4.17.2017

CPG: Private Brands ECRM Show 2017

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Private Brand ECRM Show On The Ground: Organic Coconut & Organic Drinking Vinegar I was in Orlando this month attending the Private Brands ECRM show. This show is a bit different from the traditional “Trade Shows” in that retailers spend 20 minutes one-on-one with participating suppliers. Think Speed Dating with a couple dozen buyers over […]

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Private Brand ECRM Show On The Ground: Organic Coconut & Organic Drinking Vinegar

I was in Orlando this month attending the Private Brands ECRM show. This show is a bit different from the traditional “Trade Shows” in that retailers spend 20 minutes one-on-one with participating suppliers. Think Speed Dating with a couple dozen buyers over a two day period. My goal for each meeting – provide each buyer with enough of a reason to go on a second “date” with me in order to make a formal presentation.

My focus for this show was our line of Organic Coconut Products (oils, milks, flour, sugar, and unsweetened flakes) and Organic Drinking Vinegars (shrubs). Both of these lines are absolutely on trend and ready to be offered in private label brands.

During each meeting, I asked my “date” what they had seen at the show that was really cool and innovative? While my research was not very scientific, the majority said the Drinking Vinegars hit the mark!

I’m excited to report that I’m gonna get a second date with multiple retailers in the very near future which will hopefully turn into proposals for long term, mutually profitable relationships.

-Mike Post, Trailblazer Foods Director of Sales


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2.27.2017

Trailblazer Foods Successfully Completes Safe Quality Food Recertification Program

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, successfully completed the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program’s recertification process to maintain its Level 2 rating into 2017. The SQF Level 2 certification represents the dedication Trailblazer Foods has to providing the highest quality...

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, successfully completed the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program’s recertification process to maintain its Level 2 rating into 2017. The SQF Level 2 certification represents the dedication Trailblazer Foods has to providing the highest quality products available for our customers.

“As we enter our 7th year of our participation in the GFSI process we continue to enhance our food safety programs and processes using the best current practices available. In addition we are incorporating the changes brought about by the implementation of FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) including enhanced training for our associates.” -Jeff Gleason, Quality Assurance Manager Trailblazer Food Products

Used as a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmark, SQF Level 2 certification ensures that suppliers maintain good manufacturing processes and utilize science-based methods and systems to minimize food safety risk.

Trailblazer Foods prides itself in a consistent focus on quality and food safety. In 2011, Trailblazer Foods completed its first recertification process to maintain its Level 2 certification and achieved its first Excellent Rating. Since then, the company has continued to make this audit and recertification a top priority.

Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, certified-organic coconut products, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Kristi Rifenbark 503.519.6255, kristi@buzzcollectivemarketing.com


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11.22.2016

The Many Uses of Coconut

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Coconut is one of the most versatile fruits in the world Born in the Philippines, coconut has always been part of my life. My older cousin Winnie climbing up the coconut trees around my house to get me my favorite treat, young coconut also known as Buko, is one of my favorite childhood memories. Coconut […]

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Coconut is one of the most versatile fruits in the world

Born in the Philippines, coconut has always been part of my life. My older cousin Winnie climbing up the coconut trees around my house to get me my favorite treat, young coconut also known as Buko, is one of my favorite childhood memories.

Coconut is one of the most versatile fruits in the world, known in the Philippines as the “Tree of Life” because every part of the tree has a use from the leaves down to the roots. Nothing goes to waste. Leaves are used for thatch (a roofing material) and as a wrap for cooking. Hat, mats and bags are also produced from the leaves.

Durable wood is obtained from the trunk for building materials used in furniture construction and creating novelty items. Pulp used to produce paper is extracted from the trunk. The tree's roots are used for beverages, dye and for medicinal purposes. The coconut shell is used to make charcoal and handcrafted items. Coir, an elastic fiber used for rope, matting, and coarse cloth is made from coconut husk.

Coconut sap is used to produce coconut juice, sugar and tuba. Fermented coconut juice is also a common alcoholic drink in coconut regions. Gin and vinegar is also produced from the sap.

Coconut meat is a popular food and a good source of protein. One medium coconut has 13 grams of protein and can be an effective natural laxative. The meat is processed into coco flour, desiccated coconut, coco milk, coco chips, candies, copra and animal feed. Coconut water is a popular beverage rich in nutrients and electrolytes. The oil is used for cooking and a variety of skin and hair care products.  

At Trailblazer Foods we continue searching for new coconut products to add to our portfolio. I am fortunate for my position at Trailblazer Foods allowing me regular travel throughout Southeast Asia and back home to the Philippines as part of my career to conduct annual audits.

- Henry Catan, Trailblazer Foods Production Manager


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9.29.2016

Holiday Season Prompts Increased Coconut Production for Retailers

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It’s that time of year again – kids are back in school, college football dominates Saturday TV, leaves are changing color, the holidays are just around the corner, and Trailblazer Foods is ramping up production of coconut for our retail customers across the country. Shredded and flaked coconut are key ingredients in many holiday recipes.  […]

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It’s that time of year again – kids are back in school, college football dominates Saturday TV, leaves are changing color, the holidays are just around the corner, and Trailblazer Foods is ramping up production of coconut for our retail customers across the country.

Shredded and flaked coconut are key ingredients in many holiday recipes.  From cookies to pies, cakes to puddings, consumers will be heading to retailers’ shelves to purchase enough coconut to make their family’s favorite goodies. That’s why we have increased our production output in recent weeks. Coconut sells very quickly and we need to keep all our retail partners in stock.

We sell over 60% of our annual production volume from October through December.  Building coconut inventory now will assure that we can fill our retailers’ needs during the holidays. - Mike Post, Trailblazer Foods Director of Sales


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9.23.2016

Trailblazer Foods Expands into a New Warehouse

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Trailblazer Foods recently moved into a new warehouse. This is a great opportunity to expand the business and better serve client needs. With an extra 35,000 sq. Ft. (169,000 square feet total) there is ample room to stage orders for outbound shipping, and more space to receive raw goods. This expansion allows better control of the […]

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Trailblazer Foods recently moved into a new warehouse. This is a great opportunity to expand the business and better serve client needs. With an extra 35,000 sq. Ft. (169,000 square feet total) there is ample room to stage orders for outbound shipping, and more space to receive raw goods. This expansion allows better control of the flow of raw materials in and out of the production warehouse, and creates more flexibility in the entire manufacturing plant.

Some features of the new warehouse are; better lighting, more office space, twelve staging doors, four receiving doors and visibility of the entire warehouse.

The bottom line is that now we can manage the warehouse space more efficiently instead of the warehouse space managing us! – James Mill, Trailblazer Foods Warehouse Manager


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7.25.2016

Trailblazer Foods Introduces new line of Organic Drinking Vinegars

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has introduced a line of Organic Drinking Vinegars or “Shrubs” made from fruit, sugar, and Apple Cider Vinegar. The lineup includes diverse ingredients such as ginger, pomegranate, basil, and pinea...

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has introduced a line of Organic Drinking Vinegars or “Shrubs” made from fruit, sugar, and Apple Cider Vinegar. The lineup includes diverse ingredients such as ginger, pomegranate, basil, and pineapple.

The rise of the craft cocktail movement has increased the popularity of Drinking Vinegars as cocktail mixers and soda replacements.

“We’re seeing a shift from sweet, fruity cocktails to tarter and even savory drinks,” said Mike Post, Trailblazer’s Director of Sales. “Millennials seem to prefer citrus and bitters in their cocktails over sweet and sugary. Our Organic Drinking Vinegars offer a clean ingredient deck and deliver the bold flavor Millennials are demanding.”

In 2016, market researcher Packaged Facts listed Shrubs and Digestives as one of the top menu trends driven by Millennials, a distinction not overlooked by Trailblazer.

“Consumers are enjoying cocktails and soda replacements using Drinking Vinegars at their favorite bar and want the ability to bring that experience home,” says Mike. “Currently, similar products are generally available only online at a cost of $19-$24 per bottle – before shipping. We developed our products to allow grocers to retail them at a significant savings while earning a strong margin.”

Trailblazer is offering Drinking Vinegars in Private Label but also has a control label available. For more details contact the sales team at 503.666.5800.

For more information on Trailblazer Foods, its history in the Pacific Northwest, and the company’s product and service capabilities, contact us now or visit the Trailblazer Foods LinkedIn page.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, certified-organic coconut products, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Kristi Rifenbark 503.519.6255, kristi@buzzcollectivemarketing.com

 


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6.29.2016

Product Label Design at Trailblazer Foods

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Walk into a supermarket today and you will notice that the labels tell a larger story about the contents inside the package. Today’s consumer wants to know information such as, where the food was grown, what sort of ingredients were used, and why is the product different? We must ask ourselves these same questions as […]

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Walk into a supermarket today and you will notice that the labels tell a larger story about the contents inside the package. Today’s consumer wants to know information such as, where the food was grown, what sort of ingredients were used, and why is the product different?

We must ask ourselves these same questions as we design labels for our products. Each new product we produce requires a new label, and as the Research and Development Manager at Trailblazer Foods, I often find myself in the middle of several label development projects. The process always begins with the food. At the most basic stage a label tells you what is inside the packaging, but beyond the basics the FDA and other regulatory agencies have a say about descriptions and names of food.

Something as simple as the word “Jam”(1) has been defined by the FDA, but there is no definition for a “Marmalade.”(2) This means that once you have figured out what to name your food, you must communicate to the consumer what is in it. Is the product gluten free? How much fat does the product contain? What is the sodium content of the product? Food labels are a source of information to tell the consumer the facts about the food, but with new products, communicating why a consumer should buy is equally important. Why should the consumer choose your product over another? Why try something new? Why does a premium product cost more? These are important questions to answer on a label. 

An example of this process comes from our recently-launched line of Organic coconut products. As we created the labels for these items we needed to relay to the consumer why they should use Organic coconut oil over another type of oil, and what advantages Organic coconut flour holds. This type of information is not required by any regulatory body, but it can be the difference between products being successful or gathering dust on the shelf.

To complete the process of creating the label we must create a design that catches attention and effectively communicates our messages. At Trailblazer Foods we work with a wide variety of design companies to give different perspectives and style to the project. In the end we believe it’s the quality of the contents in the package that counts, and a well-planned food label assists in getting the products into the hands of the consumers.

-Seth Crass, Research and Development Manager 

 

(1) 21 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 150.160

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=32ffe65297bb7815e913e40af0f562cd&mc=true&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title21/21cfr150_main_02.tpl

(2) CPG Sec. 550.575 Marmalade http://www.fda.gov/iceci/compliancemanuals/compliancepolicyguidancemanual/ucm074536.htm


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6.10.2016

Problem Solving in the Co-Pack and Private Label Industry

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Here at Trailblazer Foods we pride ourselves on customer satisfaction and sometimes that means a lot of extra work going above and beyond to meet customers’ specific requests and needs. An example of this came from a new project we recently took on where a customer wanted a specific jar for their product and it […]

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Here at Trailblazer Foods we pride ourselves on customer satisfaction and sometimes that means a lot of extra work going above and beyond to meet customers’ specific requests and needs. An example of this came from a new project we recently took on where a customer wanted a specific jar for their product and it turned out the jar was very hard to come by. 

Finding this particular packaging to meet this customer’s expectations was much more difficult than one might imagine. Several glass manufacturers have a minimum amount of jars they make at one time and for many that is the equivalent of one truckload which could take several years to use. Nobody feels comfortable holding onto a jar that could be on the shelf for two years. The glass manufacturer may have to create a special mold due to the lack of inventory on-hand.

To solve this sort of problem, we have to get creative. Often that includes calling companies who have already purchased the jar and split a full production run with them. Another solution could be to split up our production run of higher volume jars with lower volume products to make it appealing to the packaging manufacturer. Or, there are several distributors that buy large quantities of packaging to sell to multiple customers. Occasionally it becomes a combination of these things, buying up small inventory from each of them to piece together one production run.

In the end I was able to find the exact jar the customer wanted after an exhaustive search. All other materials to fill the jars were set to come in for us to get the product out the door on time. At the last minute, I received a call from the glass manufacturer telling me that my jar did not pass the quality test and they would not be able to send it to me. That meant my weeks of searching and the peace of mind that came when all the pieces fell into place was shattered by that one phone call. The search had to begin again. This wasn’t necessarily an abnormal occurrence, so I knew what to do next. We found another supplier and everything aligned again. It wasn’t easy and it never is when all of the parts have to come together at the right time and the right place. Somehow we make it happen every day. 

-Chris Condray, Procurement Manager 


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5.20.2016

Complying with California Prop 65

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By Jeff Gleason, Trailblazer Foods Quality Manager One of the interesting things about working in the food industry is that nothing ever stays the same. New challenges or programs continuously emerge. A good example of this is California’s addition of BPA (bisphenol A) to the Proposition 65 list. BPA is an additive used to make plastic […]

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By Jeff Gleason, Trailblazer Foods Quality Manager


One of the interesting things about working in the food industry is that nothing ever stays the same. New challenges or programs continuously emerge. A good example of this is California’s addition of BPA (bisphenol A) to the Proposition 65 list. BPA is an additive used to make plastic products softer, and has been used to manufacture everything from food containers (can liners) to sports equipment.

First a quick definition of just what Prop 65 is: In 1986, California voters approved an initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. That initiative became the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known by its original name of Proposition 65. Proposition 65 requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. This list, which must be updated at least once a year, has grown to include approximately 800 chemicals since it was first published in 1987.

In 2015 the Prop 65 committee decided that BPA needed to be added to the Prop 65 list in spite of the FDA’s stance that the listing was not necessary. This ruling was to take effect on May 11, 2016 but implementation has been delayed for at least a year due to several issues. These issues include lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables and the lack of a set MADL (maximum allowable dosage limit) for BPA.

At Trailblazer Foods we have taken steps to ensure our products are BPA compliant with the new ruling, and we have sent samples of our products out for BPA detection testing. The testing results tell us that our products test below the detectable limits for BPA. In addition, we are working with our ingredient and packaging suppliers to ensure that everything we use to produce our products is BPA free. We're proud to say this is another way that Trailblazer Food Products is committed to providing our customers with the finest quality products.


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2.26.2016

New Production Demands for Millennial Consumers

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Holy Cow! The retail food market sure has changed dramatically in the past few years. Not that long ago, food companies focused their attention on courting “Baby Boomers” like me. After all, we had buying power unequaled in the history of the country. Flavor trends, pack size, product assortment, etc. were all dictated by those […]

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Holy Cow! The retail food market sure has changed dramatically in the past few years. Not that long ago, food companies focused their attention on courting “Baby Boomers” like me. After all, we had buying power unequaled in the history of the country. Flavor trends, pack size, product assortment, etc. were all dictated by those born between 1945 and 1964.

Fast forward to today and these decisions are now being made by twenty-somethings with discerning palates and strong expectations of maximizing every dining experience. These 80 million or so “Millennials” are insisting on clean ingredient statements, premium quality, and convenience. They are demanding better-for-you products which deliver a luxurious and decadent experience that can be prepared in minutes rather than hours. They want big flavor and they’re willing to pay a little extra to get it. You won’t find Velveeta in their cupboards – no way, no how.

With that in mind, Trailblazer offers several product lines to scratch the Millennials’ itch such as Organic Preserves (more fruit and less added sugar than regular preserves), Agave Nectar (lower hypoglycemic index than sugar), Organic Coconut Products (Oil, Milk, Flour, Sugar), and unsweetened coconut.

Even an old geezer like me can see we need to cater to this group. Bring it on Millennials – we’ve got you covered!

Mike Post is Director of Sales at Trailblazer Foods 

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1.06.2016

Trailblazer Foods Supports Community with Charitable Contributions

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., closed out 2015 with more than $70,200 in cash and food product donations to local and regional nonprofit organizations.

“Our giving program is an important piece of our work at Trailblazer and just o...

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., closed out 2015 with more than $70,200 in cash and food product donations to local and regional nonprofit organizations.

“Our giving program is an important piece of our work at Trailblazer and just one of the ways we show our commitment to our local community,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “There are hundreds of individuals and families in our area that need support, and we strive to always provide as much as we can to help the organizations that are making a real difference in these people’s lives.”

In 2015, Trailblazer Foods made significant charitable donations to Birch Community Services, Embrace Oregon, Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament, Lake Oswego Young Life, Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, Portland State University and the Salvation Army.

Product contributions included the following:

  • Donation of an average of 125 to 155 cases of product every month, with an average value of $2,400 to $3,100 per month, to Birch Community Services, an organization which helps the working poor.
  • Gifting 3,036 jars of premium strawberry preserves, valued at more than $4,400, to Embrace Oregon and Department of Human Services employees, thanking them for their important work in the community.
  • Donation of preserves, syrup and coconut items to local charities for meal support aiding those in need.

For more information about Trailblazer Foods, its history in the Pacific Northwest and the company’s product and service capabilities, visit www.tbfoods.com.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Claire Castellanos, 503.546.7894, claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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12.21.2015

Trailblazer Foods Earns Highest Rating in Safe Quality Food Recertification Program

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, completed the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program’s recertification process to maintain its Level 2 rating. With a score of 96 percent, Trailblazer Foods earned an Excellent Rating for the fifth consecut...

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, completed the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program’s recertification process to maintain its Level 2 rating. With a score of 96 percent, Trailblazer Foods earned an Excellent Rating for the fifth consecutive year, the highest possible designation from the globally recognized food safety program.

“SQF Level 2 certification is becoming increasingly important in the U.S. food industry,” said Jeff Gleason, quality assurance manager, Trailblazer Foods. “Not only does it align manufacturers with guidelines put in place by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, but for all of us at Trailblazer, it’s another way to show our customers that we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality products available.”

Used as a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmark, SQF Level 2 certification ensures that suppliers maintain good manufacturing processes and utilize science-based methods and systems to minimize food safety risk.

Trailblazer Foods prides itself in a consistent focus on quality and safety. In 2011, Trailblazer Foods completed its first recertification process to maintain its Level 2 certification and achieved its first Excellent Rating. Since then, the company has continued to reach the highest possible designation year after year.

Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands including Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and Costco. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Claire Castellanos, 503.546.7894, claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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12.17.2015

Successful End of Year Preparations at Trailblazer Foods

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Hard to believe that 2015 is almost over! It’s been a busy year with fresh pack strawberry spread production lasting well into October (month longer than usual). The QA team had been working on yearly food safety program updates in preparation for our yearly SQF audit. This makes for a good opportunity to ensure that […]

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Hard to believe that 2015 is almost over! It’s been a busy year with fresh pack strawberry spread production lasting well into October (month longer than usual).

The QA team had been working on yearly food safety program updates in preparation for our yearly SQF audit. This makes for a good opportunity to ensure that we are still current on all of our policies and programs. Programs we have reviewed include GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and Allergen Control. All of these programs ensure that we always produce quality food safe products for our customers.

This was successful as we had received another excellent score on our November unannounced SQF audit. The auditor spent 2 days on site reviewing food safety programs, paperwork, production practices, maintenance and sanitation compliance. Thanks to all associates, their hard work and dedication made the audit a success.

In addition we have several new products in the works that will keep us busy for the rest of the year. Thankfully we have a great team of managers and associates that make this possible; we couldn’t do it without their help.

Jeff Gleason is QA Manager at Trailblazer Foods 


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12.16.2015

Trailblazer Foods Sends a Special Thank You to Local Department of Human Services Employees

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, sent more than 3,000 jars of premium strawberry preserves to Embrace Oregon and Department of Human Services (DHS) employees, thanking them for their important work within the community. In early December, employees in the Salem central office and […]

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, sent more than 3,000 jars of premium strawberry preserves to Embrace Oregon and Department of Human Services (DHS) employees, thanking them for their important work within the community. In early December, employees in the Salem central office and Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties region received their jars along with the message; “We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to you for the way you serve and embrace vulnerable children and families in our community.”

Embrace Oregon works to raise awareness of the needs of children and families in the state’s child welfare system and to connect caring people with vulnerable children through partnership with DHS. Embrace Oregon supports DHS efforts by encouraging individuals, families, churches and businesses to work together to meet the needs of local children.

“It takes a special group of people to show up every day and do everything in their power to support our community’s most vulnerable families,” said Rob Miller, CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “Not only did we want to show our support for this initiative, but we also wanted to say thank you to each employee on a personal level.”

“At Embrace Oregon, we dedicate ourselves to helping every child in foster care flourish,” said Jillana Goble, founder of Embrace Oregon. “With the love and support from the community, and from local businesses like Trailblazer Foods, we can achieve this and more.”

In 2014, Embrace Oregon recognized Trailblazer’s community involvement with the Third Way Award, an award meant to call attention to the fact that although people may be polarized and categorized as left or right, the answer to community challenges usually lies in a creative third way.

For more information about Trailblazer Foods and the company’s community involvement, visit www.trailblazerfoods.com or call 503.666.5800.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Claire Castellanos, 503.546.7894, claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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12.09.2015

New Fruit Topping and Filling to Meet the Changing Needs of Customers

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After a very busy spring and summer, it’s been even busier this fall with new and exciting projects here at Trailblazer Foods. We finalized a fruit filling/topping project with multiple flavors that has been 12 months in the making from initial formulation development through multiple changes and renditions as the customer changed their needs. Because […]

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After a very busy spring and summer, it’s been even busier this fall with new and exciting projects here at Trailblazer Foods.

We finalized a fruit filling/topping project with multiple flavors that has been 12 months in the making from initial formulation development through multiple changes and renditions as the customer changed their needs.

Because these toppings/fillings are used by our customer as an ingredient in another very tasty food item, one of the biggest challenges was the fine tuning of the products so they would run properly through their equipment that introduces the filling to the final product.

Very tight specifications for what the customers machinery required to allow it to run properly coupled with our strict process and food safety requirements made it a challenge but our innovative R&D staff was more than up to the challenge and came up with solutions that far exceeded everyone’s requirements…..Hats off to all the Trailblazer staff involved in bringing this all together, despite some doubters, you pulled it off like the pro’s you are. THANK YOU for your hard work and patience.

Our and the customers first test production runs were a success and now we gear up for another successful product launch and happy customer.    

Looking forward to the next project to show off how being a family run, flexible and fast reaction company can help our next customer fulfill their goals.

Bill Wheeler is Director of Club and Co-Pack Sales at Trailblazer Foods


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12.04.2015

Exciting Period of Improvements at Trailblazer

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One of the more exciting and rewarding parts of the Operations role is the planning and execution of capital projects. These capital projects are typically oriented to improving the operation in some way – replacing obsolete equipment to increase efficiency, improving quality, improving sanitation of hard surfaces, addressing safety concerns, and so on. Trailblazer is […]

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One of the more exciting and rewarding parts of the Operations role is the planning and execution of capital projects. These capital projects are typically oriented to improving the operation in some way – replacing obsolete equipment to increase efficiency, improving quality, improving sanitation of hard surfaces, addressing safety concerns, and so on.

Trailblazer is in the middle of a two-year capital program across all areas of manufacturing. Last month we finished installing a new filler that now allows us much tighter control over fill levels. Just last week we started up a new capper for syrup bottles which operates with virtually zero missed caps, meaning that it is no longer necessary to station an operator at the machine to check for missed caps. We are replacing floor drains and installing a new polyurethane process flooring to improve overall plant sanitation and make the plant easier to keep clean. And that is just this year.

In 2016 we are planning a complete upgrade of our process control software system, installing a new ventilation system on the main plant floor, to keep the temperature more comfortable in the winter and summer, and to remove excess moisture from the plant before it condenses on hard surfaces.  We will also be selectively replacing several older pieces of equipment on our main Cook Deck, which will allow us to incorporate design improvement to make the Cook Deck more flexible.

 All in all this is an exciting period of change and improvements here at Trailblazer.  

Sebastian Pastore is Vice President of Operations at Trailblazer Foods 


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11.11.2015

Organic Cocount Products Have Trailblazer Foods All Fired Up

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I’ve been selling food and consumer products to Grocery Retailers for over 30 years so I have seen trends come and go. Some got me excited, some were, well, meh… But the line of Organic Coconut Products we just launched has me all fired up!  Organic Coconut Oils, Coconut Milks, Coconut Flour, and Coconut Sugar […]

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I’ve been selling food and consumer products to Grocery Retailers for over 30 years so I have seen trends come and go. Some got me excited, some were, well, meh… But the line of Organic Coconut Products we just launched has me all fired up! 

Organic Coconut Oils, Coconut Milks, Coconut Flour, and Coconut Sugar all were once only found within the walls of those “Health Food” stores. Today, they are becoming staples in supermarkets across the country, fueled by the “better for you” mentality of younger shoppers looking for ways to indulge in a healthier way. Trailblazer Foods is leading the way of offering retailers a complete line of these items from just one source. 

This project was a result of talking to grocers and finding out they had to buy Coconut Milk from one guy, then they had a Coconut Oil guy, and yet another guy for flour and sugar. We decided to utilize our deep knowledge of sourcing coconut (we buy millions of pounds every year) and have been able to bring the products together and offer a complete package – using either our Trailblazer brand or a Private Label brand.

