening additional opportunities for operators to incorporate an item they have resisted including, due to bread's tendency to go stale or soak up liquids prior to purchase.
The new line is manufactured by Alpha Baking Co. here, and is actually an expansion of the company's S. Rosen brand of rolls currently served by airlines as part of their in-flight meals. Tim Gill, director of sales and marketing for Alpha Baking, said the company recognized the opportunity in the fresh-meals marketplace.
"The slice of white bread is out," he said. "The [fresh-meals] market is like any other in preferring variety dinner rolls that act as meal enhancements, rather than just carbohydrate fillers."
The rolls have already been picked up by a few retailers, including Northlake, Ill.-based Dominick's Finer Foods, which did not return calls regarding the line.
Another nationwide retailer, based in the Southeast, whom the company declined to identify, is using the rolls as an accompaniment to its prepared dinners. Originally, it used its own baked goods, but recently began outsourcing the operation.
Gill said the line will be officially launched by its sales force after marketing kits are completed in March.
The decision to take the products one step further was "a natural evolution," following a successful, 15-year relationship with the airlines. Prior to committing to the retail food business, the company sent mailers out to retailers to be certain there was a need for its product, Gill said.
"We got a lot of feedback from retailers requesting the rolls for use with their salad bars," he said. "They are a great addition to this area because they can be left out in a self-serve basket. The packaging will keep them fresh and sanitary, allowing customers to fish through the basket, searching for their flavor of choice."
The S. Rosen dinner rolls are individually wrapped and blast-frozen right out of the oven to seal in freshness. The wrapping process not only provides for greater shelf-life but satisfies sanitary concerns.
The packaging features the S. Rosen brand logo on top, as well as nutritional information and a Universal Product Code bar code, so that each unit may be individually scanned. Each roll weighs 1.2 ounces and contains 100 calories, only 10 of which are contributed by fat. The rolls contain no cholesterol and no saturated fats.
There are four distinctive shapes and flavors in the S. Rosen line: Parmesan herb, a round roll with a deep swirl kaiser cut made from a sweet dough enfolded with Italian herbs and a dusting of Parmesan cheese on top; a sunflower roll, also round with a true kaiser swirl cut and baked from dough that is flavored with sunflower seeds; a rye oval roll that uses S. Rosen's specialty rye bread recipe; and the potato kaiser, with deep kaiser swirls, which contains a potato flour yielding a sweeter taste and a softer texture.
Mitch Staggs, creative marketer at Alpha Baking, said that in addition to the four current flavors, other varieties will soon be available as well, among them a selection of 1-ounce dinner rolls in flavors including rye and wheat.