I gotta be honest, the journey has produced some scar tissue but it has been super exciting watching all the moving parts come into place. I’ve also enjoyed hearing about the multiple uses of these products, especially coconut oils. I think everyone knows coconut oil is great for the skin and hair but did you know that swishing coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes will draw the impurities from your gums? I’ll let you be the judge of that…

Mike Post is Director of Sales at Trailblazer Foods.


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10.19.2015

Investing in Our Future

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For the last two days, our manufacturing plant has been “down”.  In our business, your plant being down is something that usually causes concern.  We are, after all, in the manufacturing business and if we’re down, we’re not making anything….and that’s usually a bad sign. However, this time, being down is a very good thing.  […]

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For the last two days, our manufacturing plant has been “down”.  In our business, your plant being down is something that usually causes concern.  We are, after all, in the manufacturing business and if we’re down, we’re not making anything….and that’s usually a bad sign.

However, this time, being down is a very good thing.  It’s good because we’re not running so we can install a new Filler that will increase our efficiencies and yield, things that are very important as we go to market in a highly competitive field.

The installation of this new Filler is the next to last major investment in our Plant this year.  It follows the installation of a new Lug Style Capper (think caps with a button or “pop” top) and will be followed at the end of the month with the installation of a new Continuous Thread Capper (think about caps on a syrup bottle).  We’ve also invested heavily in new Controls and Hardware for our Cook Deck so, essentially, the entire front end of our main manufacturing line is new.  Very exciting.

In total, we’re going invest well over $600,000 in 2015 to upgrade our manufacturing facilities and have tentatively approved a plan to invest another $800,000 in 2016.  So, what do you get for over $1.4mm in plant investment?

To start, you get the new Filler, Capper(s) and Controls mentioned above.  However, you also get more……much more, including:

  • New conveyors
  • Upgraded air filtration and ventilation
  • New cook deck software
  • Upgraded ERP system
  • New processing tanks
  • New steam/hot water cleaning system
  • Refinished floors

We’re excited to make these investments because we aren’t just buying equipment or making upgrades, we’re investing in the people who operate the equipment (our terrific employees) the people who benefit from the equipment (our valued customers and consumers) and in the local economy.

That’s why being “down” the last two days is a good thing……….a very good thing.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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10.12.2015

Trailblazer Foods and Portland Specialty Baking Partner to Create Enhanced Pie Filling

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has collaborated with Portland Specialty Baking to develop an innovative pie filling formula. The new pie filling is available in a variety of flavors including apple, chocolate, berry and lemon, along...

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has collaborated with Portland Specialty Baking to develop an innovative pie filling formula. The new pie filling is available in a variety of flavors including apple, chocolate, berry and lemon, along with pumpkin as a seasonal flavor for the holidays.

“In order to provide a fresh product for consumers, hand held pies need a high-viscosity filling and an enhanced process to successfully transfer the filling into the pie shell,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “Through expertise and state-of-the-art machinery, we’ve developed an original and cost-effective solution that allows Portland Specialty Baking to deliver pies that meet its customers’ high expectations for quality.”

Trailblazer has been a longstanding leader in the fruit processing industry for 30 years. Producing more than 15 tons of fruit products per day, the company was enthusiastic to partner with Portland Specialty Baking to craft a new pie filling recipe.

For more information on Trailblazer Foods, its history in the Pacific Northwest, and the company’s product and service capabilities, contact us now or visit the Trailblazer Foods LinkedIn page.

 Contact Us

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Foods was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Rachael Ka’apu, Rachael.Kaapu@lanepr.com, 503.546.7897


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8.14.2015

Trailblazer Foods Names Bode International as the Exclusive Private Label Broker for Albertsons Companies

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has announced the appointment of Bode International as its exclusive private label broker for the Albertsons Companies, effective immediately.

“We’re pleased to appoint Bode as our private ...

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has announced the appointment of Bode International as its exclusive private label broker for the Albertsons Companies, effective immediately.

“We’re pleased to appoint Bode as our private label broker for this important retail partner,” said Mike Post, Director of Sales for Trailblazer Foods. “Bode is a dynamic organization, with a proven track record of success in helping both established and new private label businesses, and we’re looking forward to working with them to grow our business.”

“We pride ourselves on the quality of manufacturers that we represent,” said Melissa Lortie, Bode International. “Trailblazer Foods is exactly the type of innovative client we strive to serve. We’re excited about building their existing business with the Albertsons Companies and helping them enter and grow new businesses.”

For more information on Trailblazer Foods, its history in the Pacific Northwest, and the company’s product and service capabilities, visit www.trailblazerfoods.com.

For more information on Bode International, visit www.bodeinternational.com.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, certified-organic coconut products, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Rachael Kaapu, 503.546.7897, rachael.kaapu@lanepr.com


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8.13.2015

Fun Food Facts from Trailblazer

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At Trailblazer, our executive team hosts a quarterly review meeting to discuss successes and areas for improvement. As part of the agenda, our purchasing team provides an overview of their activities over the past three months and solicits feedback on key trends, initiatives and other business drivers that could affect how and what they purchase […]

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At Trailblazer, our executive team hosts a quarterly review meeting to discuss successes and areas for improvement. As part of the agenda, our purchasing team provides an overview of their activities over the past three months and solicits feedback on key trends, initiatives and other business drivers that could affect how and what they purchase for the next quarter. In addition, the team shares a comprehensive account of purchased products.

During our Q2 review, the team outlined an outstanding purchasing report. Impressed by these numbers, I want to call out some of their impressive accomplishments.

  • Over the last year, we’ve purchased more than 3.2 million pounds of Desiccated, Flaked Coconut which is used in our bagged sweetened coconut that you can find under many of our retail partners’ brands.
  • During the same time period, we’ve bought over 7.2 million pounds of Organic Strawberries and other berries, in addition to 4.4 million pounds of Organic Sugar for use in our Organic Jellies, Preserves and Spreads.
  • Also in the past 12 months, we’ve obtained more than 10 million pounds of Non-Organic Fruit, 700,000 pounds of Sugar and 4.7 million pounds of Corn Syrup to make our high quality National Brand Equivalent products for our retail partners.
  • Finally, our team bought 32,000 pounds of Salt, 46,000 pounds of Agave Nectar, and hundreds of thousands of pounds of additional materials including Natural Fruit Pectin, Citric Acid, Starches, Gums and other ingredients used to make our products.

I’m very proud of our purchasing team and the work they’ve accomplished and continue to do to secure the high quality ingredients necessary to make the products that are important to our retail partners and their customers.

When dealing with agricultural commodities, food manufacturing has proven time and again to be a difficult job. However, when you have a quality team working to ensure product integrity, it allows us to be a preferred partner to the farmers and processors who supply our products, and bring a superior product to our valued customers.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods. To view a high-resolution version of the infographic, click here.


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7.09.2015

Trailblazer Foods Launches First All-Inclusive Organic Coconut Product Line

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., is introducing a complete line of certified organic coconut products, including oil, virgin oil, milk, light milk, flour, sugar and unsweetened flakes.

“There is a strong and growing demand ...

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., is introducing a complete line of certified organic coconut products, including oil, virgin oil, milk, light milk, flour, sugar and unsweetened flakes.

“There is a strong and growing demand in the U.S. for better-for-you foods,” said Rob Miller, CEO of Trailblazer Foods, “and coconut fits in with this trend: it’s a clean ingredient, natural and organic, and with no added sugar. By offering a complete line to our customers, grocers will be able to meet the needs of every type of consumer seeking coconut products, eliminating the reason to shop elsewhere.”

Trailblazer has sold sweetened and unsweetened shredded and flaked coconut for over 15 years, and the company has deep experience and longstanding relationships with coconut processors in Southeast Asia. Trailblazer has leveraged these relationships to secure favorable pricing.

The company’s coconut experts have personally visited coconut processors in Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and have determined which operations adhere to the strictest global food safety standards. For most of Trailblazer’s competitors, the supply chain for coconut products is long and complex, but Trailblazer is able to work directly with premium vendors. The company is also able to provide retailers with a complete collection of products under one label, removing the need for multiple suppliers and invoices.

All the coconut products are available to grocers as of July 1, with the exception of coconut milk, which will be available in September. Trailblazer is marketing the products under the Trailblazer Foods brand, but retailers can also order private-label versions. For pricing details please call the sales team at 503.666.5800.

For more information on Trailblazer Foods, its history in the Pacific Northwest, and the company’s product and service capabilities, contact us now or visit the Trailblazer Foods LinkedIn page.

 Contact Us

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, certified-organic coconut products, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Rachael Kaapu, 503.546.7897, rachael.kaapu@lanepr.com


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3.20.2015

The “Better For You” Food Movement

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Everyone knows that the most exciting part of the NCAA March Madness Tournament is the unpredictability.  All I know is that I’m happy I’m not the one in Vegas making the tough calls. As many Americans are currently agonizing over their March Madness bracket picks and researching historical trends (Will Kentucky go all the way?), […]

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Everyone knows that the most exciting part of the NCAA March Madness Tournament is the unpredictability.  All I know is that I’m happy I’m not the one in Vegas making the tough calls. As many Americans are currently agonizing over their March Madness bracket picks and researching historical trends (Will Kentucky go all the way?), I have my mind on another type of trend. The “better for you” food trend. Because if there is one thing I know for sure, Americans are really into the healthier food movement these days.

Surveys continue to show that Americans are eating healthier and changes in consumer behavior for the past few decades bear this intention out. Americans are increasingly looking for simple, natural foods that contain healthy ingredients and are minimally processed.

Although some aspects of the move toward healthy eating are faddish in nature, from the regular proclamation of new “superfoods” to the parade of popular new diets, I think it’s safe to say that the underlying trend is here to stay.

This trend began with the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, which, coupled with the rise of the Internet, gave consumers more tools to make informed decisions. Today, consumers are demanding healthier foods from retailers, and these companies, are in turn, demanding these products from suppliers.

So what does this mean for us here at Trailblazer? What are we doing as a private-label manufacturer to help our retail customers meet this consumer demand?

First, we are flexible and adaptable so we can respond to our customer’s needs. Different people have different priorities when it comes to food choices. Some want the traditional grocery products that they’ve been buying for decades and we have a number of products that meet their needs.  Others want low-sugar or low-sodium foods, while still others are looking for gluten-free or low-carb options. Some seek out organic or all-natural products, or foods that are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Whatever our customers are looking for, we identify and contract with farms and suppliers that are capable of meeting their specific requirements.

Second, we carefully audit our suppliers to ensure the quality, safety, purity and traceability of the ingredients we use. We have strict criteria for contracting with a source and we require extensive documentation of quality and safety measures.

Finally, we work closely with farms and other suppliers to make sure their products, such as fruit for preserves, are delivered in a form and at a time that will enable us to make a fresh and flavorful product, and we use state-of-the-art processing technology and packaging to ensure that flavors and nutrients are retained.

Through it all, we’re also very conscious of cost. Price is often a limiting factor for consumers who want to eat fresher, healthier food. Many of our retail customers are trying to reach a broader audience, beyond the affluent, with their healthy private-label products so we do our part to keep costs down and keep a healthier diet within reach.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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3.02.2015

Supporting a Store Brand

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Private labels have given retailers a chance to create new profit centers, but they’ve also introduced a number of risks, including those associated with product recalls due to safety or quality issues. To minimize risks, it’s important for retailers and product purchasers to partner with manufacturers who can demonstrate a commitment to food quality and food safety. In addition, buyers will need to find manufacturers who can deliver the goods in terms of meeting specific needs as well as pricing limitations.

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Private labels have given retailers a chance to create new profit centers, but they’ve also introduced a number of risks, including those associated with product recalls due to safety or quality issues. To minimize risks, it’s important for retailers and product purchasers to partner with manufacturers who can demonstrate a commitment to food quality and food safety. In addition, buyers will need to find manufacturers who can deliver the goods in terms of meeting specific needs as well as pricing limitations.

Staying Power of Store Brands

What was once thought to be a fad appears to be here to stay. Private labels have been around for some time, but they really began to find favor during the Great Recession. Consumers, perhaps even begrudgingly, turned to store brands to stretch their limited dollars. In doing so, many shoppers discovered that high quality products could be had at a lower cost than national brands, which often need to bump up prices to cover their costs of marketing and shelf space.

While broad economic hardship has seemingly passed, the growth of private label continues. According to the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s 2014 Annual Private Label Yearbook, unit and dollar shares rose in grocery stores. Since 2011, store brands in supermarkets have gained three percent on an annual basis, and across the board, private labels across all outlets have grown five percent annually.

What’s more, a relatively young segment of the population has adopted store brands. Consumer research by Mintel shows that 63 percent of Millennials and post-Millennials are high users of store brands, with Generation X reporting the second-highest level at 55 percent. Retailers now have an opportunity to build loyalty that, in turn, has potential to supply regular sales and profits far down the road.

Providing consumers with a high quality product that rivals that of a national brand—at a cost savings—is certainly one of the best ways to start building loyalty. But quality doesn’t end with the taste, texture, or packaging of a product. Safety is of paramount importance. Product recalls cost companies significant time, money, and effort to execute, and the economic impact to the U.S. alone was found in one 2010 study to be $152 billion.

Given the many players in the production chain today, how can retailers and product purchasers assure the quality and safety of a food item?

Get to the Source

Being selective about production partners—from growers to processors and manufacturers—is critical. For products that rely on fresh produce from farm fields and orchards, it’s necessary to develop a clear understanding of the conditions under which ingredients are grown and otherwise produced in order to minimize risks of food safety hazards and assure the highest quality of final product.

Manufacturers and co-packers have a vested interest in a retailer’s process: Their own success depends on the reliability of their suppliers. Work with manufacturers that provide transparency into their methods for sourcing ingredients. They should maintain strict criteria for considering a source as well as documentation supporting the selection of a source.

A supplier compliance procedure should be rigorous. For example, Trailblazer Foods, which produces store brand as well as proprietary items, carries out regular, in-person supplier audits that involve touring a current or potential supplier’s operations in order to ensure that its selected ingredients meet strict food safety and quality requirements.

Audits provide an up-close view of a supplier to assess for best agricultural practices and verify that ingredients are produced, packed, handled, and stored in the safest manner possible. When timed well, visits may coincide with harvest, at which point the company can observe the care with which fruit is gathered and whether it’s being picked at its peak for the best flavor.

In addition, an audit provides the opportunity to verify that proper pre-requisite programs are in place to support a supplier’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan. Numerous programs are up for review, such as pest control, sanitation, maintenance, waste management, recall and withdrawal, and Good Manufacturing Practices.

Just as important as dedication to creating a quality product is a sense of pride in operations. Visiting a site provides the chance to speak with key personnel. Not only does engaging in dialog offer insight to the product but it indicates whether attitudes are positive and that there is a true desire to be a part of a larger team.

Finally, the atmosphere and care on a farm must extend beyond the fields and on the road to the processing plants. Farms must put thought into logistics for transporting their fruit, ensuring that product is handled appropriately and kept at proper temperatures. Plans should be well thought out and economical.

Adhere to Stringent Examinations

With private label products, retailers risk their reputations on the quality contained within. And it’s not just quality that is a concern. Food safety is critical, and many retailers with their own labels are requiring certifications from all members within their supply and manufacturing chains.

In the last five years, for instance, several national grocers began to require all of their suppliers adhere to Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards. Meeting such standards provides a “high degree of confidence” in the design, implementation, and maintenance of food safety management systems. After fully and consistently implementing the requirement across all private label suppliers, the retailers are seeing a significant decrease in the number of recalls.

When selecting a manufacturing partner, develop an evaluation process that incorporates a review of documents and certifications. Such a step ensures that suppliers will be in line with a retailer’s commitment to providing quality, safe food products. As there is no overarching, governing body that certifies vendors and suppliers, it’s up to retailers and their manufacturing partners to establish guidelines for those interested in doing business with them.

For processors and manufacturers, GFSI standards are common and provide assurance of safe food management programs. In addition, the Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification program is recognized worldwide among those seeking a “rigorous, credible food safety management system.” With the recent passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, all parties in the food supply chain will be required to pay heed to additional food defense measures.

When evaluating along the supply chain and assessing farms, consider Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). Following GAP may involve delving into farm sanitation or spray records. In essence, by taking the time to verify production, handling, packaging, and storage practices, the farm’s ability to produce safe, quality food will become evident.

During the evaluation process and facility or farm tours, request supporting documentation of an operation’s commitment to safety and quality. Documents may include policies, procedures, a HACCP plan, audit schemes, and results, as well as any pertinent certifications. Be sure documents are up-to-date, and be prepared to invest significant time in researching a potential supplier or vendor. Depending on the supplier, the produce, and any unique parameters for ingredients or handling, the process could take anywhere from several days to a couple of months.

A supplier evaluation program does not end with the initial approval. Rather, each supplier should be evaluated continuously to ensure that standards are maintained. Consider requiring annual updates of audit records and certifications. Also, revisit farms and facilities several times a season for greater assurance that safe, quality ingredients are received.

Price Drives Decisions

Price is a critical factor in any arrangement, but it is typically considered last in a three-tiered deal. Once suppliers are vetted for the volume of product required and quality standards are met, price must fit into a company’s model.

For private labels, price can be a sensitive issue. National brands tend to set pricing, and private labels typically sell at a 25 percent to 30 percent discount. If farmers are facing a difficult year, costs may be driven up. Retailers may need to accept reduced margins, consider offering their consumers less of a discount relative to major brands, or find a cheaper source for their ingredients.

To secure greater flexibility in pricing and availability, consider developing a stable of suppliers for any given commodity. If one is unable to fulfill a contracted amount, another may be able to make up the balance. Most processors allow for multiple suppliers, ensuring a higher assurance that end demand can be met.

Stay on Top of Special Requests

Consumers are increasingly seeking out foods with specific qualities: certified organic, kosher, vegan, and gluten-free are just a few of the overriding buzzwords on grocer’s shelves. For some consumers, their selections have a real impact on their overall health and well-being, so it is critical to find vendors and suppliers with reliable and traceable sources. Maintain any relevant certifications, in addition to those for food safety, to provide customers with documentation if requested.

Traceability is an essential part of the manufacturing process. The ability to follow a material or product through all stages of the supply and distribution chain is vital to consumers’ safety. A fast response to food safety issues not only helps protect public health and safety, but is instrumental in protecting the viability and longevity of an organization and its reputation.

For retailers of private label products, traceability also provides important information on the quality aspect of the finished good. If a particular product receives rave reviews, manufacturers can pinpoint the farms and their specific varieties that contributed to its superiority, allowing manufacturers to refine their recipes. Likewise, products that underwhelm consumers can be evaluated down to the suppliers, and recipes again can be tweaked to make a more palatable finished product.

Quality From Farm to Fork

Fundamentally, choosing a supplier comes down to need, availability, qualifications, and price. Within these parameters, there is room for implementing practices that can help protect the integrity of a sourced product and, ultimately, the final product delivered to consumers. Evaluate all partners closely and maintain a commitment to frequent audits to ensure quality from farm to fork.

Read the full article at Food Quality & Safety.


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2.13.2015

Trailblazer Foods Receives Energy Grants from Energy Trust of Oregon

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Trailblazer Food Products, a Portland, Ore.-based manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products, said it received cash awards totaling $67,000 from the Energy Trust of Oregon in support of the company's sustainability initiatives.

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Trailblazer Food Products, a Portland, Ore.-based manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products, said it received cash awards totaling $67,000 from the Energy Trust of Oregon in support of the company’s sustainability initiatives.

In 2013, a team affiliated with Energy Trust performed an audit of Trailblazer Foods’ manufacturing facilities to identify areas in which the company’s operations could be more energy-efficient. In response to recommendations emerging from the audit, Trailblazer said it implemented two highly effective energy-saving projects.

First, Trailblazer said it replaced all lighting in its facility with new energy-efficient LED lights and motion sensors. Second, the company replaced and upgraded an old air compressor used in the production process. As a result of the compressor upgrade alone, Trailblazer Foods expects its investment to pay off in less than three years. The investments in these updates totaled $142,000, with grant incentives funding 47 percent of the cost.

Additional energy-efficiency measures still in the planning and implementation phases include a steam system upgrade and installation of a new boiler, the company said.

“We’re pleased with the cost savings, of course,” said Rob Miller, CEO, Trailblazer Foods, “but the biggest benefit is running an effective business efficiently. Sustainability is very important to us. All our employees are committed to the responsible use of resources, and we will continue to look for ways to increase our efficiency and decrease waste.”

Read the article at Store Brands.


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2.13.2015

Trailblazer’s 2015 Forecast and Trends on our Radar

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At the beginning of each year, I take a step back and review my business successes and setbacks over the last year. I get excited about how well Trailblazer stayed on track with industry trends – or how we broke the mold and still found success.  At the same time, I take a hard look […]

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At the beginning of each year, I take a step back and review my business successes and setbacks over the last year. I get excited about how well Trailblazer stayed on track with industry trends – or how we broke the mold and still found success.  At the same time, I take a hard look at what didn’t work and why – could we have met retailer demand stronger? At the end of the day, Trailblazer continues to grow through our jams and jellies offerings, so you might wonder why we also focus on innovative flavors and product categories.

A recently published IRI Times & Trends report has been making its rounds among my PL industry peers. The report found that U.S. consumers spent $120 billion on private label products in 2014, marking a year-over-year increase of 2.1 percent. While the report concluded that this growth was sparked by competitive pricing and will level off, it also highlighted how PL manufacturers can stay top-of-mind with consumers.

I am increasingly viewing Trailblazer’s store-brand offerings as a strategic tool and an opportunity to build customer loyalty. This trend will be strengthened in 2015 by the growing emphasis on food safety, product quality and innovation – all areas where our business excels.

The IRI report emphasized that PL manufacturers should continue to explore new aisles and categories. Based on 2014 sales, the market segments where I expect to see the most growth this year are coconut products, jams and jellies featuring unique flavor combinations (organic mango and passion fruit, pepper jelly, etc.), and better-for-you products (organic, gluten-free or no added sugar, for example).

Whether we’re producing branded or private label products, Trailblazer is committed to providing the highest quality at the best value and responding quickly to our customers’ changing needs. We are able to scale our production so that it can be easily updated to meet consumer demand. We strive to be a retailer’s supplier of choice, and we’ve seen that our customer service can make the difference.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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2.12.2015

Trailblazer Foods Receives Grants from Energy Trust of Oregon

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has received cash awards totaling $67,000 from the Energy Trust of Oregon in support of the company’s sustainability initiatives.

In 2013, a team affiliated with Energy Trust performe...

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has received cash awards totaling $67,000 from the Energy Trust of Oregon in support of the company’s sustainability initiatives.

In 2013, a team affiliated with Energy Trust performed an audit of Trailblazer Foods’ manufacturing facilities to identify areas in which the company’s operations could be more energy efficient. In response to recommendations emerging from the audit, Trailblazer has implemented two highly effective energy-saving projects.

First, Trailblazer replaced all lighting in its facility with new, energy-efficient LED lights and motion sensors. Second, the company replaced and upgraded an old air compressor used in the production process. The investments in these updates totaled $142,000, with grant incentives funding 47 percent of the cost.

Additional energy-efficiency measures still in the planning and implementation phases include a steam system upgrade and installation of a new boiler.

As a result of the compressor upgrade alone, Trailblazer Foods’ expects to save 99,773 worth of kWh, and the company expects its investment to pay off within 2.7 years.

“We’re pleased with the cost savings, of course,” said Rob Miller, CEO of Trailblazer Foods, “but the biggest benefit is running an effective business efficiently. Sustainability is very important to us. All our employees are committed to the responsible use of resources, and we will continue to look for ways to increase our efficiency and decrease waste.”

 

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

 

About Energy Trust of Oregon

Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and generating renewable power. Our services, cash incentives and energy solutions have helped participating customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas save nearly $1.7 billion on energy bills. Our work helps keep energy costs as low as possible, creates jobs and builds a sustainable energy future. Learn more at www.energytrust.org or call 1-866-368-7878.

 

Media Contact

Sonal Haladay
503.546.7860 | sonal.haladay@lanepr.com

 


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2.04.2015

Trailblazer Foods Supports Community with Charitable Contributions

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., continued its philanthropic commitment by giving $48,000 in cash donations to local and regional nonprofit organizations along with $38,000 in food products in 2014.

“We at Trailblazer are com...

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., continued its philanthropic commitment by giving $48,000 in cash donations to local and regional nonprofit organizations along with $38,000 in food products in 2014.

“We at Trailblazer are committed to supporting our community and helping the hundreds of individuals and families in need,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “We are proud to contribute to a wide range of local and regional organizations that are making a real difference in people’s lives.”

In 2014, Trailblazer Foods made significant charitable donations to Beaverton Foursquare Church, Birch Community Services, Embrace Oregon, Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament, Lake Oswego Young Life, Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, Oregon City Youth Sports, the Salvation Army and YMCA of Columbia-Willamette.

Product Contributions included the following:

  • Donation of an average of 125 to 155 cases of product every month, with an average value of $2,900 to $3,300 per month
  • Donation of jam, syrup and coconut items to local charities for food boxes and dinners during the holiday season

For more information on Trailblazer Foods, its history in the Pacific Northwest and the company’s product and service capabilities, visit www.tbfoods.com.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact

Sonal Haladay
503.546.7860 | sonal.haladay@lanepr.com


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1.06.2015

New Year’s Resolutions and A Healthier Lifestyle for 2015

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Happy 2015! Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like many people, you may have resolved to live a healthier lifestyle this year. Experts suggest that the best way to make your resolutions stick is to make small, achievable modifications to your diet and lifestyle rather than attempting to completely change all your […]

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Happy 2015! Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like many people, you may have resolved to live a healthier lifestyle this year. Experts suggest that the best way to make your resolutions stick is to make small, achievable modifications to your diet and lifestyle rather than attempting to completely change all your habits at once. If you keep your expectations realistic and avoid creating situations that make you feel deprived, you’re more likely to stick with your resolutions over the long term.

One easy step you can take to improve your diet is to use healthier alternatives to sugar. At Trailblazer Foods, one of the biggest consumer trends we’ve seen over the last couple of years is the pursuit of healthier ingredients, and we’ve responded by providing our customers with a variety of options. Unsweetened shredded and flaked coconut, for example, has become extremely popular as an ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Thanks to its unique texture and flavor, it can enhance many dishes without the need to add sugar. It also offers a variety of health benefits. While some of the more miraculous-sounding properties attributed to coconut may be exaggerated, there is no doubt that it is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Blue agave nectar is another sweetener embraced by people looking for natural options. This mild nectar is sweeter than sugar, so less can be used.

Trailblazer began producing some of these kosher, healthier sugar alternatives back in the second quarter of 2013 due to direct customer demand. We are now able to produce 15 tons of coconut and 85 tons of blue agave per day – putting us in a good position to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions.

Mike Post is director of retail sales at Trailblazer Foods.


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12.17.2014

Looking back at 2014 – and forward to 2015

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As 2014 winds down, here at Trailblazer Foods, we think it’s important to look back in order to move forward. This year marked our 30th anniversary and we celebrated by adding several new customers, developing a wide range of new products, completing the Safe Quality Food Level 2 re-certification process for the fourth time, launching […]

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As 2014 winds down, here at Trailblazer Foods, we think it’s important to look back in order to move forward. This year marked our 30th anniversary and we celebrated by adding several new customers, developing a wide range of new products, completing the Safe Quality Food Level 2 re-certification process for the fourth time, launching a new website and receiving awards for our community involvement and sustainability efforts.

In addition to reflecting on the milestones we've reached this past year, we also consider what was happening in the marketplace, so we can ensure we’re meeting the needs of our customers moving forward.  

A recent IRI study reveals that grocery shoppers are visiting fewer stores and choosing those they perceive as offering the best value. So naturally, retailers are increasingly looking to private-label manufacturers—like Trailblazer Foods—to provide their customers with the value they seek, without sacrificing quality. Another report by Packaged Facts suggests that one trend driving long-term growth in the private label segment is consumers’ desire to eat healthy on a budget. Other key trends that retailers are capitalizing on with their store brands include local sourcing, gluten-free products, and premium or gourmet products.

Looking ahead, I believe there is still considerable room for growth, both for Trailblazer Foods and the private-label market as a whole. For example, the private-label market in the U.S. is not yet fully mature, with saturation rates far below those seen in Europe. However, Packaged Facts projects that retail dollar sales of private label food and beverages will grow by a compound annual growth rate of 4 percent to reach $122 billion by 2018, so we have every reason to believe that we’ll see continued growth in the New Year and beyond.

As we look ahead to 2015, we’re also looking forward to helping retailers find new ways to deliver on their brands’ promises of quality, value and innovation. 

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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12.16.2014

Private Label as a Strategic Weapon

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In an interview with Elaine Watson, the CEO of Trailblazer Foods, Rob Miller, discusses how retailers are beginning to view Private Label products as a strategic weapon against national brands. Click here to read the article, which ...

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In an interview with Elaine Watson, the CEO of Trailblazer Foods, Rob Miller, discusses how retailers are beginning to view Private Label products as a strategic weapon against national brands. Click here to read the article, which was featured in the Dec. 16 issue of Food Navigator USA.


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12.03.2014

Reviewing packaging trends from PACK EXPO

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Each year after PACK EXPO International, the largest packaging and processing trade show in North America, our staff at Trailblazer is attentive to the industry news that follows. As a private-label and co-pack manufacturer, we feel it’s important to stay on top of the latest packaging trends that impact our customers. The four-day show is […]

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Each year after PACK EXPO International, the largest packaging and processing trade show in North America, our staff at Trailblazer is attentive to the industry news that follows. As a private-label and co-pack manufacturer, we feel it’s important to stay on top of the latest packaging trends that impact our customers.

The four-day show is produced by PMMI, a trade association for companies that provide packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers. This year, PMMI released the findings of a recent industry study on secondary packaging, which revealed some interesting trends which were driven largely by changes in consumer lifestyles.   

It comes as no surprise, that due to consumer and retailer demand, many companies are looking to find ways to improve their sustainability ratings for secondary packaging, while also being cost-effective. One way to address this is through the use of recycled materials. Another approach to minimize waste is having the secondary packaging serve both a functional purpose (often to support lighter-weight primary packaging) and a visual one as well, directly on the shelf as a display. 

We’ve all seen the uptick in brands using social media and interestingly, many companies are placing more emphasis on food safety and traceability within packaging, not just for consumer health and safety concerns but also to protect brand reputation in an era of immediate and sometimes viral communication. With so many consumers going online or using their mobile devices to shop, packaging designs that stand out on the shelf (in stores) or on screen (for online and mobile shoppers) are integral.

We also learned that lifestyle plays a role in packaging trends:  lightweight and compact packaging as well as convenient grab-and-go portion sizes are important for the busy consumers in urban markets.

While the insights coming out of PACK EXPO may fall within the packaging category, the trends can help inform the practices we employ in all of our operations. 

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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11.21.2014

Baking Season Is Approaching

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While nothing beats the taste of a thick slice of crusty fresh bread with a big dollop of strawberry jam, I think we all have to admit that as the holidays approach our thoughts – and recipes – tend to turn toward desserts. And if you love jams and jellies like many of us here at […]

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While nothing beats the taste of a thick slice of crusty fresh bread with a big dollop of strawberry jam, I think we all have to admit that as the holidays approach our thoughts – and recipes – tend to turn toward desserts. And if you love jams and jellies like many of us here at Trailblazer Foods do, you'll be looking for ways to use your favorite spreads in your baked goods.

Americans are becoming more adventuresome, but the most popular jam and jelly flavors in U.S. households are still strawberry and grape. Clearly, there’s room to explore some new options.

At Trailblazer Foods, we are always thinking about the usage of our private label products beyond their traditional application. Our goal is to provide top-notch branded grocery product manufacturing, with quality jams and jellies for consumers year-round, ensuring the fresh taste of summer strawberries in a classic holiday Bundt cake.

If your fall baking leads you to discover a new favorite, keep it in mind for the holidays. Jams and preserves make excellent gifts for all your friends and family – either by themselves or paired with other treats in a gift basket.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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11.10.2014

Reinvent Your Thanksgiving Recipes with Fusion Flavors

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At Trailblazer Foods, we’ve observed a number of interesting trends relating to consumer purchases of jams, jellies, syrups, sauces and marinades. First is the growing demand for bold, innovative flavor combinations, especially with Asian and Hispanic influences. Fusions of sweet, spicy and savory flavors can add a creative twist to otherwise traditional recipes. Thanksgiving is […]

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At Trailblazer Foods, we’ve observed a number of interesting trends relating to consumer purchases of jams, jellies, syrups, sauces and marinades. First is the growing demand for bold, innovative flavor combinations, especially with Asian and Hispanic influences. Fusions of sweet, spicy and savory flavors can add a creative twist to otherwise traditional recipes.

Thanksgiving is all about tradition, but you don’t need to follow your grandmother’s recipes exactly. You can add a punch of flavor while still allowing the character of the main ingredients to shine through, and not breaking the bank. For example, if you’re brining, marinating or grilling something, try co-pack sauces like orange-mango barbecue glaze or ginger teriyaki sauce. Blackberry chipotle sauce is great for turkey dressing. Serve a vegetable side dish with coconut curry sauce, or baked sweet potatoes with a chipotle glaze.

If you’d rather add a hint of sweetness, think about ways to use jams and jellies in your savory dishes (another current trend). With an assortment of co-pack preserves and jellies to choose from, some examples include serving pork chops with a sauce of cherry preserves, or ham glazed with pineapple-apricot jam. Preserves are great for appetizers, too. Create a cheese plate with jam pairings, or spread cream cheese and jam on crackers. And don’t forget the drinks; fruit preserves make a good addition to a variety of cocktails – which can help get your gathering off to a good start. Finally, one of our Trailblazer favorites is for those leftover turkey sandwiches; try adding a liberal amount of pepper jelly for a bold twist on a holiday classic.

Mike Post is director of retail sales at Trailblazer Foods.


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11.01.2014

Keys to Success in Private Label Manufacturing

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Rob Miller, the CEO of Trailblazer Foods, shares the keys to success in Private Label manufacturing and reflects on 30 years in the business.  Click here to read the article, which originally appeared in the N...

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Rob Miller, the CEO of Trailblazer Foods, shares the keys to success in Private Label manufacturing and reflects on 30 years in the business.  Click here to read the article, which originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of the Shelby Report.


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10.06.2014

Four Considerations when Choosing a Supplier

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We’re all guilty of wanting a good bargain; we want the best product for the lowest price! Choosing a supplier in the manufacturing industry is no different. However, at Trailblazer Foods, pricing isn’t our first consideration. Here’s what’s important to us when choosing a supplier or vendor, including a supplier of produce and other ingredients, such […]

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We’re all guilty of wanting a good bargain; we want the best product for the lowest price! Choosing a supplier in the manufacturing industry is no different. However, at Trailblazer Foods, pricing isn’t our first consideration. Here’s what’s important to us when choosing a supplier or vendor, including a supplier of produce and other ingredients, such as sugars and flavoring:

Food safety qualifications
Food quality and packaging specifications
Specialty food components
Price

Once we’ve identified farmers or other vendors that meet the above criteria, we qualify each potential supplier further to ensure high-quality co-pack manufacturing and private label food products.

Food Safety: Little is more damaging to a product than its implication in foodborne illness. Food safety must be a top priority for any Trailblazer partner. These processors must provide certification of adherence to broadly recognized food safety standards, such as those advanced by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), an industry-driven initiative providing thought leadership and guidance on food safety management system controls necessary to assure the safety of the food supply chain. 

Food Quality, Packaging: At Trailblazer, food quality is the bread and butter of our business. We ensure we are working with farms and producers that meet our standards, have relevant certifications, and provide comprehensive traceability. Efficiency is also important so we look for processors that get their ingredients delivered in a form that will make manufacturing more efficient and result in an extremely fresh, flavorful end product.

Specialty Foods, Organic: Trailblazer recognizes that consumers, and therefore our customers, have varying food preferences, including preferences for certified organic, locally sourced or GMO-free items. For this reason, we contract with farms and processors willing and capable to meet specific demands.

Price: Price negotiations with suppliers are key to remaining competitive and keeping up with, or beating, the national brands’ and corporations’ prices without losing the quality and integrity of the product.

 

Jim Jackson is the director of purchasing for Trailblazer Foods.

 

 

 


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9.16.2014

What does FSMA have in store for us? (Part 2)

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By Tom Boyd To understand how the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will impact Trailblazer, one has to understand where we stand currently. (See Part 1) As discussed, Trailblazer is one of the private label manufacturers that voluntarily chose to comply with GFSI benchmark programs long before the FSMA was passed. So, what does this mean […]

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By Tom Boyd

To understand how the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will impact Trailblazer, one has to understand where we stand currently. (See Part 1)

As discussed, Trailblazer is one of the private label manufacturers that voluntarily chose to comply with GFSI benchmark programs long before the FSMA was passed. So, what does this mean in light of the upcoming FSMA implementation? How will private label manufacturers and their retail partners be affected?

The FSMA received a great deal of press when it was signed into law in 2011, as it represented a major shift in the focus of federal regulators from responding to food contamination to preventing it. In accordance with the legislation, the FDA has proposed a variety of new rules that are now nearing implementation. These rules range from requirements for preventive control measures at processing facilities to stringent verification of foreign suppliers.

First, all players will now be mandatorily held to higher food safety standards. However, companies that have proactively pursued benchmarking certification, like Trailblazer, will already meet the vast majority of these requirements, as the standards are similar in many respects. For example, like SQF, the FSMA will address the entire supply chain, so retailers can assure their customers that the food in their stores has been produced, processed and handled according to the highest possible safety standards at every step. And both systems also require that manufacturers be able to trace every component of a product back to its source. However, some of the FSMA standards are less demanding. For example, the FSMA will require verification only of foreign vendors, while SQF requires all vendors to complete a rigorous approval process.

The U.S. is recognized as having the safest food system in the world, and although the federal government certainly plays an important role in keeping shortsighted companies honest, the drivers behind this remarkable accomplishment have been—and will continue to be—our fellow industry players that are constantly striving to improve their practices in order to provide their customers with safe, quality products.

Tom Boyd is the Food Safety and Quality Assurance Manager at Trailblazer Foods.


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9.12.2014

If it says 'coconut', it sells: Trailblazer Foods

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In an interview with Maggie Hennessy, Trailblazer Foods' Jim Jackson, director of purchasing, and Mike Post, director of sales, provides insight to the craze for coconut products among consumers.

In 2014, Trailblazer noted a 12% increase in flaked and shredded coconut production and increasing consumer demand for additional 'healthy, better fo...

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In an interview with Maggie Hennessy, Trailblazer Foods’ Jim Jackson, director of purchasing, and Mike Post, director of sales, provides insight to the craze for coconut products among consumers.

In 2014, Trailblazer noted a 12% increase in flaked and shredded coconut production and increasing consumer demand for additional ‘healthy, better for you’ coconut products, including flour, sugar, cream, and oil. Click here to read the article, which was featured in the Sept. 12 issue of Food Navigator USA.


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8.29.2014

What does FSMA have in store for us? (Part 1)

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By Tom Boyd Private label manufacturers and their partners have driven significant change at all levels of the food supply chain, implementing rigorous measures to ensure the safety and quality of the products they provide—whether these measures are required by federal regulations or not. While the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will close many […]

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By Tom Boyd

Private label manufacturers and their partners have driven significant change at all levels of the food supply chain, implementing rigorous measures to ensure the safety and quality of the products they provide—whether these measures are required by federal regulations or not.

While the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will close many gaps and require all industry players to follow improved food safety practices, it is nonetheless impressive what companies have been able to achieve on their own initiative.

First, let’s explore a little background on where we stand currently before we get into FSMA’s implications in Part 2.

The most recent major push for improved food safety systems began in early 2000, following several food scares, when a number of major retailers saw that declining customer confidence was affecting their bottom line. These retailers developed the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and began requiring that their suppliers comply with GFSI-certified audit schemes such as those provided by the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Institute.

Trailblazer is one of the private label manufacturers that voluntarily chose to comply with GFSI benchmark programs long before the FSMA was passed. We’re in our fourth year of SQF Level 2 certification and believe that proactive benchmarking speaks to our consistent commitment to maintaining an environment that ensures safe, high-quality products for our customers—the ultimate goal of every reputable player in the food industry.

For those still playing catch-up in the area of food safety, the FSMA will force a change of priorities. But, given the food industry’s history of proactively promoting improved safety processes, we expect companies will continue to lead the way in raising food safety standards and expectations in the future.

Tom Boyd is the Food Safety and Quality Assurance Manager at Trailblazer Foods.

Photo Credit: Shubert Ciencia, Flickr


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8.29.2014

Trailblazer Foods Ramps up Production of Coconut Products Ahead of Holiday Season

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Manufacturer prepares for increased consumer, holiday demand

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., is ramping up production of flaked and shredded coconut in time to meet the high volume of consumer demand projected for the holiday season.

The company produces sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut and is in the midst of its push to package half of its coconut volume for the year. Over a 10-week period beginning in July, Trailblazer Foods packages up to 15 tons of coconut product on a daily basis.

“While this is the time of year that we prepare for the holiday rush, we are keeping an eye on trends with coconut products to ensure that we can meet consumer demand at any time of year.” says Rob Miller, CEO of Trailblazer Foods.

Widely embraced as a functional food with extensive health benefits, coconut – in a variety of forms – has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity. Coconut is a longtime holiday favorite for baking, but it’s also being incorporated into more dishes on a daily basis to insert additional fiber, vitamins and minerals into a balanced diet. Known for its versatility, coconut adds unique flavor and texture to salads, granolas, trail mixes and savory-sweet meat dishes.

“Although our facilities are engaged in producing enough coconut for the holiday season right now, our planning started months ago,” explains Jim Jackson, director of purchasing for Trailblazer Foods. “We keep tabs on consumer and demand trends, and we order product in the spring to be sure we’re prepared for our pre-holiday summer push. This year, we will be packaging approximately 12% percent more coconut than last year thanks to its growing popularity.”

As it is a holiday staple for desserts, Trailblazer Foods ramps up production in late summer to ensure that only the freshest flaked and shredded coconut is on the shelves when it’s time to prepare special celebratory feasts.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact

Sonal Haladay
503.546.7860 | sonal.haladay@lanepr.com


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8.28.2014

Sweeteners get real [StoreBrands]

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Today, consumers are increasingly choosing these types of “real” ingredients over artificial alternatives, with health concerns being a primary motivator.

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Completely natural and minimally processed, pure maple syrup and honey have been in regular use for centuries. Today, consumers are increasingly choosing these types of “real” ingredients over artificial alternatives, with health concerns being a primary motivator.

“With regard to honey and maple syrup, the focus will continue to be product purity and ensuring that the products remain unadulterated,” says Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods, Portland, Ore. “More generally among the segment, we expect there to be continued segmentation through innovation.”

Within honey, trends include the growth of organic, raw and local honeys, as well as different varietals of honey — each with its own distinct flavor, says Tony Schmitz, general manager, Smitty Bee Honey Inc., Defiance, Iowa.

And among pourable sweeteners, pure maple syrup is continuing to attract consumer attention.

“Pure maple syrup rings up as a top-selling grocery item by dollar sales for our customers,” says Emma Marvin, director of marketing for Butternut Mountain Farm, Morrisville, Vt.

In the eyes of today’s consumer, pure maple syrup and honey are often viewed as pure commodities. Unlike table syrup, formulations do not change significantly, making the number of new offerings less common.

Better-for-you ingredients such as agave or flavor enhancements, Miller notes, will add value to consumers in the overall syrup category.

“On a more general level,” he adds, “we see opportunity to innovate around new ideas that have already found consumer acceptance in other categories — maple-flavored agave syrup, for example.”

Read the full article at StoreBrands.

© 2014 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 


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8.28.2014

Sauce up sales [StoreBrands]

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From convenience to flavor to variety, the sauce and marinade category is one segment in which retailers really can offer it all. And if they want to step up sales, now is the time to add some creativity into the mix for store brand offerings.

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From convenience to flavor to variety, the sauce and marinade category is one segment in which retailers really can offer it all. And if they want to step up sales, now is the time to add some creativity into the mix for store brand offerings.

“There is a buzz in the air about innovative cooking, and sauces and marinades offer turnkey meal solutions,” says Mike Post, director of retail sales at Portland, Ore.-based Trailblazer Foods, which manufacturers a number of sauces, marinades and glazes under retailers’ own brands and for foodservice.

According to “Sauces, Dressings and Condiments in the US,” a December 2013 report from London-based market research firm Euromonitor International, more people are eating out now that the recession has ended. But many others are still eating at home, and they are seeking premium ingredients and products that offer a restaurant-quality meal.

Read the full article at StoreBrands.

© 2014 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.


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8.14.2014

R&D: The brain center for innovation

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By Rob Miller Research and development is one of the most exciting components in the private label industry. At Trailblazer, the R&D department is where the magic happens; where we brainstorm and develop new ideas and test new products– it is the epicenter of all our creativity and innovation. One main project managed by the […]

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By Rob Miller

Research and development is one of the most exciting components in the private label industry. At Trailblazer, the R&D department is where the magic happens; where we brainstorm and develop new ideas and test new products-- it is the epicenter of all our creativity and innovation.

One main project managed by the R&D staff is comprehensive national and international market testing. Just earlier this year, I had the privilege of joining one of our sales managers for market testing of our new products in Asia, calling on several of our customers to participate. A whirlwind tour, we traveled to Korea, Taiwan, Japan and China in just five days to discuss and share information about our new fruit spreads. I'm happy to report that as a result, customers will begin to see several new Walls Berry Farm Fruit Spreads at our retail partners across Asia.

Another major priority for R&D is developing new and unique flavors to meet customer demands.

After extensive observation and research, we’ve manufactured our first shipment of Organic Mango & Passion Fruit and our first order for Raspberry and Acai, here in the United States. These "superfruit" combinations were designed to be seasonal items and carried for only a short time by our retail partners. So, if you see them, be sure to pick one up, because they won’t be on shelves much longer. They're great products, using more fruit than a traditional preserve and sweetened only with cane sugar.

Enjoy the rest of summer and check back here, later. We may have more product news!

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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8.01.2014

Store brand spreads [Private Label Buyer]

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The Spreads category has begun to see more diversity, with a nice selection of products beginning to appear at drug and dollar stores, as well as the usually solid grocery channels.

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The Spreads category has begun to see more diversity, with a nice selection of products beginning to appear at drug and dollar stores, as well as the usually solid grocery channels.

Read the full article at Private Label Buyer.

 


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7.28.2014

Christmas in July: Coconut production begins for holiday baking season

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By Rob Miller Planned trips to the river, outdoor sporting events and warm weather means summer is in full swing. With the sun beaming down, fall and winter weather is something we, in the Pacific Northwest, try to ignore for as long as possible. However, here at Trailblazer Foods, July marks the beginning of a […]

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By Rob Miller

Planned trips to the river, outdoor sporting events and warm weather means summer is in full swing. With the sun beaming down, fall and winter weather is something we, in the Pacific Northwest, try to ignore for as long as possible. However, here at Trailblazer Foods, July marks the beginning of a very busy season as we ramp-up and prepare for the holidays.

One item in high demand during the holidays is shredded coconut. Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, but it’s also a delicious staple for the holiday cook. A versatile ingredient, coconut is used for a variety of recipes including cookies, brownies, pies, salads, granolas, trail-mixes, and savory-sweet meat dishes. Due to this heightened seasonal popularity, we produce about 50% of our annual coconut volume within a 10-week window. During this time we are regularly packaging up to 15 tons of sweetened or unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut… daily. Now that’s a lot of coconut!

So, while you’re out enjoying the summer sun, rest assured that come holiday baking season, we’ll have you covered on the coconut front.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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7.23.2014

Jams, jellies go beyond smearing on toast [Food Navigator USA]

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Millennials are driving food trends on the supermarket shelf and shaking up the longtime pantry staple of jams and jellies in the process.

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Whether it’s bringing bold heat, blending unusual flavors, adding a punch of superfruit or cleaning up the label, Millennials are driving food trends on the supermarket shelf and shaking up the longtime pantry staple of jams and jellies in the process, says Portland, OR-based Trailblazer Foods, one of the largest producers of preserves, jellies, table syrups, shredded and flaked coconut, pie filling and glazes. 

Read the full article at Food Navigator USA.

© 2014 Food Navigator USA. All rights reserved.

 


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7.14.2014

Get creative with jams and jellies

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By Rob Miller The summer months and fall holidays conjure up some of the most imaginative kitchen creations of the year, especially for those of us in the food business. July and August is harvest season ― an inspirational time when we bring in fresh fruits and begin creating classic and innovative new products for […]

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By Rob Miller

The summer months and fall holidays conjure up some of the most imaginative kitchen creations of the year, especially for those of us in the food business. July and August is harvest season ― an inspirational time when we bring in fresh fruits and begin creating classic and innovative new products for our clients.

This year’s harvest got me thinking about all of the different ways I enjoy using jams and jellies, and my favorites can take you well beyond the traditional toast and jam or peanut butter and jelly combos that come to mind for many of us. And it’s not just me. Over the past few months, there’s been a rising trend and demand for food fusions ― mixtures of sweet, spicy and savory flavors ― and uses of jams and jellies beyond the breakfast table.

Consumers are beginning to experiment and incorporate different types of jams and jellies into their recipes, adding a bit of sweetness to grilling marinades, pie fillings, salad dressings, savory sandwiches or ice cream toppings. Jam and jelly flavor varieties open up a range of culinary possibilities, from an apricot-pineapple glazed BBQ pork loin to a raspberry jam vinaigrette.

In the spirit of summer– here’s one of my favorite jam recipes. Got a pen? This one is tricky. Take a block of traditional cream cheese, grab a jar of your favorite jam or jelly ― as a true Northwesterner, I prefer marionberry ― and cover the cheese with the jam. Grab a box of your favorite crackers, gather your friends and family, and enjoy as an early-evening appetizer or late-night snack.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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6.24.2014

Summer is here!

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By Rob Miller Summer – most people love summer! It means vacation, time with family and, here in the Northwest, it means great weather! At Trailblazer Foods it’s an important time, too. Summer is harvest season for all the fruits we use to manufacture our jellies, preserves and fruit spreads throughout the year. Our purchasing […]

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By Rob Miller

Summer – most people love summer! It means vacation, time with family and, here in the Northwest, it means great weather!

At Trailblazer Foods it's an important time, too. Summer is harvest season for all the fruits we use to manufacture our jellies, preserves and fruit spreads throughout the year. Our purchasing group springs into action, contracting and securing all of the strawberries, raspberries, apricots and other fruit we'll need for the next 12 months. That's right, we need to know at this time of year how much of each fruit we'll need for the next 12 months. It's difficult sometimes, but our team does a great job and we usually get it right.

Summer is also a busy time for Trailblazer because we manufacture a number of "fresh" products ― fruit preserves and spreads that use fruit fresh from the field that are never frozen. Right now, we're running a fresh strawberry product line and the aroma drifting into our offices from the manufacturing floor below is incredible.

Toward the end of summer, all of our employees and their families get together to celebrate the season at our company picnic ― which is not so much a “traditional company picnic” anymore. We all head over to Big Al’s to enjoy some food, games, bowling and give out some prizes. It's a time for us to say "thank you" to the people who come to work every day and make the delicious products you find at our retail partners.

Wherever summer leads you, I hope you have a great time!

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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6.19.2014

Trailblazer Foods Receives ‘Third Way’ Award From Embrace Oregon

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Recognition honors support for Department of Human Services

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, has received a Third Way award from Embrace Oregon in recognition of the company’s creative participation in the Embrace Oregon movement.

Embrace Oregon works to raise awareness of the needs of children and families in the state’s child welfare system and to connect caring people with vulnerable children through partnership with the Department of Human Services (DHS). The Third Way award takes its name from Embrace Oregon’s belief that although people may be polarized and categorized as left or right, the answer to community challenges usually lies in a creative third way.

Trailblazer Foods received the award for partnering with Embrace Oregon to thank DHS employees for their important work and to show support for the organization’s efforts within the community. The day before Thanksgiving, Trailblazer Foods sent 2,500 jars of premium strawberry preserves to DHS employees in the tri-county region and the central office in Salem with the message, “We desire to extend our deepest gratitude to you for the critical role you play in serving vulnerable children and families in our community. Happy Thanksgiving!”

“Dedicated DHS employees do everything in their power to help our community’s most vulnerable families flourish,” said Rob Miller, CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “Embrace Oregon wants to support their efforts and to encourage individuals, families, churches and businesses to work together to meet the needs of the children in our area. We are honored to participate in this initiative.”

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact

Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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6.19.2014

Trailblazer Foods celebrates 30 years of quality grocery products [StoreBrands]

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Portland, Ore.-based Trailblazer Food Products, a manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products, said this year marks its 30th year in business.

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Portland, Ore.-based Trailblazer Food Products, a manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products, said this year marks its 30th year in business. Gary Walls founded Trailblazer Foods in 1984 and began manufacturing preserves and jellies under the Walls Berry Farm name. By 1991, the company’s workforce had more than doubled, and in 1999, the company moved to its current 40,000-square-foot facility.

Walls retired in 2000, but Miller Family Holdings acquired the entire company in 2002. Since then, Trailblazer Foods has continued to grow, supported by its numerous certifications, including organic food certification in 2005, kosher food certification in 2008 and Safe Quality Food Level 2 certification in 2010.

“We’re extremely proud of the milestones we’ve achieved during the past 30 years,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “The grocery industry is exciting and dynamic, and we’re thrilled to be part of an industry with such an important role in our economy and lives. We see a bright future ahead.”

Read the article online at StoreBrands.

© 2014 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.


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6.11.2014

Using the last 30 years to propel forward

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by Rob Miller Thirty years ago, Trailblazer Foods used a steam jacketed kettle to produce our jams and jellies. Today, we still use that original steam jacketed kettle on occasion, but that’s about as vintage as our story gets. Maintaining the vision of founder Gary Walls, who picked berries as a child in the fertile […]

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by Rob Miller

Thirty years ago, Trailblazer Foods used a steam jacketed kettle to produce our jams and jellies. Today, we still use that original steam jacketed kettle on occasion, but that’s about as vintage as our story gets.

Maintaining the vision of founder Gary Walls, who picked berries as a child in the fertile fields of the Willamette Valley, we remain a family-owned business; but now operate out of multiple facilities, with superior machinery and over 120,000 sq. ft. of warehouse and manufacturing space.

Over the years, we have also earned a number of essential certifications as we adapt to our customers’ changing needs, including: organic food certification, kosher food certification and safe quality food certification. To us, quality control is paramount, and in the last 30 years, we have invested, not only in the certifications referenced above, but in people.

A six-person staff, composed of two food scientists, three technicians and a microbiologist, directs quality control at Trailblazer Foods. These people, and the rigorous practices they apply, ensure consistency for our customers and distinguish us in our field.

We also pride ourselves on continually providing a unique variety of products for our customers. For example, the acquisition of our shredded and flaked coconut business in 2009, and the addition of organic blue agave nectar to our product portfolio in 2013, expanded our private label business into additional center store grocery categories.

Ever since my family entered this business in 2000, each time we earn a new certification, invest in our people or broaden our product line to benefit our customers, I am reignited to charge forward and accomplish more. If the last thirty years is a representation of our company’s abilities, then I am thrilled at the anticipation of the next thirty.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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6.10.2014

Defining specialty foods [Private Label Buyer]

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We’ve been on a tear regarding all things “specialty” of late, with content on “Specialty Grocery Branding” and a new category video on “Private Label Specialty Baked Goods Insight."

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By Douglas J. Peckenpaugh, on June 10, 2014

We’ve been on a tear regarding all things “specialty” of late, with content on “Specialty Grocery Branding” and a new category video on “Private Label Specialty Baked Goods Insight.” As part of our research, we talked to Mike Post, director of retail sales for Trailblazer Foods. He’s been in retail food and CPG for more than 30 years, working with brands like Carnation, Eskimo Pie, Klondike Ice Cream and Sorrento Cheese. Now he’s responsible for all sales functions for Trailblazer Foods’ retail customers, including Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and many more. Trailblazer Foods is a manufacturer of private label preserves and jellies, table syrups, and more–many of which fall on the “specialty” end of the spectrum.

Read the full interview at Private Label Buyer.

© 2014 Private Label Buyer. All rights reserved.


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6.03.2014

Trailblazer Foods Launches New Website

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Redesign features richer content, easier navigation

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, has launched a newly redesigned website at www.trailblazerfoods.com. The new site provides richer online content and is easier for users to navigate.

The redesigned website features extensive product and service information to help customers understand Trailblazer’s offerings, which range from private label and co-pack manufacturing to branded products for food service and retail. The site includes an introduction to Trailblazer’s state-of-the-art production facility, which provides clients with consistency, quality and efficiency, and an overview of the company’s quality assurance measures and certifications. The website’s News & Resources section features the latest company announcements, industry coverage, and a blog for expert insights and company updates.

Trailblazer has also updated the Shop section of the website, the online store for the company’s branded products such as Walls Berry Farm Preserves and Nalley’s Lumberjack Table Syrups. Consumers can browse the site and view images and product details before purchasing online.

“Trailblazer is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014, and we wanted to start the year out right, with a web presence that more accurately reflects who we are and what we offer,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Food Products. “Our commitment to customer service includes making sure that the information our current and future customers need is accessible and easy to find.”

About Trailblazer Food Products
Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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5.21.2014

Welcome! Check out our new website and blog

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By Rob Miller Welcome to the Trailblazer Foods company blog! We’re excited to share our latest company information on new and current products, thoughts on industry trends and general leadership notes about current events. As you may have noticed, our team has incorporated suggestions received from partners and customers like you to unveil a new […]

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By Rob Miller

Welcome to the Trailblazer Foods company blog! We’re excited to share our latest company information on new and current products, thoughts on industry trends and general leadership notes about current events.

As you may have noticed, our team has incorporated suggestions received from partners and customers like you to unveil a new website, which now features:

  • At-a-glance pricing and online shopping
  • Partnership information: logistics, sourcing, marketing and services
  • Virtual tours of our production facility and awards
  • Quality assurance guarantee information
  • Enhanced newsroom content

As our product library continues to grow, communication remains of upmost important to us. Our new website and blog is an extension of our continued presence in the private label and co-pack industries, and aims to enhance our customer communication on a digital level.

Take a look around the new site, and be sure to come back to the blog for new posts each month.



Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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4.08.2014

Blazing a trail for food manufacturing, packaging [Gresham Outlook]

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The next time you pick up a bag of sweetened coconut for cooking or baking, you’ll be supporting a local business. Coconut? In Oregon?

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By Anne Endicott  on April 08, 2014

The next time you pick up a bag of sweetened coconut for cooking or baking, you’ll be supporting a local business.

Coconut? In Oregon?

“We are among the top three manufacturers of bagged, sweetened coconut in the U.S.,” said Rob Miller, CEO and president for Trailblazer Food Products. “I think that’s really interesting. Who would ever think this little company in Gresham is one of the country’s largest suppliers of coconut?”

Somewhat hidden from sight, off Northeast 181st Avenue and San Rafael Street, sits a rather low-profile building housing one of largest manufacturers of private-label and branded grocery products in the United States. Your favorite strawberry spread or table syrup was most likely packaged at Trailblazer Foods, and distributed to major retailers like Safeway, Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart and Costco.

And if you’re a fan of flavored syrup on your pancakes at Elmer’s Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner, thank Trailblazer Foods’ founder, Gary Walls.

Walls spent his childhood in the berry fields of the Willamette Valley. He went on to work at fruit processing plants and canneries, and eventually became an overseer for local berry farmers.

In 1977, Walls was hired as an English and physical education teacher at Centennial High School. He also taught a class for adaptive PE and established the Gary Walls Memorial Meet of Champions — Special Olympics. A “gentleman farmer” at heart, Walls planted his own small blueberry farm in rural Gresham, dubbing it Walls Berry Farm.

Read full article at Gresham Outlook.

© 2014 Gresham Outlook. All rights reserved.

Photo: Jim Clark, Outlook.


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3.25.2014

Sweeten sales [StoreBrands]

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Natural sweeteners such as honey and pure maple syrup hold appeal for health-conscious consumers who want to sweeten their food and beverages with less guilt. Retailers wanting to boost sales of their store brand honey and syrup, however, need to keep some category-specific issues in mind in the year ahead.

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March 25, 2014

Natural sweeteners such as honey and pure maple syrup hold appeal for health-conscious consumers who want to sweeten their food and beverages with less guilt. Retailers wanting to boost sales of their store brand honey and syrup, however, need to keep some category-specific issues in mind in the year ahead.

Traceability counts

On the honey front, one of the biggest issues centers on the honey’s source. Americans love honey — we consume more than 400 million pounds of it a year. But we produce only around 145 million pounds of it, and that number is decreasing as the rate of colony collapse disorder among bee colonies increases, according to the True Source Honey LLC website. More honey is being imported, therefore, with some of it is coming illegally from Asia and containing what could be unsafe ingredients such as antibiotics. And some imported “honey” might not even be honey at all, but instead something such as rice syrup.

One way a retailer can be absolutely sure of their honey’s source is through True Source Certification, an auditing process that traces the honey from the American packer to the foreign exporter to the actual beekeeper.

“Most honey imports are high-quality, and many are already True Source Certified, but there are still some bad actors, which is why certification is so important,” says Gordon Marks, executive director of True Source Honey, an organization founded to both bring awareness to the issue and institute the certification process.

Retailers that go through the certification process are able to include the True Source Certified logo on their store brand honey bottles, something that more consumers likely are going to be looking for, thanks to recent news coverage of the issue.

“We think there’s a tremendous benefit to retailers in the program, because it provides traceability,” Marks says. “And for consumers, that traceability means providing confidence in where their foods come from.”

Read full article at StoreBrands.info.

© 2014 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.


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3.21.2014

Trailblazer foods spreading good taste around the world [KGW]

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If you had jelly or preserves with your morning toast, it probably was produced at Portland's Trailblazer foods. It's one of the largest private label food processors in the country.

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by Joe Smith on March 21, 2014

If you had jelly or preserves with your morning toast, it probably was produced at Portland’s Trailblazer foods. It’s one of the largest private label food processors in the country.

The company is now celebrating 30 years of being in a tight jam. Any that’s a good thing. Trailblazer began in 1984. It was started by Gary Wall. He produced jams and jellies and produce the first ever marion berry syrup for Elmer’s restaurants.

In 2004, Rob Miller purchased the company. Today, 600 different products are produced.

Some well-known companies including Albertson’s, Kroger, Safeway and Costco have their own brands made there. Trailblazer works with each company to research and develop their own special recipe.

Everything is done in house, from purchasing fruit, much of it locally, to making the product to packaging it and shipping it.

“The private label market is driven this time by NB, no national brand equivalent,” noted Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer foods. “We want to make sure that every time a consumer goes to a store and buys a private label product it’s as good or better than the national brand.”

On a typical day, as many as 80,000 jars will be filled. The production line runs 24/4. Two labs test each product on a regular basis to insure consistent quality.

Trailblazer also produces products that are organic and a line of kosher foods.

View article at KGW.com.

© 2014 KGW.com. All rights reserved.


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3.11.2014

Trailblazer Foods celebrates 30 years of quality grocery products [Fancy Food Magazine, Portland Food and Drink]

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private-label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014.

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On March 11, 2014

 Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private-label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014.

Trailblazer Foods was the vision of founder Gary Walls, who picked berries as a child in the fertile fields of the Willamette Valley and then worked at fruit processing plants and canneries before moving on to oversee local berry fields and start his own small blueberry farm. As a hobbyist, he developed fruit-based syrups for Elmer’s Pancake House, and from these modest beginnings Trailblazer Foods was formed.

Read full article at Fancy Food Magazine and Portland Food and Drink.


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3.11.2014

Trailblazer Foods Celebrates 30 Years of Quality Grocery Products

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Trailblazer Food Products celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2014

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private-label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014.

Trailblazer Foods was the vision of founder Gary Walls, who picked berries as a child in the fertile fields of the Willamette Valley and then worked at fruit processing plants and canneries before moving on to oversee local berry fields and start his own small blueberry farm. As a hobbyist, he developed fruit-based syrups for Elmer’s Pancake House, and from these modest beginnings Trailblazer Foods was formed.

Walls founded Trailblazer Foods in 1984 and began manufacturing preserves and jellies under the Walls Berry Farm name. The company grew quickly, and by 1991 its workforce had more than doubled. In 1999, to enable further expansion, Trailblazer Foods moved to its current 40,000-square-foot facility in Portland, Ore. When Walls retired in 2000, Miller Family Holdings acquired a majority interest in the company, followed two years later by the remaining interest. Trailblazer Foods invested in a major capital equipment upgrade in 2002 that significantly increased production capacity, and the acquisition of a shredded and flaked coconut business in 2009 created additional market opportunities.

Trailblazer Foods’ growth has been supported by numerous certifications testifying to the quality of the company’s operations, including organic food certification in 2005, kosher food certification in 2008 and ongoing Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 2 certification beginning in 2010.

“We’re extremely proud of the milestones we’ve achieved during the past 30 years,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “The grocery industry is exciting and dynamic, and we’re thrilled to be part of an industry with such an important role in our economy and lives. We see a bright future ahead.”

Today, Trailblazer Foods is one of the western United States’ largest producers of preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened shredded and flaked coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and other sweetener- and fruit-based products. The company also produces sauces, marinades, glazes and various other non-oil-based products.

Trailblazer Foods is a major supplier to the food service industry and a trusted co-packer and private-label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands. The company’s branded products, including Walls Berry Farm Preserves and Nalley’s Lumberjack Table Syrups, are also sold at leading grocery retailers.

“Trailblazer Foods has been a dependable private-label supplier to Western Family for many years,” said Ron King of Western Family Foods. “The company is large enough to provide scale and value, yet small enough to be adaptable. We’ve always appreciated Trailblazer’s flexibility and focus on meeting customer needs, and we wish the company many more decades of success.”

For more information on Trailblazer Foods, its history, and its product and service offerings, visit www.tbfoods.com.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com

 


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2.11.2014

Trailblazer Foods Tallies Notable Charitable Contributions in 2013

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Company donated an average of 80 to 110 cases of product every month to support local, regional charities

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private-label and branded grocery products in the western United States, gave $30,000 in cash donations to local and regional causes in 2013 and another $40,000 in food products to benefit hundreds of individuals and families in need.

“At Trailblazer, we are passionate about giving back to our community, as we understand the immense difference it can make in the lives of local residents,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “We are proud of the charitable causes we supported in 2013 and are looking forward to making 2014 our most successful philanthropic year yet.”

In 2013, Trailblazer Foods and its employees made notable charitable contributions to Beaverton Foursquare Church, Birch Community Services, Embrace Oregon, Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament, Lake Oswego Young Life, Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, Oregon City Youth Sports and YMCA of Columbia-Willamette.

Contributions included the following:

  • Donation of an average of 80 to 110 cases of product every month, with an average value of $2,400 to $3,100 per month.
  • Donation of jam, syrup and coconut items to local charities for food boxes and dinners during the holiday season.
  • Donation of Portland Punch to the Foster Children Holiday Party, a seasonal event hosted by the Department of Human Services, East Multnomah branch, for child welfare.
  • Production of $4,500 worth of strawberry jam with customized labels recognizing the volunteers of Embrace Oregon and the professional staff of the Oregon Department of Human Services.

For more information on Trailblazer Foods, its history in the Pacific Northwest, and the company’s product and service capabilities, visit www.tbfoods.com.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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1.27.2014

Trailblazer Food Products Maintains Safe Quality Food Program’s Level 2 Certification

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Earns highest possible rating in recertification program for third consecutive year

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, completed the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program’s recertification process to maintain its Level 2 rating. With a score of 98 percent, Trailblazer Foods earned an Excellent Rating, the highest possible designation from the globally recognized food safety program.

“We’re entering our fourth year as a Level 2 certified program and proud to again show our customers that we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality products available,” said Charles Nutter, vice president of operations, Trailblazer Foods. “Though some manufacturers are bracing for major changes resulting from the upcoming Food Safety Modernization Act, SQF certification places us ahead of the curve and speaks to our consistent focus on quality and safety.”

SQF Level 2 certification ensures that suppliers maintain good manufacturing processes and utilize science-based methods and systems to minimize food safety risk. Used as a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmark, the SQF Level 2 certification is becoming increasingly important in the U.S. food industry and aligns manufacturers with guidelines put in place by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

In 2011, Trailblazer Foods completed its first recertification process to maintain its Level 2 certification and achieved its first Excellent Rating. In 2012, the company again reached the highest possible designation with a score of 97 percent. This year, Trailblazer Foods retains its Excellent Rating with its highest score yet, 98 percent.

Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands includingKroger, Safeway, Walmart and Costco. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com

 


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1.27.2014

FSMA, GFSI turn small processors into competitors [Food Processing Magazine]

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The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) received a great deal of press when it was signed into law in 2011, as it represented a major shift in the focus of federal regulators from responding to food contamination to preventing it.

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By Tom Boyd, on January 27, 2014

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) received a great deal of press when it was signed into law in 2011, as it represented a major shift in the focus of federal regulators from responding to food contamination to preventing it. In accordance with the legislation, the FDA has proposed a variety of new rules that are now nearing implementation.

For example, processing facilities must establish preventive control measures to reduce the risk of contamination, while science-based standards are also being established for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. Importers will be required to verify that the food safety procedures followed by their foreign suppliers are adequate, and third-party auditors can be accredited to conduct food safety audits and to certify foreign facilities and food products.

While FSMA will close many gaps and require all industry players to follow improved food safety practices, it is impressive what companies have been able to achieve on their own initiative in recent years. Food manufacturers and their partners have driven significant change at all levels of the food supply chain, implementing rigorous measures to ensure the safety and quality of the products they provide to their customers — whether these measures are required by federal regulations or not.

Read full article at Food Processing.

© 2014 Food Processing. All rights reserved.


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1.27.2014

Unsweetened coconut [StoreBrands]

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Trailblazer Food Products is now producing unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut for retailers’ store brand programs.

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On January 27, 2014

Trailblazer Food Products is now producing unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut for retailers’ store brand programs. Popular among health-conscious cooks and bakers, unsweetened coconut is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and contains natural sugars and fats. It has no added salt or preservatives and contains fewer calories and carbohydrates than traditional sweetened alternatives.

View article at StoreBrand.info and the March 2014 print issue (p. 88).

© 2014 StoreBrand. All rights reserved.


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1.21.2014

Albertsons Now Carrying Iconic Pacific Northwest Products from Trailblazer Foods

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Walls Berry Farm Preserves and Nalley’s Lumberjack Syrup Claim Space on Grocer’s Shelves

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is partnering with Albertsons, a Pacific Northwest-based grocer, to stock iconic regional products including Walls Berry Farm Preserves and Nalley’s Lumberjack Syrup.

“Trailblazer Foods is proud of its Northwest heritage and the unique products that showcase the best of our corner of the country,” said Mike Post, director of sales for Trailblazer Food Products. “We’re excited to partner with Albertsons and support longstanding local businesses by providing broader distribution of products that have built a strong and loyal following.”

“Albertsons is always looking for quality products to share with our customers,” added Dennis Schwarz, vice president of marketing & merchandising for Albertsons LLC. “Walls Berry Farm Preserves and Nalley’s Lumberjack Syrup are well-loved brands for a reason: rich flavor that speaks to their Northwest roots. We’re excited to introduce these top-quality, local products to our Northwest customers.”

The Trailblazer Foods brands are currently on Albertsons store shelves in Oregon and Washington.

Walls Berry Farm Preserves capture the flavors of the Northwest with original recipes dating back to 1850, when the Walls family moved to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Albertsons now carries the marionberry, strawberry, red raspberry and four berry varieties.

Nalley’s Lumberjack Table Syrups add rich and hearty Pacific Northwest flavor to pancakes, waffles and other breakfast foods. The syrups available at Albertsons include original- and butter-flavored.

In addition to the company’s branded products, including Walls Berry Farm Preserves and Nalley’s Lumberjack Table Syrups, Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Albertsons LLC

Albertsons is working to become the favorite food and drug retailer in every state in which it operates. An Idaho-based company with a rich history extending back to 1939, Albertsons stores now operate in 16 states at over 600 locations. For more information about Albertsons, visit www.albertsons.com or www.facebook.com/albertsons.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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1.01.2014

Proactive private label manufacturers lead the way in food safety standards [StoreBrands]

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Private label manufacturers and their partners have driven significant change at all levels of the food supply chain, implementing rigorous measures to ensure the safety and quality of the products they provide – whether these measures are required by federal regulations or not.

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By Tom Boyd, TrailBlazer Foods, on January 1, 2014

Private label manufacturers and their partners have driven significant change at all levels of the food supply chain, implementing rigorous measures to ensure the safety and quality of the products they provide – whether these measures are required by federal regulations or not. While the FDAs Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will close many gaps and require all industry players to follow improved food safety practices, it is nonetheless impressive what companies have been able to achieve on their own initiative.

The most recent major push for improved food safety systems began in early 2000, following several food scares, when a number of major retailers saw that declining customer confidence was affecting their bottom line. These retailers developed the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and began requiring their suppliers to comply with GFSI-certified audit schemes such as those provided by Safe Quality Food (SQF) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Read full article at StoreBrands.info.

© 2014 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.


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12.02.2013

Trailblazer Foods CEO: The US private label market has changed beyond all recognition [Food Navigator USA]

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While private label penetration rates in the US “pale in comparison” to those in Europe, the way US retailers regard their store brands has changed dramatically in recent years, according to the CEO of one leading manufacturer.

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By Elaine Watson, December 02, 2013

While private label penetration rates in the US “pale in comparison” to those in Europe, the way US retailers regard their store brands has changed dramatically in recent years, according to the CEO of one leading manufacturer.

Full full article at Food Navigator USA.

©  2013 Food Navigator USA. All rights reserved.

 


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10.02.2013

New Products: Organic blue agave nectar [StoreBrands]

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Trailblazer Food Products now produces organic blue agave nectar for retailers’ store brand programs.

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October 2, 2013

Trailblazer Food Products now produces organic blue agave nectar for retailers’ store brand programs. Blue agave nectar is said to be a natural sweetener for beverages, baking and general tabletop use. It is sweeter than sugar, which allows consumers to user fewer sweeteners in their daily diet. The syrup dissolves quickly, is non-crystalizing and stable, and does not require refrigeration.

View article in the November 2013 print issue of Private Label StoreBrands.

© 2013 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.


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10.01.2013

October 2013 new food products [Private Label Buyer]

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Trailblazer Food Products is now producing unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut.

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October 2013

Unsweetened Coconut

Trailblazer Food Products is now producing unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut. Trailblazer Food Products’ state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, located in Portland, Ore., can package up to 15 tons of coconut daily, using no additional sweeteners or preservatives. Natural, unsweetened coconut includes only natural sugars and fats, and no added salt, to deliver a product with reduced calories and carbohydrates.

View article online at Private Label Buyer.

© 2013 Private Label Buyer. All rights reserved.


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9.02.2013

Nature's sweeteners rule [StoreBrands]

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Consumers long have relied on syrups and honey to add sweetness and flavor to foods and beverages. The segment also has been a sweet spot for store brands.

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September 2, 2013

Consumers long have relied on syrups and honey to add sweetness and flavor to foods and beverages. The segment also has been a sweet spot for store brands. For example, despite the name (and bottle shape) recognition of Mrs. Butterworths, Aunt Jemima and Log Cabin syrups, private label table syrups enjoyed a 31.6 percent dollar share of the category, according to data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI for the 52 weeks ending June 16. And store brand honey had a 48.5 percent dollar share during the same timeframe.

Historically, grocery stores have not carried a deep selection of syrup SKUs, notes Arnold Coombs, director sales & marketing, Bascom Family Farms, Alstead, N.H.

“But consumers see Whole Foods and Trader Joes carrying a broad selection, and they expect that now at all stores,” he says. “One of the beauties of [pure] maple syrup is that it doesnt have a big footprint but packs big sales.”

Imitation syrup also is receiving more attention today, and is shopped by an important demographic: parents.

“There hasnt been much true innovation by the branded manufacturers, and the category is somewhat commoditized,” says Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Food Products, Portland, Ore. “This means its ripe for market share gains by private label manufacturers.”

Read full article at StoreBrands.info.

© 2013 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.

 


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9.02.2013

Pour on the flavor [StoreBrands]

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The benefits to eating at home are clear – you don't have to tip anyone; you know what ingredients are in the food; and it usually is friendlier to the waistline. At the same time, however, its easy to get stuck in a rut – making chicken the same way, again and again.

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September 2, 2013

The benefits to eating at home are clear – you don’t have to tip anyone; you know what ingredients are in the food; and it usually is friendlier to the waistline. At the same time, however, its easy to get stuck in a rut – making chicken the same way, again and again.

But sauces and marinades allow at-home cooks to add new flavors to old favorites easily.

“Sauce is boss. Sauces have emerged as a hero item for many dishes both at retail and at foodservice,” says Kim Holman, director of marketing for St. Francis, Wis.-based Wixon Inc., which manufactures a variety of sauces and other flavorful seasonings. “Sauce has become a strategy for consumers to customize a meal and make it their very own.”

Fifty-eight percent of the population likes to customize food when eating out, according to global market research firm Mintel, so eateries such as Chipotle and Genghis Grill are fast becoming some of Americas hottest food joints. Moreover, many people want to have that same sort of dining experience at home – particularly millennials, who have grown up with lots of choices.

Read full article at StoreBrands.info.

© 2013 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.

 


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8.20.2013

August 2013 new food products [Private Label Buyer]

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Trailblazer Food Products now bottles organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers.

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August 2013

Trailblazer Food Products now bottles organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers. The syrup is naturally sweeter than sugar, is non-crystalizing and requires no refrigeration. Blue agave is perfect for beverages, baking and general table-top use, and Trailblazer’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility can bottle up to 85 tons of blue agave syrup daily.

View article at Private Label Buyer.

© 2013 Private Label Buyer. All rights reserved.


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8.19.2013

Manufacturer spots niche market for unsweetened coconut [Food Production Daily]

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Trailblazer Food Products has moved into unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut production, amid claims it has spotted a niche in the market for natural ingredients.

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By Jenny Eagle, on August 19, 2013

Trailblazer Food Products has moved into unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut production, amid claims it has spotted a niche in the market for natural ingredients.

Read full article at Food Production Daily.

© 2013 Food Production Daily. All rights reserved.


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8.15.2013

Trailblazer Food Products Now Producing Private Label Unsweetened Coconut

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Trailblazer Food Products now producing unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is now producing unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut. Trailblazer Food Products’ state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, located in Portland, Ore., can package up to 15 tons of coconut daily, using no additional sweeteners or preservatives.

Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. With consumers increasingly seeking natural, more wholesome ingredients, unsweetened coconut has become popular among health-conscious cooks and bakers. Natural, unsweetened coconut includes only natural sugars and fats, and no added salt, to deliver a product with reduced calories and carbohydrates.

“As an expert resource for our customers, Trailblazer continuously tracks industry trends, guiding us to immediately recognize the need for unsweetened coconut beyond specialty food retailers,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Food Products. “With each partnership we develop, we ensure our facilities can produce quality foods to meet our costumers’ needs.”

Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands including Costco, Walmart, Safeway and Kroger. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

For more information on Trailblazer Food Products’ co-pack and private label business, visit http://www.tbfoods.com/. To learn more about Trailblazer Food Products’ unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut production, call 503-666-5800.

Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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8.07.2013

Food-makers find a lot to like about locating in East Multnomah County [Oregonian]

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East Multnomah County companies are filling plates across the Pacific Northwest, and sometimes beyond, with main courses, side dishes, snacks and desserts.

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By Special to The Oregonian, on August 7, 2013.

East Multnomah County companies are filling plates across the Pacific Northwest, and sometimes beyond, with main courses, side dishes, snacks and desserts.

That steak you had for dinner last night? It might have passed through Wood Village on the way to your local market. The veggies next to it might have been trucked out of a Gresham cold-storage warehouse not far from where your bread was baked and your jelly was jarred. The taffy you just sneaked from the bag you brought home from a getaway at the coast probably was made just down the street. Even Fido could be eating local chow.

Not only are local companies filling out menus, they’re filling up household bank accounts: Combined, 10 of the largest food-makers and distributors in Gresham and neighboring communities east of Portland employ roughly 900 people and pay more than $25 million in annual wages and benefits.

“The city of Gresham has been terrific,” said Rob Miller, president and chief executive officer of Trailblazer Foods. “They’ve really been a great partner for us.”

Grocery store shoppers are more likely to know Trailblazer Foods by its Walls Berry Farms jellies and preserves and Nalley’s Lumberjack syrups, but most of its products actually hit the shelves under other brand labels, including grocery chain brands.

Trailblazer’s 65 to 80 employees can churn out an impressive amount of food in a single day: up to 65 tons of jellies and preserves, 75 tons of syrup or 15 tons of sweetened coconut.

It is just one of the companies sending food to store shelves by the truckload.

Read full article at OregonLive.com.

©  2013 The Oregonian. All rights reserved.

Photo: Ross William Hamilton, The Oregonian


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7.23.2013

Oregon's economy: Slackers need not apply [CNBC/YPO]

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Portland, the largest city in Oregon, was recently ranked fifth on Bloomberg BusinessWeek's best cities in America list. Why? The city—and its state—is known for its laid-back living with a great deal of support for creation and innovation.

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By Rob Miller, Trailblazer Foods, on July 23, 2013

Portland, the largest city in Oregon, was recently ranked fifth on Bloomberg BusinessWeek‘s best cities in America list. Why? The city—and its state—is known for its laid-back living with a great deal of support for creation and innovation. And businesses have taken note with lofty aspirations for continuous gains in education, health care and sustainability.

Our economy was originally built by Oregonians who relied on the land for their livelihood, and much of the community continues to depend heavily on natural resource economies like farming, forestry and fishing. After high-tech manufacturing, natural resources remain among Oregon’s leading industries.

Oregon has also developed a reputation for being innovative in important areas. For instance, the state’s workers’ compensation reforms made years ago are appearing around the country, and the state remains a leader in this area. According to the state’s Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon has the 13th-lowest premium rate and is 16 percent below the median for all states and Washington, D.C., based on premium rates effective Jan. 1, 2012.

Read full article at CNBC.com.

© 2013 CNBC. All rights reserved.


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6.14.2013

Trailblazer Food Products now producing private label organic blue agave nectar [Grocery Headquarters]

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is now producing private label organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers.

Read More

June 14, 2013

Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is now producing private label organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers. Blue agave is gaining popularity as a versatile natural sweetener for beverages, baking and general table-top use, and Trailblazer Food Products’ state-of-the-art manufacturing facility can bottle up to 85 tons of blue agave syrup daily, company officials say.

“We pride ourselves in responding quickly and flexibly to our customers’ needs and are committed to providing the highest-quality products at the best value,” says Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Food Products. “With that, we are also responsible for continually innovating and ensuring our facilities support production of the latest food products that our customers’ end consumers demand — like blue agave syrup.”

Read full article at Grocery Headquarters.

© 2013 Grocery Headquarters. All rights reserved.


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6.13.2013

Trailblazer Food Products now producing private label organic blue agave nectar [Food Equipment News]

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is now producing private label organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers

Read More

June 13, 2013

Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is now producing private label organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers. Blue agave is gaining popularity as a versatile natural sweetener for beverages, baking and general table-top use, and Trailblazer Food Products’ state-of-the-art manufacturing facility can bottle up to 85 tons of blue agave syrup daily.

Blue agave is a wholesome sweetener extracted from the blue agave plant. Naturally sweeter than sugar, blue agave syrup allows consumers to use less sweetener in their daily diet while achieving a delicious, enhanced flavor. The syrup also dissolves quickly, is non-crystalizing and stable – requiring no refrigeration.

Read full article at Food & Food Equipment News.

© 2013 Food & Food Equipment News. All rights reserved.


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6.03.2013

Trailblazer Foods Upgrades Wastewater System

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Company reduces water use and purchases increased discharge capacity to support growth

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private-label and branded grocery products in the western United States, has made significant investments to reduce water consumption and has upgraded its wastewater system to increase discharge capacity.

Trailblazer Foods recently conducted a thorough audit of its water use, from intake to discharge, examining every process step to uncover potential for increased efficiency and decreased waste. The company then implemented a range of new measures to reduce water use and wastewater discharge, including promoting awareness among employees; optimizing cleaning processes with the use of low-volume, high-pressure cleaning systems; and adapting production processes to allow the recovery and reuse of process water. Investments in reducing the company’s water footprint totaled over $150,000.

The company’s rapid growth has also led it to purchase additional discharge capacity of approximately 3,000 gallons per day from the City of Gresham Wastewater Services. Trailblazer Foods has spent more than $60,000 over the past two years to pay for the infrastructure improvements needed to support the company’s expanding production operations.

“We’re growing quickly, but we want to make sure we grow responsibly,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO, Trailblazer Food Products. “We’re first taking steps to reduce discharge and then, when appropriate, investing in the additional capacity we need.”

Trailblazer Foods is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands, including Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and Costco. The company offers private-label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance, and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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6.03.2013

Trailblazer Food Products Now Producing Private Label Organic Blue Agave Nectar

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Trailblazer Food now producing private label organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is now producing private label organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers. Blue agave is gaining popularity as a versatile natural sweetener for beverages, baking and general table-top use, and Trailblazer Food Products’ state-of-the-art manufacturing facility can bottle up to 85 tons of blue agave syrup daily.

Blue agave is a wholesome sweetener extracted from the blue agave plant. Naturally sweeter than sugar, blue agave syrup allows consumers to use less sweetener in their daily diet while achieving a delicious, enhanced flavor. The syrup also dissolves quickly, is non-crystalizing and stable – requiring no refrigeration.

“We pride ourselves in responding quickly and flexibly to our customers’ needs and are committed to providing the highest-quality products at the best value,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Food Products. “With that, we are also responsible for continually innovating and ensuring our facilities support production of the latest food products that our customers’ end consumers demand ― like blue agave syrup.”

Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands including Costco, Walmart, Safeway and Kroger. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

For more information on Trailblazer Food Products’ co-pack and private label business, visit http://www.tbfoods.com/. To learn more about Trailblazer Food Products’ blue agave syrup production, call 503-666-5800.

Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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12.05.2012

Trailblazer Food Products Retains Excellent Rating from Safe Quality Food Program

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Maintains level 2 certification with highest possible rating

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, enters its third year as a Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 2 program. After initially earning its Level 2 certification in 2010, the Portland-based company recently undertook its second recertification process, emerging with an Excellent Rating.

“We’re pleased to be a part of the rigorous SQF program, and we’re proud of our team and its consistent commitment to maintaining an environment that ensures safe, high quality products for our customers,” said Charles Nutter, vice president of operations, Trailblazer Foods. “Our SQF designation means that our customers can be confident in our food safety programs and the products we make for them.”

In 2011, Trailblazer Foods completed its first recertification process to maintain its Level 2 certification and achieved its first Excellent Rating. This year, the company again reached the highest possible designation with a score of 97 percent.

SQF Level 2 certification ensures that suppliers maintain good manufacturing processes and utilize science-based methods and systems to minimize food safety risk. Used as a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmark, the SQF Level 2 certification is becoming increasingly important in the U.S. food industry and aligns manufacturers with guidelines put in place by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands including Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and Costco. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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12.14.2011

Trailblazer Food Products Maintains Safe Quality Food Program’s Level 2 Certification

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Earns highest possible rating in recertification program

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, completed the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program’s recertification process to maintain its Level 2 rating. With a score of 97.89 percent, Trailblazer Foods earned an Excellent Rating, the highest possible designation from the globally recognized food safety program.

“At Trailblazer Foods, we’ve always been dedicated to providing our customers with the highest quality products available. We don’t stop with top-of-the-line ingredients and recipes; we carry that dedication through our manufacturing processes,” said Charles Nutter, vice president of operations, Trailblazer Foods. “Our recertification results are a testament to our consistent focus on quality and safety.”

SQF Level 2 certification ensures that suppliers maintain good manufacturing processes and utilize science-based methods and systems to minimize food safety risk. Used as a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmark, the SQF Level 2 certification is becoming increasingly important in the U.S. food industry and aligns manufacturers with guidelines put in place by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands including Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and Costco. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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6.27.2009

Trailblazer Food Products Acquires Gray & Company’s Sweetened Coconut Business

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Company adds 10 full-time positions at Gresham, Ore., facility

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private-label and branded grocery products in the western United States, has acquired the sweetened coconut business from Portland, Ore.-based Gray & Company, creating 10 new jobs for Gresham-area residents.

Gray & Company is the largest supplier of maraschino cherries to the U.S. grocery trade and a leading supplier of candied fruit and cherries for ice cream and confection applications.With a production capacity of approximately 15 tons of sweetened coconut per day, the acquisition makes Trailblazer Foods one of the largest producers of sweetened coconut in country.

“This sweetened coconut business brings exciting, new opportunities for our existing center store business channels,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO, Trailblazer Food Products. “We are pleased to be expanding our product portfolio, and in doing so we leverage our existing customer base and operational strengths for enhanced distribution efficiency and price competitiveness.”

Trailblazer Foods’ new sweetened coconut business also brings employment opportunities to its Gresham-based facility. The company will hire 10, full-time employees within the coming weeks, offering competitive compensation and benefits, including a comprehensive medical, dental and vision plan, 401(k) benefits, holiday pay and more.

Trailblazer Foods is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands, including Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and Costco. The company offers private-label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance, and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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6.06.2008

Western Family, the 'quiet giant,' gets into organics [Portland Business Journal]

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Western Family Foods Inc. jumped into the organics game for the second time this spring, with the launch of its Natural Directions brand, a line of 120 items that include food products and paper goods.

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By Robin J. Moody, on June 6, 2008

Western Family Foods Inc. jumped into the organics game for the second time this spring, with the launch of its Natural Directions brand, a line of 120 items that include food products and paper goods.

The Tigard-based company’s recent push underscores a national trend toward all things green. The organic food market reached $16.9 billion in 2006, according to the Organic Trade Association, double 2002 sales and up from $13.8 billion in 2005.

And with just 3 percent of retail food sales in 2006, organic food products have plenty of room to grow.

“The natural and organics trend is not going away,” said Robert Miller, president of Gresham-based Trailblazer Food Products, which sells preserves, jellies and other products including organics to Western Family. “You need to play in that area, and (Western Family) is doing it the right way now.”

Read full article at the Portland Business Journal.

© 2008 Portland Business Journal. All rights reserved.


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9.01.2005

Jam plant integrates packaging & processing [Automation World]

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Flexible recipe management is increasingly important in batch food processing applications, as the market evolves to favor smaller batch sizes and requires increased operator productivity. Integrating the packaging line with processing operations is also becoming more important as manufacturers seek to streamline operations.

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By 

Flexible recipe management is increasingly important in batch food processing applications, as the market evolves to favor smaller batch sizes and requires increased operator productivity. Integrating the packaging line with processing operations is also becoming more important as manufacturers seek to streamline operations.

“The packaging line in food processing operations consists of various machines from different manufacturers that don’t talk to each other—or anything else,” says Michael Gurney, co-owner of Concept Systems, a systems integrator hired recently to implement a recipe management system and integrate the packaging line at Trailblazer Foods.

The history of the Gresham, Ore., manufacturer of jams, jellies and preserves is a story in itself.

Read full article at Automation World.

© 2005 Automation World. All rights reserved.


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2.27.2017

Trailblazer Foods Successfully Completes Safe Quality Food Recertification Program

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, successfully completed the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program’s recertification process to maintain its Level 2 rating into 2017. The SQF Level 2 certification represents the dedication Trailblazer Foods has to providing the highest quality...

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, successfully completed the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program’s recertification process to maintain its Level 2 rating into 2017. The SQF Level 2 certification represents the dedication Trailblazer Foods has to providing the highest quality products available for our customers.

“As we enter our 7th year of our participation in the GFSI process we continue to enhance our food safety programs and processes using the best current practices available. In addition we are incorporating the changes brought about by the implementation of FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) including enhanced training for our associates.” -Jeff Gleason, Quality Assurance Manager Trailblazer Food Products

Used as a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmark, SQF Level 2 certification ensures that suppliers maintain good manufacturing processes and utilize science-based methods and systems to minimize food safety risk.

Trailblazer Foods prides itself in a consistent focus on quality and food safety. In 2011, Trailblazer Foods completed its first recertification process to maintain its Level 2 certification and achieved its first Excellent Rating. Since then, the company has continued to make this audit and recertification a top priority.

Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, certified-organic coconut products, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Kristi Rifenbark 503.519.6255, kristi@buzzcollectivemarketing.com


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7.25.2016

Trailblazer Foods Introduces new line of Organic Drinking Vinegars

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has introduced a line of Organic Drinking Vinegars or “Shrubs” made from fruit, sugar, and Apple Cider Vinegar. The lineup includes diverse ingredients such as ginger, pomegranate, basil, and pinea...

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has introduced a line of Organic Drinking Vinegars or “Shrubs” made from fruit, sugar, and Apple Cider Vinegar. The lineup includes diverse ingredients such as ginger, pomegranate, basil, and pineapple.

The rise of the craft cocktail movement has increased the popularity of Drinking Vinegars as cocktail mixers and soda replacements.

“We’re seeing a shift from sweet, fruity cocktails to tarter and even savory drinks,” said Mike Post, Trailblazer’s Director of Sales. “Millennials seem to prefer citrus and bitters in their cocktails over sweet and sugary. Our Organic Drinking Vinegars offer a clean ingredient deck and deliver the bold flavor Millennials are demanding.”

In 2016, market researcher Packaged Facts listed Shrubs and Digestives as one of the top menu trends driven by Millennials, a distinction not overlooked by Trailblazer.

“Consumers are enjoying cocktails and soda replacements using Drinking Vinegars at their favorite bar and want the ability to bring that experience home,” says Mike. “Currently, similar products are generally available only online at a cost of $19-$24 per bottle – before shipping. We developed our products to allow grocers to retail them at a significant savings while earning a strong margin.”

Trailblazer is offering Drinking Vinegars in Private Label but also has a control label available. For more details contact the sales team at 503.666.5800.

For more information on Trailblazer Foods, its history in the Pacific Northwest, and the company’s product and service capabilities, contact us now or visit the Trailblazer Foods LinkedIn page.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, certified-organic coconut products, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Kristi Rifenbark 503.519.6255, kristi@buzzcollectivemarketing.com

 


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1.06.2016

Trailblazer Foods Supports Community with Charitable Contributions

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., closed out 2015 with more than $70,200 in cash and food product donations to local and regional nonprofit organizations.

“Our giving program is an important piece of our work at Trailblazer and just o...

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., closed out 2015 with more than $70,200 in cash and food product donations to local and regional nonprofit organizations.

“Our giving program is an important piece of our work at Trailblazer and just one of the ways we show our commitment to our local community,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “There are hundreds of individuals and families in our area that need support, and we strive to always provide as much as we can to help the organizations that are making a real difference in these people’s lives.”

In 2015, Trailblazer Foods made significant charitable donations to Birch Community Services, Embrace Oregon, Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament, Lake Oswego Young Life, Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, Portland State University and the Salvation Army.

Product contributions included the following:

  • Donation of an average of 125 to 155 cases of product every month, with an average value of $2,400 to $3,100 per month, to Birch Community Services, an organization which helps the working poor.
  • Gifting 3,036 jars of premium strawberry preserves, valued at more than $4,400, to Embrace Oregon and Department of Human Services employees, thanking them for their important work in the community.
  • Donation of preserves, syrup and coconut items to local charities for meal support aiding those in need.

For more information about Trailblazer Foods, its history in the Pacific Northwest and the company’s product and service capabilities, visit www.tbfoods.com.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Claire Castellanos, 503.546.7894, claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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12.21.2015

Trailblazer Foods Earns Highest Rating in Safe Quality Food Recertification Program

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, completed the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program’s recertification process to maintain its Level 2 rating. With a score of 96 percent, Trailblazer Foods earned an Excellent Rating for the fifth consecut...

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, completed the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program’s recertification process to maintain its Level 2 rating. With a score of 96 percent, Trailblazer Foods earned an Excellent Rating for the fifth consecutive year, the highest possible designation from the globally recognized food safety program.

“SQF Level 2 certification is becoming increasingly important in the U.S. food industry,” said Jeff Gleason, quality assurance manager, Trailblazer Foods. “Not only does it align manufacturers with guidelines put in place by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, but for all of us at Trailblazer, it’s another way to show our customers that we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality products available.”

Used as a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmark, SQF Level 2 certification ensures that suppliers maintain good manufacturing processes and utilize science-based methods and systems to minimize food safety risk.

Trailblazer Foods prides itself in a consistent focus on quality and safety. In 2011, Trailblazer Foods completed its first recertification process to maintain its Level 2 certification and achieved its first Excellent Rating. Since then, the company has continued to reach the highest possible designation year after year.

Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands including Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and Costco. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Claire Castellanos, 503.546.7894, claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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10.12.2015

Trailblazer Foods and Portland Specialty Baking Partner to Create Enhanced Pie Filling

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has collaborated with Portland Specialty Baking to develop an innovative pie filling formula. The new pie filling is available in a variety of flavors including apple, chocolate, berry and lemon, along...

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has collaborated with Portland Specialty Baking to develop an innovative pie filling formula. The new pie filling is available in a variety of flavors including apple, chocolate, berry and lemon, along with pumpkin as a seasonal flavor for the holidays.

“In order to provide a fresh product for consumers, hand held pies need a high-viscosity filling and an enhanced process to successfully transfer the filling into the pie shell,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “Through expertise and state-of-the-art machinery, we’ve developed an original and cost-effective solution that allows Portland Specialty Baking to deliver pies that meet its customers’ high expectations for quality.”

Trailblazer has been a longstanding leader in the fruit processing industry for 30 years. Producing more than 15 tons of fruit products per day, the company was enthusiastic to partner with Portland Specialty Baking to craft a new pie filling recipe.

For more information on Trailblazer Foods, its history in the Pacific Northwest, and the company’s product and service capabilities, contact us now or visit the Trailblazer Foods LinkedIn page.

 Contact Us

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Foods was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Rachael Ka’apu, Rachael.Kaapu@lanepr.com, 503.546.7897


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8.14.2015

Trailblazer Foods Names Bode International as the Exclusive Private Label Broker for Albertsons Companies

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has announced the appointment of Bode International as its exclusive private label broker for the Albertsons Companies, effective immediately.

“We’re pleased to appoint Bode as our private ...

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has announced the appointment of Bode International as its exclusive private label broker for the Albertsons Companies, effective immediately.

“We’re pleased to appoint Bode as our private label broker for this important retail partner,” said Mike Post, Director of Sales for Trailblazer Foods. “Bode is a dynamic organization, with a proven track record of success in helping both established and new private label businesses, and we’re looking forward to working with them to grow our business.”

“We pride ourselves on the quality of manufacturers that we represent,” said Melissa Lortie, Bode International. “Trailblazer Foods is exactly the type of innovative client we strive to serve. We’re excited about building their existing business with the Albertsons Companies and helping them enter and grow new businesses.”

For more information on Trailblazer Foods, its history in the Pacific Northwest, and the company’s product and service capabilities, visit www.trailblazerfoods.com.

For more information on Bode International, visit www.bodeinternational.com.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, certified-organic coconut products, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Rachael Kaapu, 503.546.7897, rachael.kaapu@lanepr.com


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7.09.2015

Trailblazer Foods Launches First All-Inclusive Organic Coconut Product Line

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., is introducing a complete line of certified organic coconut products, including oil, virgin oil, milk, light milk, flour, sugar and unsweetened flakes.

“There is a strong and growing demand ...

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., is introducing a complete line of certified organic coconut products, including oil, virgin oil, milk, light milk, flour, sugar and unsweetened flakes.

“There is a strong and growing demand in the U.S. for better-for-you foods,” said Rob Miller, CEO of Trailblazer Foods, “and coconut fits in with this trend: it’s a clean ingredient, natural and organic, and with no added sugar. By offering a complete line to our customers, grocers will be able to meet the needs of every type of consumer seeking coconut products, eliminating the reason to shop elsewhere.”

Trailblazer has sold sweetened and unsweetened shredded and flaked coconut for over 15 years, and the company has deep experience and longstanding relationships with coconut processors in Southeast Asia. Trailblazer has leveraged these relationships to secure favorable pricing.

The company’s coconut experts have personally visited coconut processors in Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and have determined which operations adhere to the strictest global food safety standards. For most of Trailblazer’s competitors, the supply chain for coconut products is long and complex, but Trailblazer is able to work directly with premium vendors. The company is also able to provide retailers with a complete collection of products under one label, removing the need for multiple suppliers and invoices.

All the coconut products are available to grocers as of July 1, with the exception of coconut milk, which will be available in September. Trailblazer is marketing the products under the Trailblazer Foods brand, but retailers can also order private-label versions. For pricing details please call the sales team at 503.666.5800.

For more information on Trailblazer Foods, its history in the Pacific Northwest, and the company’s product and service capabilities, contact us now or visit the Trailblazer Foods LinkedIn page.

 Contact Us

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, certified-organic coconut products, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Rachael Kaapu, 503.546.7897, rachael.kaapu@lanepr.com


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2.12.2015

Trailblazer Foods Receives Grants from Energy Trust of Oregon

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has received cash awards totaling $67,000 from the Energy Trust of Oregon in support of the company’s sustainability initiatives.

In 2013, a team affiliated with Energy Trust performe...

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., has received cash awards totaling $67,000 from the Energy Trust of Oregon in support of the company’s sustainability initiatives.

In 2013, a team affiliated with Energy Trust performed an audit of Trailblazer Foods’ manufacturing facilities to identify areas in which the company’s operations could be more energy efficient. In response to recommendations emerging from the audit, Trailblazer has implemented two highly effective energy-saving projects.

First, Trailblazer replaced all lighting in its facility with new, energy-efficient LED lights and motion sensors. Second, the company replaced and upgraded an old air compressor used in the production process. The investments in these updates totaled $142,000, with grant incentives funding 47 percent of the cost.

Additional energy-efficiency measures still in the planning and implementation phases include a steam system upgrade and installation of a new boiler.

As a result of the compressor upgrade alone, Trailblazer Foods’ expects to save 99,773 worth of kWh, and the company expects its investment to pay off within 2.7 years.

“We’re pleased with the cost savings, of course,” said Rob Miller, CEO of Trailblazer Foods, “but the biggest benefit is running an effective business efficiently. Sustainability is very important to us. All our employees are committed to the responsible use of resources, and we will continue to look for ways to increase our efficiency and decrease waste.”

 

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

 

About Energy Trust of Oregon

Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and generating renewable power. Our services, cash incentives and energy solutions have helped participating customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas save nearly $1.7 billion on energy bills. Our work helps keep energy costs as low as possible, creates jobs and builds a sustainable energy future. Learn more at www.energytrust.org or call 1-866-368-7878.

 

Media Contact

Sonal Haladay
503.546.7860 | sonal.haladay@lanepr.com

 


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2.04.2015

Trailblazer Foods Supports Community with Charitable Contributions

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., continued its philanthropic commitment by giving $48,000 in cash donations to local and regional nonprofit organizations along with $38,000 in food products in 2014.

“We at Trailblazer are com...

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., continued its philanthropic commitment by giving $48,000 in cash donations to local and regional nonprofit organizations along with $38,000 in food products in 2014.

“We at Trailblazer are committed to supporting our community and helping the hundreds of individuals and families in need,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “We are proud to contribute to a wide range of local and regional organizations that are making a real difference in people’s lives.”

In 2014, Trailblazer Foods made significant charitable donations to Beaverton Foursquare Church, Birch Community Services, Embrace Oregon, Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament, Lake Oswego Young Life, Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, Oregon City Youth Sports, the Salvation Army and YMCA of Columbia-Willamette.

Product Contributions included the following:

  • Donation of an average of 125 to 155 cases of product every month, with an average value of $2,900 to $3,300 per month
  • Donation of jam, syrup and coconut items to local charities for food boxes and dinners during the holiday season

For more information on Trailblazer Foods, its history in the Pacific Northwest and the company’s product and service capabilities, visit www.tbfoods.com.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact

Sonal Haladay
503.546.7860 | sonal.haladay@lanepr.com


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8.29.2014

Trailblazer Foods Ramps up Production of Coconut Products Ahead of Holiday Season

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Manufacturer prepares for increased consumer, holiday demand

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western U.S., is ramping up production of flaked and shredded coconut in time to meet the high volume of consumer demand projected for the holiday season.

The company produces sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut and is in the midst of its push to package half of its coconut volume for the year. Over a 10-week period beginning in July, Trailblazer Foods packages up to 15 tons of coconut product on a daily basis.

“While this is the time of year that we prepare for the holiday rush, we are keeping an eye on trends with coconut products to ensure that we can meet consumer demand at any time of year.” says Rob Miller, CEO of Trailblazer Foods.

Widely embraced as a functional food with extensive health benefits, coconut – in a variety of forms – has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity. Coconut is a longtime holiday favorite for baking, but it’s also being incorporated into more dishes on a daily basis to insert additional fiber, vitamins and minerals into a balanced diet. Known for its versatility, coconut adds unique flavor and texture to salads, granolas, trail mixes and savory-sweet meat dishes.

“Although our facilities are engaged in producing enough coconut for the holiday season right now, our planning started months ago,” explains Jim Jackson, director of purchasing for Trailblazer Foods. “We keep tabs on consumer and demand trends, and we order product in the spring to be sure we’re prepared for our pre-holiday summer push. This year, we will be packaging approximately 12% percent more coconut than last year thanks to its growing popularity.”

As it is a holiday staple for desserts, Trailblazer Foods ramps up production in late summer to ensure that only the freshest flaked and shredded coconut is on the shelves when it’s time to prepare special celebratory feasts.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact

Sonal Haladay
503.546.7860 | sonal.haladay@lanepr.com


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6.19.2014

Trailblazer Foods Receives ‘Third Way’ Award From Embrace Oregon

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Recognition honors support for Department of Human Services

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, has received a Third Way award from Embrace Oregon in recognition of the company’s creative participation in the Embrace Oregon movement.

Embrace Oregon works to raise awareness of the needs of children and families in the state’s child welfare system and to connect caring people with vulnerable children through partnership with the Department of Human Services (DHS). The Third Way award takes its name from Embrace Oregon’s belief that although people may be polarized and categorized as left or right, the answer to community challenges usually lies in a creative third way.

Trailblazer Foods received the award for partnering with Embrace Oregon to thank DHS employees for their important work and to show support for the organization’s efforts within the community. The day before Thanksgiving, Trailblazer Foods sent 2,500 jars of premium strawberry preserves to DHS employees in the tri-county region and the central office in Salem with the message, “We desire to extend our deepest gratitude to you for the critical role you play in serving vulnerable children and families in our community. Happy Thanksgiving!”

“Dedicated DHS employees do everything in their power to help our community’s most vulnerable families flourish,” said Rob Miller, CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “Embrace Oregon wants to support their efforts and to encourage individuals, families, churches and businesses to work together to meet the needs of the children in our area. We are honored to participate in this initiative.”

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact

Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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6.03.2014

Trailblazer Foods Launches New Website

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Redesign features richer content, easier navigation

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, has launched a newly redesigned website at www.trailblazerfoods.com. The new site provides richer online content and is easier for users to navigate.

The redesigned website features extensive product and service information to help customers understand Trailblazer’s offerings, which range from private label and co-pack manufacturing to branded products for food service and retail. The site includes an introduction to Trailblazer’s state-of-the-art production facility, which provides clients with consistency, quality and efficiency, and an overview of the company’s quality assurance measures and certifications. The website’s News & Resources section features the latest company announcements, industry coverage, and a blog for expert insights and company updates.

Trailblazer has also updated the Shop section of the website, the online store for the company’s branded products such as Walls Berry Farm Preserves and Nalley’s Lumberjack Table Syrups. Consumers can browse the site and view images and product details before purchasing online.

“Trailblazer is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014, and we wanted to start the year out right, with a web presence that more accurately reflects who we are and what we offer,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Food Products. “Our commitment to customer service includes making sure that the information our current and future customers need is accessible and easy to find.”

About Trailblazer Food Products
Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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3.11.2014

Trailblazer Foods Celebrates 30 Years of Quality Grocery Products

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Trailblazer Food Products celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2014

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private-label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014.

Trailblazer Foods was the vision of founder Gary Walls, who picked berries as a child in the fertile fields of the Willamette Valley and then worked at fruit processing plants and canneries before moving on to oversee local berry fields and start his own small blueberry farm. As a hobbyist, he developed fruit-based syrups for Elmer’s Pancake House, and from these modest beginnings Trailblazer Foods was formed.

Walls founded Trailblazer Foods in 1984 and began manufacturing preserves and jellies under the Walls Berry Farm name. The company grew quickly, and by 1991 its workforce had more than doubled. In 1999, to enable further expansion, Trailblazer Foods moved to its current 40,000-square-foot facility in Portland, Ore. When Walls retired in 2000, Miller Family Holdings acquired a majority interest in the company, followed two years later by the remaining interest. Trailblazer Foods invested in a major capital equipment upgrade in 2002 that significantly increased production capacity, and the acquisition of a shredded and flaked coconut business in 2009 created additional market opportunities.

Trailblazer Foods’ growth has been supported by numerous certifications testifying to the quality of the company’s operations, including organic food certification in 2005, kosher food certification in 2008 and ongoing Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 2 certification beginning in 2010.

“We’re extremely proud of the milestones we’ve achieved during the past 30 years,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “The grocery industry is exciting and dynamic, and we’re thrilled to be part of an industry with such an important role in our economy and lives. We see a bright future ahead.”

Today, Trailblazer Foods is one of the western United States’ largest producers of preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened shredded and flaked coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and other sweetener- and fruit-based products. The company also produces sauces, marinades, glazes and various other non-oil-based products.

Trailblazer Foods is a major supplier to the food service industry and a trusted co-packer and private-label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands. The company’s branded products, including Walls Berry Farm Preserves and Nalley’s Lumberjack Table Syrups, are also sold at leading grocery retailers.

“Trailblazer Foods has been a dependable private-label supplier to Western Family for many years,” said Ron King of Western Family Foods. “The company is large enough to provide scale and value, yet small enough to be adaptable. We’ve always appreciated Trailblazer’s flexibility and focus on meeting customer needs, and we wish the company many more decades of success.”

For more information on Trailblazer Foods, its history, and its product and service offerings, visit www.tbfoods.com.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com

 


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2.11.2014

Trailblazer Foods Tallies Notable Charitable Contributions in 2013

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Company donated an average of 80 to 110 cases of product every month to support local, regional charities

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private-label and branded grocery products in the western United States, gave $30,000 in cash donations to local and regional causes in 2013 and another $40,000 in food products to benefit hundreds of individuals and families in need.

“At Trailblazer, we are passionate about giving back to our community, as we understand the immense difference it can make in the lives of local residents,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “We are proud of the charitable causes we supported in 2013 and are looking forward to making 2014 our most successful philanthropic year yet.”

In 2013, Trailblazer Foods and its employees made notable charitable contributions to Beaverton Foursquare Church, Birch Community Services, Embrace Oregon, Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament, Lake Oswego Young Life, Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, Oregon City Youth Sports and YMCA of Columbia-Willamette.

Contributions included the following:

  • Donation of an average of 80 to 110 cases of product every month, with an average value of $2,400 to $3,100 per month.
  • Donation of jam, syrup and coconut items to local charities for food boxes and dinners during the holiday season.
  • Donation of Portland Punch to the Foster Children Holiday Party, a seasonal event hosted by the Department of Human Services, East Multnomah branch, for child welfare.
  • Production of $4,500 worth of strawberry jam with customized labels recognizing the volunteers of Embrace Oregon and the professional staff of the Oregon Department of Human Services.

For more information on Trailblazer Foods, its history in the Pacific Northwest, and the company’s product and service capabilities, visit www.tbfoods.com.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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1.27.2014

Trailblazer Food Products Maintains Safe Quality Food Program’s Level 2 Certification

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Earns highest possible rating in recertification program for third consecutive year

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, completed the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program’s recertification process to maintain its Level 2 rating. With a score of 98 percent, Trailblazer Foods earned an Excellent Rating, the highest possible designation from the globally recognized food safety program.

“We’re entering our fourth year as a Level 2 certified program and proud to again show our customers that we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality products available,” said Charles Nutter, vice president of operations, Trailblazer Foods. “Though some manufacturers are bracing for major changes resulting from the upcoming Food Safety Modernization Act, SQF certification places us ahead of the curve and speaks to our consistent focus on quality and safety.”

SQF Level 2 certification ensures that suppliers maintain good manufacturing processes and utilize science-based methods and systems to minimize food safety risk. Used as a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmark, the SQF Level 2 certification is becoming increasingly important in the U.S. food industry and aligns manufacturers with guidelines put in place by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

In 2011, Trailblazer Foods completed its first recertification process to maintain its Level 2 certification and achieved its first Excellent Rating. In 2012, the company again reached the highest possible designation with a score of 97 percent. This year, Trailblazer Foods retains its Excellent Rating with its highest score yet, 98 percent.

Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands includingKroger, Safeway, Walmart and Costco. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com

 


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1.21.2014

Albertsons Now Carrying Iconic Pacific Northwest Products from Trailblazer Foods

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Walls Berry Farm Preserves and Nalley’s Lumberjack Syrup Claim Space on Grocer’s Shelves

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is partnering with Albertsons, a Pacific Northwest-based grocer, to stock iconic regional products including Walls Berry Farm Preserves and Nalley’s Lumberjack Syrup.

“Trailblazer Foods is proud of its Northwest heritage and the unique products that showcase the best of our corner of the country,” said Mike Post, director of sales for Trailblazer Food Products. “We’re excited to partner with Albertsons and support longstanding local businesses by providing broader distribution of products that have built a strong and loyal following.”

“Albertsons is always looking for quality products to share with our customers,” added Dennis Schwarz, vice president of marketing & merchandising for Albertsons LLC. “Walls Berry Farm Preserves and Nalley’s Lumberjack Syrup are well-loved brands for a reason: rich flavor that speaks to their Northwest roots. We’re excited to introduce these top-quality, local products to our Northwest customers.”

The Trailblazer Foods brands are currently on Albertsons store shelves in Oregon and Washington.

Walls Berry Farm Preserves capture the flavors of the Northwest with original recipes dating back to 1850, when the Walls family moved to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Albertsons now carries the marionberry, strawberry, red raspberry and four berry varieties.

Nalley’s Lumberjack Table Syrups add rich and hearty Pacific Northwest flavor to pancakes, waffles and other breakfast foods. The syrups available at Albertsons include original- and butter-flavored.

In addition to the company’s branded products, including Walls Berry Farm Preserves and Nalley’s Lumberjack Table Syrups, Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Albertsons LLC

Albertsons is working to become the favorite food and drug retailer in every state in which it operates. An Idaho-based company with a rich history extending back to 1939, Albertsons stores now operate in 16 states at over 600 locations. For more information about Albertsons, visit www.albertsons.com or www.facebook.com/albertsons.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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8.15.2013

Trailblazer Food Products Now Producing Private Label Unsweetened Coconut

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Trailblazer Food Products now producing unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is now producing unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut. Trailblazer Food Products’ state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, located in Portland, Ore., can package up to 15 tons of coconut daily, using no additional sweeteners or preservatives.

Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. With consumers increasingly seeking natural, more wholesome ingredients, unsweetened coconut has become popular among health-conscious cooks and bakers. Natural, unsweetened coconut includes only natural sugars and fats, and no added salt, to deliver a product with reduced calories and carbohydrates.

“As an expert resource for our customers, Trailblazer continuously tracks industry trends, guiding us to immediately recognize the need for unsweetened coconut beyond specialty food retailers,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Food Products. “With each partnership we develop, we ensure our facilities can produce quality foods to meet our costumers’ needs.”

Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands including Costco, Walmart, Safeway and Kroger. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

For more information on Trailblazer Food Products’ co-pack and private label business, visit http://www.tbfoods.com/. To learn more about Trailblazer Food Products’ unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut production, call 503-666-5800.

Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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6.03.2013

Trailblazer Foods Upgrades Wastewater System

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Company reduces water use and purchases increased discharge capacity to support growth

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private-label and branded grocery products in the western United States, has made significant investments to reduce water consumption and has upgraded its wastewater system to increase discharge capacity.

Trailblazer Foods recently conducted a thorough audit of its water use, from intake to discharge, examining every process step to uncover potential for increased efficiency and decreased waste. The company then implemented a range of new measures to reduce water use and wastewater discharge, including promoting awareness among employees; optimizing cleaning processes with the use of low-volume, high-pressure cleaning systems; and adapting production processes to allow the recovery and reuse of process water. Investments in reducing the company’s water footprint totaled over $150,000.

The company’s rapid growth has also led it to purchase additional discharge capacity of approximately 3,000 gallons per day from the City of Gresham Wastewater Services. Trailblazer Foods has spent more than $60,000 over the past two years to pay for the infrastructure improvements needed to support the company’s expanding production operations.

“We’re growing quickly, but we want to make sure we grow responsibly,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO, Trailblazer Food Products. “We’re first taking steps to reduce discharge and then, when appropriate, investing in the additional capacity we need.”

Trailblazer Foods is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands, including Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and Costco. The company offers private-label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance, and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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6.03.2013

Trailblazer Food Products Now Producing Private Label Organic Blue Agave Nectar

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Trailblazer Food now producing private label organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is now producing private label organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers. Blue agave is gaining popularity as a versatile natural sweetener for beverages, baking and general table-top use, and Trailblazer Food Products’ state-of-the-art manufacturing facility can bottle up to 85 tons of blue agave syrup daily.

Blue agave is a wholesome sweetener extracted from the blue agave plant. Naturally sweeter than sugar, blue agave syrup allows consumers to use less sweetener in their daily diet while achieving a delicious, enhanced flavor. The syrup also dissolves quickly, is non-crystalizing and stable – requiring no refrigeration.

“We pride ourselves in responding quickly and flexibly to our customers’ needs and are committed to providing the highest-quality products at the best value,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Food Products. “With that, we are also responsible for continually innovating and ensuring our facilities support production of the latest food products that our customers’ end consumers demand ― like blue agave syrup.”

Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands including Costco, Walmart, Safeway and Kroger. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

For more information on Trailblazer Food Products’ co-pack and private label business, visit http://www.tbfoods.com/. To learn more about Trailblazer Food Products’ blue agave syrup production, call 503-666-5800.

Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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12.05.2012

Trailblazer Food Products Retains Excellent Rating from Safe Quality Food Program

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Maintains level 2 certification with highest possible rating

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, enters its third year as a Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 2 program. After initially earning its Level 2 certification in 2010, the Portland-based company recently undertook its second recertification process, emerging with an Excellent Rating.

“We’re pleased to be a part of the rigorous SQF program, and we’re proud of our team and its consistent commitment to maintaining an environment that ensures safe, high quality products for our customers,” said Charles Nutter, vice president of operations, Trailblazer Foods. “Our SQF designation means that our customers can be confident in our food safety programs and the products we make for them.”

In 2011, Trailblazer Foods completed its first recertification process to maintain its Level 2 certification and achieved its first Excellent Rating. This year, the company again reached the highest possible designation with a score of 97 percent.

SQF Level 2 certification ensures that suppliers maintain good manufacturing processes and utilize science-based methods and systems to minimize food safety risk. Used as a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmark, the SQF Level 2 certification is becoming increasingly important in the U.S. food industry and aligns manufacturers with guidelines put in place by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands including Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and Costco. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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12.14.2011

Trailblazer Food Products Maintains Safe Quality Food Program’s Level 2 Certification

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Earns highest possible rating in recertification program

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, completed the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program’s recertification process to maintain its Level 2 rating. With a score of 97.89 percent, Trailblazer Foods earned an Excellent Rating, the highest possible designation from the globally recognized food safety program.

“At Trailblazer Foods, we’ve always been dedicated to providing our customers with the highest quality products available. We don’t stop with top-of-the-line ingredients and recipes; we carry that dedication through our manufacturing processes,” said Charles Nutter, vice president of operations, Trailblazer Foods. “Our recertification results are a testament to our consistent focus on quality and safety.”

SQF Level 2 certification ensures that suppliers maintain good manufacturing processes and utilize science-based methods and systems to minimize food safety risk. Used as a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmark, the SQF Level 2 certification is becoming increasingly important in the U.S. food industry and aligns manufacturers with guidelines put in place by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Trailblazer Food Products is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands including Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and Costco. The company offers private label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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6.27.2009

Trailblazer Food Products Acquires Gray & Company’s Sweetened Coconut Business

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Company adds 10 full-time positions at Gresham, Ore., facility

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private-label and branded grocery products in the western United States, has acquired the sweetened coconut business from Portland, Ore.-based Gray & Company, creating 10 new jobs for Gresham-area residents.

Gray & Company is the largest supplier of maraschino cherries to the U.S. grocery trade and a leading supplier of candied fruit and cherries for ice cream and confection applications.With a production capacity of approximately 15 tons of sweetened coconut per day, the acquisition makes Trailblazer Foods one of the largest producers of sweetened coconut in country.

“This sweetened coconut business brings exciting, new opportunities for our existing center store business channels,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO, Trailblazer Food Products. “We are pleased to be expanding our product portfolio, and in doing so we leverage our existing customer base and operational strengths for enhanced distribution efficiency and price competitiveness.”

Trailblazer Foods’ new sweetened coconut business also brings employment opportunities to its Gresham-based facility. The company will hire 10, full-time employees within the coming weeks, offering competitive compensation and benefits, including a comprehensive medical, dental and vision plan, 401(k) benefits, holiday pay and more.

Trailblazer Foods is a trusted co-packer and private label manufacturer for many top national and regional grocery retailers and food and beverage brands, including Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and Costco. The company offers private-label partners efficient logistics and transportation, cutting-edge research and development, superior sourcing and production, effective marketing assistance, and high-quality service to ensure delivery of a consistent, cost-effective product.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private-label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:
Claire Castellanos
503.546.7894 | claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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3.02.2015

Supporting a Store Brand

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Private labels have given retailers a chance to create new profit centers, but they’ve also introduced a number of risks, including those associated with product recalls due to safety or quality issues. To minimize risks, it’s important for retailers and product purchasers to partner with manufacturers who can demonstrate a commitment to food quality and food safety. In addition, buyers will need to find manufacturers who can deliver the goods in terms of meeting specific needs as well as pricing limitations.

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Private labels have given retailers a chance to create new profit centers, but they’ve also introduced a number of risks, including those associated with product recalls due to safety or quality issues. To minimize risks, it’s important for retailers and product purchasers to partner with manufacturers who can demonstrate a commitment to food quality and food safety. In addition, buyers will need to find manufacturers who can deliver the goods in terms of meeting specific needs as well as pricing limitations.

Staying Power of Store Brands

What was once thought to be a fad appears to be here to stay. Private labels have been around for some time, but they really began to find favor during the Great Recession. Consumers, perhaps even begrudgingly, turned to store brands to stretch their limited dollars. In doing so, many shoppers discovered that high quality products could be had at a lower cost than national brands, which often need to bump up prices to cover their costs of marketing and shelf space.

While broad economic hardship has seemingly passed, the growth of private label continues. According to the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s 2014 Annual Private Label Yearbook, unit and dollar shares rose in grocery stores. Since 2011, store brands in supermarkets have gained three percent on an annual basis, and across the board, private labels across all outlets have grown five percent annually.

What’s more, a relatively young segment of the population has adopted store brands. Consumer research by Mintel shows that 63 percent of Millennials and post-Millennials are high users of store brands, with Generation X reporting the second-highest level at 55 percent. Retailers now have an opportunity to build loyalty that, in turn, has potential to supply regular sales and profits far down the road.

Providing consumers with a high quality product that rivals that of a national brand—at a cost savings—is certainly one of the best ways to start building loyalty. But quality doesn’t end with the taste, texture, or packaging of a product. Safety is of paramount importance. Product recalls cost companies significant time, money, and effort to execute, and the economic impact to the U.S. alone was found in one 2010 study to be $152 billion.

Given the many players in the production chain today, how can retailers and product purchasers assure the quality and safety of a food item?

Get to the Source

Being selective about production partners—from growers to processors and manufacturers—is critical. For products that rely on fresh produce from farm fields and orchards, it’s necessary to develop a clear understanding of the conditions under which ingredients are grown and otherwise produced in order to minimize risks of food safety hazards and assure the highest quality of final product.

Manufacturers and co-packers have a vested interest in a retailer’s process: Their own success depends on the reliability of their suppliers. Work with manufacturers that provide transparency into their methods for sourcing ingredients. They should maintain strict criteria for considering a source as well as documentation supporting the selection of a source.

A supplier compliance procedure should be rigorous. For example, Trailblazer Foods, which produces store brand as well as proprietary items, carries out regular, in-person supplier audits that involve touring a current or potential supplier’s operations in order to ensure that its selected ingredients meet strict food safety and quality requirements.

Audits provide an up-close view of a supplier to assess for best agricultural practices and verify that ingredients are produced, packed, handled, and stored in the safest manner possible. When timed well, visits may coincide with harvest, at which point the company can observe the care with which fruit is gathered and whether it’s being picked at its peak for the best flavor.

In addition, an audit provides the opportunity to verify that proper pre-requisite programs are in place to support a supplier’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan. Numerous programs are up for review, such as pest control, sanitation, maintenance, waste management, recall and withdrawal, and Good Manufacturing Practices.

Just as important as dedication to creating a quality product is a sense of pride in operations. Visiting a site provides the chance to speak with key personnel. Not only does engaging in dialog offer insight to the product but it indicates whether attitudes are positive and that there is a true desire to be a part of a larger team.

Finally, the atmosphere and care on a farm must extend beyond the fields and on the road to the processing plants. Farms must put thought into logistics for transporting their fruit, ensuring that product is handled appropriately and kept at proper temperatures. Plans should be well thought out and economical.

Adhere to Stringent Examinations

With private label products, retailers risk their reputations on the quality contained within. And it’s not just quality that is a concern. Food safety is critical, and many retailers with their own labels are requiring certifications from all members within their supply and manufacturing chains.

In the last five years, for instance, several national grocers began to require all of their suppliers adhere to Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards. Meeting such standards provides a “high degree of confidence” in the design, implementation, and maintenance of food safety management systems. After fully and consistently implementing the requirement across all private label suppliers, the retailers are seeing a significant decrease in the number of recalls.

When selecting a manufacturing partner, develop an evaluation process that incorporates a review of documents and certifications. Such a step ensures that suppliers will be in line with a retailer’s commitment to providing quality, safe food products. As there is no overarching, governing body that certifies vendors and suppliers, it’s up to retailers and their manufacturing partners to establish guidelines for those interested in doing business with them.

For processors and manufacturers, GFSI standards are common and provide assurance of safe food management programs. In addition, the Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification program is recognized worldwide among those seeking a “rigorous, credible food safety management system.” With the recent passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, all parties in the food supply chain will be required to pay heed to additional food defense measures.

When evaluating along the supply chain and assessing farms, consider Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). Following GAP may involve delving into farm sanitation or spray records. In essence, by taking the time to verify production, handling, packaging, and storage practices, the farm’s ability to produce safe, quality food will become evident.

During the evaluation process and facility or farm tours, request supporting documentation of an operation’s commitment to safety and quality. Documents may include policies, procedures, a HACCP plan, audit schemes, and results, as well as any pertinent certifications. Be sure documents are up-to-date, and be prepared to invest significant time in researching a potential supplier or vendor. Depending on the supplier, the produce, and any unique parameters for ingredients or handling, the process could take anywhere from several days to a couple of months.

A supplier evaluation program does not end with the initial approval. Rather, each supplier should be evaluated continuously to ensure that standards are maintained. Consider requiring annual updates of audit records and certifications. Also, revisit farms and facilities several times a season for greater assurance that safe, quality ingredients are received.

Price Drives Decisions

Price is a critical factor in any arrangement, but it is typically considered last in a three-tiered deal. Once suppliers are vetted for the volume of product required and quality standards are met, price must fit into a company’s model.

For private labels, price can be a sensitive issue. National brands tend to set pricing, and private labels typically sell at a 25 percent to 30 percent discount. If farmers are facing a difficult year, costs may be driven up. Retailers may need to accept reduced margins, consider offering their consumers less of a discount relative to major brands, or find a cheaper source for their ingredients.

To secure greater flexibility in pricing and availability, consider developing a stable of suppliers for any given commodity. If one is unable to fulfill a contracted amount, another may be able to make up the balance. Most processors allow for multiple suppliers, ensuring a higher assurance that end demand can be met.

Stay on Top of Special Requests

Consumers are increasingly seeking out foods with specific qualities: certified organic, kosher, vegan, and gluten-free are just a few of the overriding buzzwords on grocer’s shelves. For some consumers, their selections have a real impact on their overall health and well-being, so it is critical to find vendors and suppliers with reliable and traceable sources. Maintain any relevant certifications, in addition to those for food safety, to provide customers with documentation if requested.

Traceability is an essential part of the manufacturing process. The ability to follow a material or product through all stages of the supply and distribution chain is vital to consumers’ safety. A fast response to food safety issues not only helps protect public health and safety, but is instrumental in protecting the viability and longevity of an organization and its reputation.

For retailers of private label products, traceability also provides important information on the quality aspect of the finished good. If a particular product receives rave reviews, manufacturers can pinpoint the farms and their specific varieties that contributed to its superiority, allowing manufacturers to refine their recipes. Likewise, products that underwhelm consumers can be evaluated down to the suppliers, and recipes again can be tweaked to make a more palatable finished product.

Quality From Farm to Fork

Fundamentally, choosing a supplier comes down to need, availability, qualifications, and price. Within these parameters, there is room for implementing practices that can help protect the integrity of a sourced product and, ultimately, the final product delivered to consumers. Evaluate all partners closely and maintain a commitment to frequent audits to ensure quality from farm to fork.

Read the full article at Food Quality & Safety.


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2.13.2015

Trailblazer Foods Receives Energy Grants from Energy Trust of Oregon

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Trailblazer Food Products, a Portland, Ore.-based manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products, said it received cash awards totaling $67,000 from the Energy Trust of Oregon in support of the company's sustainability initiatives.

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Trailblazer Food Products, a Portland, Ore.-based manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products, said it received cash awards totaling $67,000 from the Energy Trust of Oregon in support of the company’s sustainability initiatives.

In 2013, a team affiliated with Energy Trust performed an audit of Trailblazer Foods’ manufacturing facilities to identify areas in which the company’s operations could be more energy-efficient. In response to recommendations emerging from the audit, Trailblazer said it implemented two highly effective energy-saving projects.

First, Trailblazer said it replaced all lighting in its facility with new energy-efficient LED lights and motion sensors. Second, the company replaced and upgraded an old air compressor used in the production process. As a result of the compressor upgrade alone, Trailblazer Foods expects its investment to pay off in less than three years. The investments in these updates totaled $142,000, with grant incentives funding 47 percent of the cost.

Additional energy-efficiency measures still in the planning and implementation phases include a steam system upgrade and installation of a new boiler, the company said.

“We’re pleased with the cost savings, of course,” said Rob Miller, CEO, Trailblazer Foods, “but the biggest benefit is running an effective business efficiently. Sustainability is very important to us. All our employees are committed to the responsible use of resources, and we will continue to look for ways to increase our efficiency and decrease waste.”

Read the article at Store Brands.


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12.16.2014

Private Label as a Strategic Weapon

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In an interview with Elaine Watson, the CEO of Trailblazer Foods, Rob Miller, discusses how retailers are beginning to view Private Label products as a strategic weapon against national brands. Click here to read the article, which ...

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In an interview with Elaine Watson, the CEO of Trailblazer Foods, Rob Miller, discusses how retailers are beginning to view Private Label products as a strategic weapon against national brands. Click here to read the article, which was featured in the Dec. 16 issue of Food Navigator USA.


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11.01.2014

Keys to Success in Private Label Manufacturing

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Rob Miller, the CEO of Trailblazer Foods, shares the keys to success in Private Label manufacturing and reflects on 30 years in the business.  Click here to read the article, which originally appeared in the N...

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Rob Miller, the CEO of Trailblazer Foods, shares the keys to success in Private Label manufacturing and reflects on 30 years in the business.  Click here to read the article, which originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of the Shelby Report.


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9.12.2014

If it says 'coconut', it sells: Trailblazer Foods

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In an interview with Maggie Hennessy, Trailblazer Foods' Jim Jackson, director of purchasing, and Mike Post, director of sales, provides insight to the craze for coconut products among consumers.

In 2014, Trailblazer noted a 12% increase in flaked and shredded coconut production and increasing consumer demand for additional 'healthy, better fo...

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In an interview with Maggie Hennessy, Trailblazer Foods’ Jim Jackson, director of purchasing, and Mike Post, director of sales, provides insight to the craze for coconut products among consumers.

In 2014, Trailblazer noted a 12% increase in flaked and shredded coconut production and increasing consumer demand for additional ‘healthy, better for you’ coconut products, including flour, sugar, cream, and oil. Click here to read the article, which was featured in the Sept. 12 issue of Food Navigator USA.


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8.28.2014

Sweeteners get real [StoreBrands]

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Today, consumers are increasingly choosing these types of “real” ingredients over artificial alternatives, with health concerns being a primary motivator.

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Completely natural and minimally processed, pure maple syrup and honey have been in regular use for centuries. Today, consumers are increasingly choosing these types of “real” ingredients over artificial alternatives, with health concerns being a primary motivator.

“With regard to honey and maple syrup, the focus will continue to be product purity and ensuring that the products remain unadulterated,” says Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods, Portland, Ore. “More generally among the segment, we expect there to be continued segmentation through innovation.”

Within honey, trends include the growth of organic, raw and local honeys, as well as different varietals of honey — each with its own distinct flavor, says Tony Schmitz, general manager, Smitty Bee Honey Inc., Defiance, Iowa.

And among pourable sweeteners, pure maple syrup is continuing to attract consumer attention.

“Pure maple syrup rings up as a top-selling grocery item by dollar sales for our customers,” says Emma Marvin, director of marketing for Butternut Mountain Farm, Morrisville, Vt.

In the eyes of today’s consumer, pure maple syrup and honey are often viewed as pure commodities. Unlike table syrup, formulations do not change significantly, making the number of new offerings less common.

Better-for-you ingredients such as agave or flavor enhancements, Miller notes, will add value to consumers in the overall syrup category.

“On a more general level,” he adds, “we see opportunity to innovate around new ideas that have already found consumer acceptance in other categories — maple-flavored agave syrup, for example.”

Read the full article at StoreBrands.

© 2014 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 


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8.28.2014

Sauce up sales [StoreBrands]

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From convenience to flavor to variety, the sauce and marinade category is one segment in which retailers really can offer it all. And if they want to step up sales, now is the time to add some creativity into the mix for store brand offerings.

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From convenience to flavor to variety, the sauce and marinade category is one segment in which retailers really can offer it all. And if they want to step up sales, now is the time to add some creativity into the mix for store brand offerings.

“There is a buzz in the air about innovative cooking, and sauces and marinades offer turnkey meal solutions,” says Mike Post, director of retail sales at Portland, Ore.-based Trailblazer Foods, which manufacturers a number of sauces, marinades and glazes under retailers’ own brands and for foodservice.

According to “Sauces, Dressings and Condiments in the US,” a December 2013 report from London-based market research firm Euromonitor International, more people are eating out now that the recession has ended. But many others are still eating at home, and they are seeking premium ingredients and products that offer a restaurant-quality meal.

Read the full article at StoreBrands.

© 2014 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.


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8.01.2014

Store brand spreads [Private Label Buyer]

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The Spreads category has begun to see more diversity, with a nice selection of products beginning to appear at drug and dollar stores, as well as the usually solid grocery channels.

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The Spreads category has begun to see more diversity, with a nice selection of products beginning to appear at drug and dollar stores, as well as the usually solid grocery channels.

Read the full article at Private Label Buyer.

 


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7.23.2014

Jams, jellies go beyond smearing on toast [Food Navigator USA]

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Millennials are driving food trends on the supermarket shelf and shaking up the longtime pantry staple of jams and jellies in the process.

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Whether it’s bringing bold heat, blending unusual flavors, adding a punch of superfruit or cleaning up the label, Millennials are driving food trends on the supermarket shelf and shaking up the longtime pantry staple of jams and jellies in the process, says Portland, OR-based Trailblazer Foods, one of the largest producers of preserves, jellies, table syrups, shredded and flaked coconut, pie filling and glazes. 

Read the full article at Food Navigator USA.

© 2014 Food Navigator USA. All rights reserved.

 


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6.19.2014

Trailblazer Foods celebrates 30 years of quality grocery products [StoreBrands]

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Portland, Ore.-based Trailblazer Food Products, a manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products, said this year marks its 30th year in business.

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Portland, Ore.-based Trailblazer Food Products, a manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products, said this year marks its 30th year in business. Gary Walls founded Trailblazer Foods in 1984 and began manufacturing preserves and jellies under the Walls Berry Farm name. By 1991, the company’s workforce had more than doubled, and in 1999, the company moved to its current 40,000-square-foot facility.

Walls retired in 2000, but Miller Family Holdings acquired the entire company in 2002. Since then, Trailblazer Foods has continued to grow, supported by its numerous certifications, including organic food certification in 2005, kosher food certification in 2008 and Safe Quality Food Level 2 certification in 2010.

“We’re extremely proud of the milestones we’ve achieved during the past 30 years,” said Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “The grocery industry is exciting and dynamic, and we’re thrilled to be part of an industry with such an important role in our economy and lives. We see a bright future ahead.”

Read the article online at StoreBrands.

© 2014 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.


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6.10.2014

Defining specialty foods [Private Label Buyer]

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We’ve been on a tear regarding all things “specialty” of late, with content on “Specialty Grocery Branding” and a new category video on “Private Label Specialty Baked Goods Insight."

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By Douglas J. Peckenpaugh, on June 10, 2014

We’ve been on a tear regarding all things “specialty” of late, with content on “Specialty Grocery Branding” and a new category video on “Private Label Specialty Baked Goods Insight.” As part of our research, we talked to Mike Post, director of retail sales for Trailblazer Foods. He’s been in retail food and CPG for more than 30 years, working with brands like Carnation, Eskimo Pie, Klondike Ice Cream and Sorrento Cheese. Now he’s responsible for all sales functions for Trailblazer Foods’ retail customers, including Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and many more. Trailblazer Foods is a manufacturer of private label preserves and jellies, table syrups, and more–many of which fall on the “specialty” end of the spectrum.

Read the full interview at Private Label Buyer.

© 2014 Private Label Buyer. All rights reserved.


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4.08.2014

Blazing a trail for food manufacturing, packaging [Gresham Outlook]

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The next time you pick up a bag of sweetened coconut for cooking or baking, you’ll be supporting a local business. Coconut? In Oregon?

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By Anne Endicott  on April 08, 2014

The next time you pick up a bag of sweetened coconut for cooking or baking, you’ll be supporting a local business.

Coconut? In Oregon?

“We are among the top three manufacturers of bagged, sweetened coconut in the U.S.,” said Rob Miller, CEO and president for Trailblazer Food Products. “I think that’s really interesting. Who would ever think this little company in Gresham is one of the country’s largest suppliers of coconut?”

Somewhat hidden from sight, off Northeast 181st Avenue and San Rafael Street, sits a rather low-profile building housing one of largest manufacturers of private-label and branded grocery products in the United States. Your favorite strawberry spread or table syrup was most likely packaged at Trailblazer Foods, and distributed to major retailers like Safeway, Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart and Costco.

And if you’re a fan of flavored syrup on your pancakes at Elmer’s Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner, thank Trailblazer Foods’ founder, Gary Walls.

Walls spent his childhood in the berry fields of the Willamette Valley. He went on to work at fruit processing plants and canneries, and eventually became an overseer for local berry farmers.

In 1977, Walls was hired as an English and physical education teacher at Centennial High School. He also taught a class for adaptive PE and established the Gary Walls Memorial Meet of Champions — Special Olympics. A “gentleman farmer” at heart, Walls planted his own small blueberry farm in rural Gresham, dubbing it Walls Berry Farm.

Read full article at Gresham Outlook.

© 2014 Gresham Outlook. All rights reserved.

Photo: Jim Clark, Outlook.


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3.25.2014

Sweeten sales [StoreBrands]

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Natural sweeteners such as honey and pure maple syrup hold appeal for health-conscious consumers who want to sweeten their food and beverages with less guilt. Retailers wanting to boost sales of their store brand honey and syrup, however, need to keep some category-specific issues in mind in the year ahead.

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March 25, 2014

Natural sweeteners such as honey and pure maple syrup hold appeal for health-conscious consumers who want to sweeten their food and beverages with less guilt. Retailers wanting to boost sales of their store brand honey and syrup, however, need to keep some category-specific issues in mind in the year ahead.

Traceability counts

On the honey front, one of the biggest issues centers on the honey’s source. Americans love honey — we consume more than 400 million pounds of it a year. But we produce only around 145 million pounds of it, and that number is decreasing as the rate of colony collapse disorder among bee colonies increases, according to the True Source Honey LLC website. More honey is being imported, therefore, with some of it is coming illegally from Asia and containing what could be unsafe ingredients such as antibiotics. And some imported “honey” might not even be honey at all, but instead something such as rice syrup.

One way a retailer can be absolutely sure of their honey’s source is through True Source Certification, an auditing process that traces the honey from the American packer to the foreign exporter to the actual beekeeper.

“Most honey imports are high-quality, and many are already True Source Certified, but there are still some bad actors, which is why certification is so important,” says Gordon Marks, executive director of True Source Honey, an organization founded to both bring awareness to the issue and institute the certification process.

Retailers that go through the certification process are able to include the True Source Certified logo on their store brand honey bottles, something that more consumers likely are going to be looking for, thanks to recent news coverage of the issue.

“We think there’s a tremendous benefit to retailers in the program, because it provides traceability,” Marks says. “And for consumers, that traceability means providing confidence in where their foods come from.”

Read full article at StoreBrands.info.

© 2014 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.


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3.21.2014

Trailblazer foods spreading good taste around the world [KGW]

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If you had jelly or preserves with your morning toast, it probably was produced at Portland's Trailblazer foods. It's one of the largest private label food processors in the country.

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by Joe Smith on March 21, 2014

If you had jelly or preserves with your morning toast, it probably was produced at Portland’s Trailblazer foods. It’s one of the largest private label food processors in the country.

The company is now celebrating 30 years of being in a tight jam. Any that’s a good thing. Trailblazer began in 1984. It was started by Gary Wall. He produced jams and jellies and produce the first ever marion berry syrup for Elmer’s restaurants.

In 2004, Rob Miller purchased the company. Today, 600 different products are produced.

Some well-known companies including Albertson’s, Kroger, Safeway and Costco have their own brands made there. Trailblazer works with each company to research and develop their own special recipe.

Everything is done in house, from purchasing fruit, much of it locally, to making the product to packaging it and shipping it.

“The private label market is driven this time by NB, no national brand equivalent,” noted Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer foods. “We want to make sure that every time a consumer goes to a store and buys a private label product it’s as good or better than the national brand.”

On a typical day, as many as 80,000 jars will be filled. The production line runs 24/4. Two labs test each product on a regular basis to insure consistent quality.

Trailblazer also produces products that are organic and a line of kosher foods.

View article at KGW.com.

© 2014 KGW.com. All rights reserved.


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3.11.2014

Trailblazer Foods celebrates 30 years of quality grocery products [Fancy Food Magazine, Portland Food and Drink]

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private-label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014.

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On March 11, 2014

 Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private-label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014.

Trailblazer Foods was the vision of founder Gary Walls, who picked berries as a child in the fertile fields of the Willamette Valley and then worked at fruit processing plants and canneries before moving on to oversee local berry fields and start his own small blueberry farm. As a hobbyist, he developed fruit-based syrups for Elmer’s Pancake House, and from these modest beginnings Trailblazer Foods was formed.

Read full article at Fancy Food Magazine and Portland Food and Drink.


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1.27.2014

FSMA, GFSI turn small processors into competitors [Food Processing Magazine]

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The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) received a great deal of press when it was signed into law in 2011, as it represented a major shift in the focus of federal regulators from responding to food contamination to preventing it.

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By Tom Boyd, on January 27, 2014

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) received a great deal of press when it was signed into law in 2011, as it represented a major shift in the focus of federal regulators from responding to food contamination to preventing it. In accordance with the legislation, the FDA has proposed a variety of new rules that are now nearing implementation.

For example, processing facilities must establish preventive control measures to reduce the risk of contamination, while science-based standards are also being established for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. Importers will be required to verify that the food safety procedures followed by their foreign suppliers are adequate, and third-party auditors can be accredited to conduct food safety audits and to certify foreign facilities and food products.

While FSMA will close many gaps and require all industry players to follow improved food safety practices, it is impressive what companies have been able to achieve on their own initiative in recent years. Food manufacturers and their partners have driven significant change at all levels of the food supply chain, implementing rigorous measures to ensure the safety and quality of the products they provide to their customers — whether these measures are required by federal regulations or not.

Read full article at Food Processing.

© 2014 Food Processing. All rights reserved.


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1.27.2014

Unsweetened coconut [StoreBrands]

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Trailblazer Food Products is now producing unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut for retailers’ store brand programs.

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On January 27, 2014

Trailblazer Food Products is now producing unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut for retailers’ store brand programs. Popular among health-conscious cooks and bakers, unsweetened coconut is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and contains natural sugars and fats. It has no added salt or preservatives and contains fewer calories and carbohydrates than traditional sweetened alternatives.

View article at StoreBrand.info and the March 2014 print issue (p. 88).

© 2014 StoreBrand. All rights reserved.


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1.01.2014

Proactive private label manufacturers lead the way in food safety standards [StoreBrands]

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Private label manufacturers and their partners have driven significant change at all levels of the food supply chain, implementing rigorous measures to ensure the safety and quality of the products they provide – whether these measures are required by federal regulations or not.

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By Tom Boyd, TrailBlazer Foods, on January 1, 2014

Private label manufacturers and their partners have driven significant change at all levels of the food supply chain, implementing rigorous measures to ensure the safety and quality of the products they provide – whether these measures are required by federal regulations or not. While the FDAs Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will close many gaps and require all industry players to follow improved food safety practices, it is nonetheless impressive what companies have been able to achieve on their own initiative.

The most recent major push for improved food safety systems began in early 2000, following several food scares, when a number of major retailers saw that declining customer confidence was affecting their bottom line. These retailers developed the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and began requiring their suppliers to comply with GFSI-certified audit schemes such as those provided by Safe Quality Food (SQF) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Read full article at StoreBrands.info.

© 2014 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.


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12.02.2013

Trailblazer Foods CEO: The US private label market has changed beyond all recognition [Food Navigator USA]

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While private label penetration rates in the US “pale in comparison” to those in Europe, the way US retailers regard their store brands has changed dramatically in recent years, according to the CEO of one leading manufacturer.

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By Elaine Watson, December 02, 2013

While private label penetration rates in the US “pale in comparison” to those in Europe, the way US retailers regard their store brands has changed dramatically in recent years, according to the CEO of one leading manufacturer.

Full full article at Food Navigator USA.

©  2013 Food Navigator USA. All rights reserved.

 


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10.02.2013

New Products: Organic blue agave nectar [StoreBrands]

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Trailblazer Food Products now produces organic blue agave nectar for retailers’ store brand programs.

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October 2, 2013

Trailblazer Food Products now produces organic blue agave nectar for retailers’ store brand programs. Blue agave nectar is said to be a natural sweetener for beverages, baking and general tabletop use. It is sweeter than sugar, which allows consumers to user fewer sweeteners in their daily diet. The syrup dissolves quickly, is non-crystalizing and stable, and does not require refrigeration.

View article in the November 2013 print issue of Private Label StoreBrands.

© 2013 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.


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10.01.2013

October 2013 new food products [Private Label Buyer]

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Trailblazer Food Products is now producing unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut.

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October 2013

Unsweetened Coconut

Trailblazer Food Products is now producing unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut. Trailblazer Food Products’ state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, located in Portland, Ore., can package up to 15 tons of coconut daily, using no additional sweeteners or preservatives. Natural, unsweetened coconut includes only natural sugars and fats, and no added salt, to deliver a product with reduced calories and carbohydrates.

View article online at Private Label Buyer.

© 2013 Private Label Buyer. All rights reserved.


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9.02.2013

Nature's sweeteners rule [StoreBrands]

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Consumers long have relied on syrups and honey to add sweetness and flavor to foods and beverages. The segment also has been a sweet spot for store brands.

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September 2, 2013

Consumers long have relied on syrups and honey to add sweetness and flavor to foods and beverages. The segment also has been a sweet spot for store brands. For example, despite the name (and bottle shape) recognition of Mrs. Butterworths, Aunt Jemima and Log Cabin syrups, private label table syrups enjoyed a 31.6 percent dollar share of the category, according to data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI for the 52 weeks ending June 16. And store brand honey had a 48.5 percent dollar share during the same timeframe.

Historically, grocery stores have not carried a deep selection of syrup SKUs, notes Arnold Coombs, director sales & marketing, Bascom Family Farms, Alstead, N.H.

“But consumers see Whole Foods and Trader Joes carrying a broad selection, and they expect that now at all stores,” he says. “One of the beauties of [pure] maple syrup is that it doesnt have a big footprint but packs big sales.”

Imitation syrup also is receiving more attention today, and is shopped by an important demographic: parents.

“There hasnt been much true innovation by the branded manufacturers, and the category is somewhat commoditized,” says Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Food Products, Portland, Ore. “This means its ripe for market share gains by private label manufacturers.”

Read full article at StoreBrands.info.

© 2013 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.

 


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9.02.2013

Pour on the flavor [StoreBrands]

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The benefits to eating at home are clear – you don't have to tip anyone; you know what ingredients are in the food; and it usually is friendlier to the waistline. At the same time, however, its easy to get stuck in a rut – making chicken the same way, again and again.

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September 2, 2013

The benefits to eating at home are clear – you don’t have to tip anyone; you know what ingredients are in the food; and it usually is friendlier to the waistline. At the same time, however, its easy to get stuck in a rut – making chicken the same way, again and again.

But sauces and marinades allow at-home cooks to add new flavors to old favorites easily.

“Sauce is boss. Sauces have emerged as a hero item for many dishes both at retail and at foodservice,” says Kim Holman, director of marketing for St. Francis, Wis.-based Wixon Inc., which manufactures a variety of sauces and other flavorful seasonings. “Sauce has become a strategy for consumers to customize a meal and make it their very own.”

Fifty-eight percent of the population likes to customize food when eating out, according to global market research firm Mintel, so eateries such as Chipotle and Genghis Grill are fast becoming some of Americas hottest food joints. Moreover, many people want to have that same sort of dining experience at home – particularly millennials, who have grown up with lots of choices.

Read full article at StoreBrands.info.

© 2013 StoreBrands. All rights reserved.

 


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8.20.2013

August 2013 new food products [Private Label Buyer]

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Trailblazer Food Products now bottles organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers.

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August 2013

Trailblazer Food Products now bottles organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers. The syrup is naturally sweeter than sugar, is non-crystalizing and requires no refrigeration. Blue agave is perfect for beverages, baking and general table-top use, and Trailblazer’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility can bottle up to 85 tons of blue agave syrup daily.

View article at Private Label Buyer.

© 2013 Private Label Buyer. All rights reserved.


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8.19.2013

Manufacturer spots niche market for unsweetened coconut [Food Production Daily]

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Trailblazer Food Products has moved into unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut production, amid claims it has spotted a niche in the market for natural ingredients.

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By Jenny Eagle, on August 19, 2013

Trailblazer Food Products has moved into unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut production, amid claims it has spotted a niche in the market for natural ingredients.

Read full article at Food Production Daily.

© 2013 Food Production Daily. All rights reserved.


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8.07.2013

Food-makers find a lot to like about locating in East Multnomah County [Oregonian]

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East Multnomah County companies are filling plates across the Pacific Northwest, and sometimes beyond, with main courses, side dishes, snacks and desserts.

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By Special to The Oregonian, on August 7, 2013.

East Multnomah County companies are filling plates across the Pacific Northwest, and sometimes beyond, with main courses, side dishes, snacks and desserts.

That steak you had for dinner last night? It might have passed through Wood Village on the way to your local market. The veggies next to it might have been trucked out of a Gresham cold-storage warehouse not far from where your bread was baked and your jelly was jarred. The taffy you just sneaked from the bag you brought home from a getaway at the coast probably was made just down the street. Even Fido could be eating local chow.

Not only are local companies filling out menus, they’re filling up household bank accounts: Combined, 10 of the largest food-makers and distributors in Gresham and neighboring communities east of Portland employ roughly 900 people and pay more than $25 million in annual wages and benefits.

“The city of Gresham has been terrific,” said Rob Miller, president and chief executive officer of Trailblazer Foods. “They’ve really been a great partner for us.”

Grocery store shoppers are more likely to know Trailblazer Foods by its Walls Berry Farms jellies and preserves and Nalley’s Lumberjack syrups, but most of its products actually hit the shelves under other brand labels, including grocery chain brands.

Trailblazer’s 65 to 80 employees can churn out an impressive amount of food in a single day: up to 65 tons of jellies and preserves, 75 tons of syrup or 15 tons of sweetened coconut.

It is just one of the companies sending food to store shelves by the truckload.

Read full article at OregonLive.com.

©  2013 The Oregonian. All rights reserved.

Photo: Ross William Hamilton, The Oregonian


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7.23.2013

Oregon's economy: Slackers need not apply [CNBC/YPO]

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Portland, the largest city in Oregon, was recently ranked fifth on Bloomberg BusinessWeek's best cities in America list. Why? The city—and its state—is known for its laid-back living with a great deal of support for creation and innovation.

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By Rob Miller, Trailblazer Foods, on July 23, 2013

Portland, the largest city in Oregon, was recently ranked fifth on Bloomberg BusinessWeek‘s best cities in America list. Why? The city—and its state—is known for its laid-back living with a great deal of support for creation and innovation. And businesses have taken note with lofty aspirations for continuous gains in education, health care and sustainability.

Our economy was originally built by Oregonians who relied on the land for their livelihood, and much of the community continues to depend heavily on natural resource economies like farming, forestry and fishing. After high-tech manufacturing, natural resources remain among Oregon’s leading industries.

Oregon has also developed a reputation for being innovative in important areas. For instance, the state’s workers’ compensation reforms made years ago are appearing around the country, and the state remains a leader in this area. According to the state’s Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon has the 13th-lowest premium rate and is 16 percent below the median for all states and Washington, D.C., based on premium rates effective Jan. 1, 2012.

Read full article at CNBC.com.

© 2013 CNBC. All rights reserved.


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6.14.2013

Trailblazer Food Products now producing private label organic blue agave nectar [Grocery Headquarters]

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is now producing private label organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers.

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June 14, 2013

Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is now producing private label organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers. Blue agave is gaining popularity as a versatile natural sweetener for beverages, baking and general table-top use, and Trailblazer Food Products’ state-of-the-art manufacturing facility can bottle up to 85 tons of blue agave syrup daily, company officials say.

“We pride ourselves in responding quickly and flexibly to our customers’ needs and are committed to providing the highest-quality products at the best value,” says Rob Miller, president and CEO of Trailblazer Food Products. “With that, we are also responsible for continually innovating and ensuring our facilities support production of the latest food products that our customers’ end consumers demand — like blue agave syrup.”

Read full article at Grocery Headquarters.

© 2013 Grocery Headquarters. All rights reserved.


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6.13.2013

Trailblazer Food Products now producing private label organic blue agave nectar [Food Equipment News]

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Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is now producing private label organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers

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June 13, 2013

Trailblazer Food Products, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, is now producing private label organic blue agave nectar for private label brand owners and specialty food marketers. Blue agave is gaining popularity as a versatile natural sweetener for beverages, baking and general table-top use, and Trailblazer Food Products’ state-of-the-art manufacturing facility can bottle up to 85 tons of blue agave syrup daily.

Blue agave is a wholesome sweetener extracted from the blue agave plant. Naturally sweeter than sugar, blue agave syrup allows consumers to use less sweetener in their daily diet while achieving a delicious, enhanced flavor. The syrup also dissolves quickly, is non-crystalizing and stable – requiring no refrigeration.

Read full article at Food & Food Equipment News.

© 2013 Food & Food Equipment News. All rights reserved.


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6.06.2008

Western Family, the 'quiet giant,' gets into organics [Portland Business Journal]

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Western Family Foods Inc. jumped into the organics game for the second time this spring, with the launch of its Natural Directions brand, a line of 120 items that include food products and paper goods.

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By Robin J. Moody, on June 6, 2008

Western Family Foods Inc. jumped into the organics game for the second time this spring, with the launch of its Natural Directions brand, a line of 120 items that include food products and paper goods.

The Tigard-based company’s recent push underscores a national trend toward all things green. The organic food market reached $16.9 billion in 2006, according to the Organic Trade Association, double 2002 sales and up from $13.8 billion in 2005.

And with just 3 percent of retail food sales in 2006, organic food products have plenty of room to grow.

“The natural and organics trend is not going away,” said Robert Miller, president of Gresham-based Trailblazer Food Products, which sells preserves, jellies and other products including organics to Western Family. “You need to play in that area, and (Western Family) is doing it the right way now.”

Read full article at the Portland Business Journal.

© 2008 Portland Business Journal. All rights reserved.


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9.01.2005

Jam plant integrates packaging & processing [Automation World]

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Flexible recipe management is increasingly important in batch food processing applications, as the market evolves to favor smaller batch sizes and requires increased operator productivity. Integrating the packaging line with processing operations is also becoming more important as manufacturers seek to streamline operations.

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By 

Flexible recipe management is increasingly important in batch food processing applications, as the market evolves to favor smaller batch sizes and requires increased operator productivity. Integrating the packaging line with processing operations is also becoming more important as manufacturers seek to streamline operations.

“The packaging line in food processing operations consists of various machines from different manufacturers that don’t talk to each other—or anything else,” says Michael Gurney, co-owner of Concept Systems, a systems integrator hired recently to implement a recipe management system and integrate the packaging line at Trailblazer Foods.

The history of the Gresham, Ore., manufacturer of jams, jellies and preserves is a story in itself.

Read full article at Automation World.

© 2005 Automation World. All rights reserved.


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4.17.2017

CPG: Private Brands ECRM Show 2017

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Private Brand ECRM Show On The Ground: Organic Coconut & Organic Drinking Vinegar I was in Orlando this month attending the Private Brands ECRM show. This show is a bit different from the traditional “Trade Shows” in that retailers spend 20 minutes one-on-one with participating suppliers. Think Speed Dating with a couple dozen buyers over […]

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Private Brand ECRM Show On The Ground: Organic Coconut & Organic Drinking Vinegar

I was in Orlando this month attending the Private Brands ECRM show. This show is a bit different from the traditional “Trade Shows” in that retailers spend 20 minutes one-on-one with participating suppliers. Think Speed Dating with a couple dozen buyers over a two day period. My goal for each meeting – provide each buyer with enough of a reason to go on a second “date” with me in order to make a formal presentation.

My focus for this show was our line of Organic Coconut Products (oils, milks, flour, sugar, and unsweetened flakes) and Organic Drinking Vinegars (shrubs). Both of these lines are absolutely on trend and ready to be offered in private label brands.

During each meeting, I asked my “date” what they had seen at the show that was really cool and innovative? While my research was not very scientific, the majority said the Drinking Vinegars hit the mark!

I’m excited to report that I’m gonna get a second date with multiple retailers in the very near future which will hopefully turn into proposals for long term, mutually profitable relationships.

-Mike Post, Trailblazer Foods Director of Sales


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11.22.2016

The Many Uses of Coconut

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Coconut is one of the most versatile fruits in the world Born in the Philippines, coconut has always been part of my life. My older cousin Winnie climbing up the coconut trees around my house to get me my favorite treat, young coconut also known as Buko, is one of my favorite childhood memories. Coconut […]

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Coconut is one of the most versatile fruits in the world

Born in the Philippines, coconut has always been part of my life. My older cousin Winnie climbing up the coconut trees around my house to get me my favorite treat, young coconut also known as Buko, is one of my favorite childhood memories.

Coconut is one of the most versatile fruits in the world, known in the Philippines as the “Tree of Life” because every part of the tree has a use from the leaves down to the roots. Nothing goes to waste. Leaves are used for thatch (a roofing material) and as a wrap for cooking. Hat, mats and bags are also produced from the leaves.

Durable wood is obtained from the trunk for building materials used in furniture construction and creating novelty items. Pulp used to produce paper is extracted from the trunk. The tree's roots are used for beverages, dye and for medicinal purposes. The coconut shell is used to make charcoal and handcrafted items. Coir, an elastic fiber used for rope, matting, and coarse cloth is made from coconut husk.

Coconut sap is used to produce coconut juice, sugar and tuba. Fermented coconut juice is also a common alcoholic drink in coconut regions. Gin and vinegar is also produced from the sap.

Coconut meat is a popular food and a good source of protein. One medium coconut has 13 grams of protein and can be an effective natural laxative. The meat is processed into coco flour, desiccated coconut, coco milk, coco chips, candies, copra and animal feed. Coconut water is a popular beverage rich in nutrients and electrolytes. The oil is used for cooking and a variety of skin and hair care products.  

At Trailblazer Foods we continue searching for new coconut products to add to our portfolio. I am fortunate for my position at Trailblazer Foods allowing me regular travel throughout Southeast Asia and back home to the Philippines as part of my career to conduct annual audits.

- Henry Catan, Trailblazer Foods Production Manager


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9.29.2016

Holiday Season Prompts Increased Coconut Production for Retailers

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It’s that time of year again – kids are back in school, college football dominates Saturday TV, leaves are changing color, the holidays are just around the corner, and Trailblazer Foods is ramping up production of coconut for our retail customers across the country. Shredded and flaked coconut are key ingredients in many holiday recipes.  […]

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It’s that time of year again – kids are back in school, college football dominates Saturday TV, leaves are changing color, the holidays are just around the corner, and Trailblazer Foods is ramping up production of coconut for our retail customers across the country.

Shredded and flaked coconut are key ingredients in many holiday recipes.  From cookies to pies, cakes to puddings, consumers will be heading to retailers’ shelves to purchase enough coconut to make their family’s favorite goodies. That’s why we have increased our production output in recent weeks. Coconut sells very quickly and we need to keep all our retail partners in stock.

We sell over 60% of our annual production volume from October through December.  Building coconut inventory now will assure that we can fill our retailers’ needs during the holidays. - Mike Post, Trailblazer Foods Director of Sales


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9.23.2016

Trailblazer Foods Expands into a New Warehouse

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Trailblazer Foods recently moved into a new warehouse. This is a great opportunity to expand the business and better serve client needs. With an extra 35,000 sq. Ft. (169,000 square feet total) there is ample room to stage orders for outbound shipping, and more space to receive raw goods. This expansion allows better control of the […]

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Trailblazer Foods recently moved into a new warehouse. This is a great opportunity to expand the business and better serve client needs. With an extra 35,000 sq. Ft. (169,000 square feet total) there is ample room to stage orders for outbound shipping, and more space to receive raw goods. This expansion allows better control of the flow of raw materials in and out of the production warehouse, and creates more flexibility in the entire manufacturing plant.

Some features of the new warehouse are; better lighting, more office space, twelve staging doors, four receiving doors and visibility of the entire warehouse.

The bottom line is that now we can manage the warehouse space more efficiently instead of the warehouse space managing us! – James Mill, Trailblazer Foods Warehouse Manager


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6.29.2016

Product Label Design at Trailblazer Foods

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Walk into a supermarket today and you will notice that the labels tell a larger story about the contents inside the package. Today’s consumer wants to know information such as, where the food was grown, what sort of ingredients were used, and why is the product different? We must ask ourselves these same questions as […]

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Walk into a supermarket today and you will notice that the labels tell a larger story about the contents inside the package. Today’s consumer wants to know information such as, where the food was grown, what sort of ingredients were used, and why is the product different?

We must ask ourselves these same questions as we design labels for our products. Each new product we produce requires a new label, and as the Research and Development Manager at Trailblazer Foods, I often find myself in the middle of several label development projects. The process always begins with the food. At the most basic stage a label tells you what is inside the packaging, but beyond the basics the FDA and other regulatory agencies have a say about descriptions and names of food.

Something as simple as the word “Jam”(1) has been defined by the FDA, but there is no definition for a “Marmalade.”(2) This means that once you have figured out what to name your food, you must communicate to the consumer what is in it. Is the product gluten free? How much fat does the product contain? What is the sodium content of the product? Food labels are a source of information to tell the consumer the facts about the food, but with new products, communicating why a consumer should buy is equally important. Why should the consumer choose your product over another? Why try something new? Why does a premium product cost more? These are important questions to answer on a label. 

An example of this process comes from our recently-launched line of Organic coconut products. As we created the labels for these items we needed to relay to the consumer why they should use Organic coconut oil over another type of oil, and what advantages Organic coconut flour holds. This type of information is not required by any regulatory body, but it can be the difference between products being successful or gathering dust on the shelf.

To complete the process of creating the label we must create a design that catches attention and effectively communicates our messages. At Trailblazer Foods we work with a wide variety of design companies to give different perspectives and style to the project. In the end we believe it’s the quality of the contents in the package that counts, and a well-planned food label assists in getting the products into the hands of the consumers.

-Seth Crass, Research and Development Manager 

 

(1) 21 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 150.160

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=32ffe65297bb7815e913e40af0f562cd&mc=true&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title21/21cfr150_main_02.tpl

(2) CPG Sec. 550.575 Marmalade http://www.fda.gov/iceci/compliancemanuals/compliancepolicyguidancemanual/ucm074536.htm


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6.10.2016

Problem Solving in the Co-Pack and Private Label Industry

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Here at Trailblazer Foods we pride ourselves on customer satisfaction and sometimes that means a lot of extra work going above and beyond to meet customers’ specific requests and needs. An example of this came from a new project we recently took on where a customer wanted a specific jar for their product and it […]

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Here at Trailblazer Foods we pride ourselves on customer satisfaction and sometimes that means a lot of extra work going above and beyond to meet customers’ specific requests and needs. An example of this came from a new project we recently took on where a customer wanted a specific jar for their product and it turned out the jar was very hard to come by. 

Finding this particular packaging to meet this customer’s expectations was much more difficult than one might imagine. Several glass manufacturers have a minimum amount of jars they make at one time and for many that is the equivalent of one truckload which could take several years to use. Nobody feels comfortable holding onto a jar that could be on the shelf for two years. The glass manufacturer may have to create a special mold due to the lack of inventory on-hand.

To solve this sort of problem, we have to get creative. Often that includes calling companies who have already purchased the jar and split a full production run with them. Another solution could be to split up our production run of higher volume jars with lower volume products to make it appealing to the packaging manufacturer. Or, there are several distributors that buy large quantities of packaging to sell to multiple customers. Occasionally it becomes a combination of these things, buying up small inventory from each of them to piece together one production run.

In the end I was able to find the exact jar the customer wanted after an exhaustive search. All other materials to fill the jars were set to come in for us to get the product out the door on time. At the last minute, I received a call from the glass manufacturer telling me that my jar did not pass the quality test and they would not be able to send it to me. That meant my weeks of searching and the peace of mind that came when all the pieces fell into place was shattered by that one phone call. The search had to begin again. This wasn’t necessarily an abnormal occurrence, so I knew what to do next. We found another supplier and everything aligned again. It wasn’t easy and it never is when all of the parts have to come together at the right time and the right place. Somehow we make it happen every day. 

-Chris Condray, Procurement Manager 


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5.20.2016

Complying with California Prop 65

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By Jeff Gleason, Trailblazer Foods Quality Manager One of the interesting things about working in the food industry is that nothing ever stays the same. New challenges or programs continuously emerge. A good example of this is California’s addition of BPA (bisphenol A) to the Proposition 65 list. BPA is an additive used to make plastic […]

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By Jeff Gleason, Trailblazer Foods Quality Manager


One of the interesting things about working in the food industry is that nothing ever stays the same. New challenges or programs continuously emerge. A good example of this is California’s addition of BPA (bisphenol A) to the Proposition 65 list. BPA is an additive used to make plastic products softer, and has been used to manufacture everything from food containers (can liners) to sports equipment.

First a quick definition of just what Prop 65 is: In 1986, California voters approved an initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. That initiative became the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known by its original name of Proposition 65. Proposition 65 requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. This list, which must be updated at least once a year, has grown to include approximately 800 chemicals since it was first published in 1987.

In 2015 the Prop 65 committee decided that BPA needed to be added to the Prop 65 list in spite of the FDA’s stance that the listing was not necessary. This ruling was to take effect on May 11, 2016 but implementation has been delayed for at least a year due to several issues. These issues include lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables and the lack of a set MADL (maximum allowable dosage limit) for BPA.

At Trailblazer Foods we have taken steps to ensure our products are BPA compliant with the new ruling, and we have sent samples of our products out for BPA detection testing. The testing results tell us that our products test below the detectable limits for BPA. In addition, we are working with our ingredient and packaging suppliers to ensure that everything we use to produce our products is BPA free. We're proud to say this is another way that Trailblazer Food Products is committed to providing our customers with the finest quality products.


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2.26.2016

New Production Demands for Millennial Consumers

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Holy Cow! The retail food market sure has changed dramatically in the past few years. Not that long ago, food companies focused their attention on courting “Baby Boomers” like me. After all, we had buying power unequaled in the history of the country. Flavor trends, pack size, product assortment, etc. were all dictated by those […]

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Holy Cow! The retail food market sure has changed dramatically in the past few years. Not that long ago, food companies focused their attention on courting “Baby Boomers” like me. After all, we had buying power unequaled in the history of the country. Flavor trends, pack size, product assortment, etc. were all dictated by those born between 1945 and 1964.

Fast forward to today and these decisions are now being made by twenty-somethings with discerning palates and strong expectations of maximizing every dining experience. These 80 million or so “Millennials” are insisting on clean ingredient statements, premium quality, and convenience. They are demanding better-for-you products which deliver a luxurious and decadent experience that can be prepared in minutes rather than hours. They want big flavor and they’re willing to pay a little extra to get it. You won’t find Velveeta in their cupboards – no way, no how.

With that in mind, Trailblazer offers several product lines to scratch the Millennials’ itch such as Organic Preserves (more fruit and less added sugar than regular preserves), Agave Nectar (lower hypoglycemic index than sugar), Organic Coconut Products (Oil, Milk, Flour, Sugar), and unsweetened coconut.

Even an old geezer like me can see we need to cater to this group. Bring it on Millennials – we’ve got you covered!

Mike Post is Director of Sales at Trailblazer Foods 

Contact Trailblazer Foods


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12.17.2015

Successful End of Year Preparations at Trailblazer Foods

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Hard to believe that 2015 is almost over! It’s been a busy year with fresh pack strawberry spread production lasting well into October (month longer than usual). The QA team had been working on yearly food safety program updates in preparation for our yearly SQF audit. This makes for a good opportunity to ensure that […]

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Hard to believe that 2015 is almost over! It’s been a busy year with fresh pack strawberry spread production lasting well into October (month longer than usual).

The QA team had been working on yearly food safety program updates in preparation for our yearly SQF audit. This makes for a good opportunity to ensure that we are still current on all of our policies and programs. Programs we have reviewed include GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and Allergen Control. All of these programs ensure that we always produce quality food safe products for our customers.

This was successful as we had received another excellent score on our November unannounced SQF audit. The auditor spent 2 days on site reviewing food safety programs, paperwork, production practices, maintenance and sanitation compliance. Thanks to all associates, their hard work and dedication made the audit a success.

In addition we have several new products in the works that will keep us busy for the rest of the year. Thankfully we have a great team of managers and associates that make this possible; we couldn’t do it without their help.

Jeff Gleason is QA Manager at Trailblazer Foods 


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12.16.2015

Trailblazer Foods Sends a Special Thank You to Local Department of Human Services Employees

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, sent more than 3,000 jars of premium strawberry preserves to Embrace Oregon and Department of Human Services (DHS) employees, thanking them for their important work within the community. In early December, employees in the Salem central office and […]

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Trailblazer Foods, a leading manufacturer of private label and branded grocery products in the western United States, sent more than 3,000 jars of premium strawberry preserves to Embrace Oregon and Department of Human Services (DHS) employees, thanking them for their important work within the community. In early December, employees in the Salem central office and Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties region received their jars along with the message; “We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to you for the way you serve and embrace vulnerable children and families in our community.”

Embrace Oregon works to raise awareness of the needs of children and families in the state’s child welfare system and to connect caring people with vulnerable children through partnership with DHS. Embrace Oregon supports DHS efforts by encouraging individuals, families, churches and businesses to work together to meet the needs of local children.

“It takes a special group of people to show up every day and do everything in their power to support our community’s most vulnerable families,” said Rob Miller, CEO of Trailblazer Foods. “Not only did we want to show our support for this initiative, but we also wanted to say thank you to each employee on a personal level.”

“At Embrace Oregon, we dedicate ourselves to helping every child in foster care flourish,” said Jillana Goble, founder of Embrace Oregon. “With the love and support from the community, and from local businesses like Trailblazer Foods, we can achieve this and more.”

In 2014, Embrace Oregon recognized Trailblazer’s community involvement with the Third Way Award, an award meant to call attention to the fact that although people may be polarized and categorized as left or right, the answer to community challenges usually lies in a creative third way.

For more information about Trailblazer Foods and the company’s community involvement, visit www.trailblazerfoods.com or call 503.666.5800.

About Trailblazer Food Products

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Food Products was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces co-pack, private label and branded products in many core grocery categories, including preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened and unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, institutional pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Unified Western Grocers, Western Family Foods, Topco, Boyd’s Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Media Contact:

Claire Castellanos, 503.546.7894, claire.castellanos@lanepr.com


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12.09.2015

New Fruit Topping and Filling to Meet the Changing Needs of Customers

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After a very busy spring and summer, it’s been even busier this fall with new and exciting projects here at Trailblazer Foods. We finalized a fruit filling/topping project with multiple flavors that has been 12 months in the making from initial formulation development through multiple changes and renditions as the customer changed their needs. Because […]

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After a very busy spring and summer, it’s been even busier this fall with new and exciting projects here at Trailblazer Foods.

We finalized a fruit filling/topping project with multiple flavors that has been 12 months in the making from initial formulation development through multiple changes and renditions as the customer changed their needs.

Because these toppings/fillings are used by our customer as an ingredient in another very tasty food item, one of the biggest challenges was the fine tuning of the products so they would run properly through their equipment that introduces the filling to the final product.

Very tight specifications for what the customers machinery required to allow it to run properly coupled with our strict process and food safety requirements made it a challenge but our innovative R&D staff was more than up to the challenge and came up with solutions that far exceeded everyone’s requirements…..Hats off to all the Trailblazer staff involved in bringing this all together, despite some doubters, you pulled it off like the pro’s you are. THANK YOU for your hard work and patience.

Our and the customers first test production runs were a success and now we gear up for another successful product launch and happy customer.    

Looking forward to the next project to show off how being a family run, flexible and fast reaction company can help our next customer fulfill their goals.

Bill Wheeler is Director of Club and Co-Pack Sales at Trailblazer Foods


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12.04.2015

Exciting Period of Improvements at Trailblazer

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One of the more exciting and rewarding parts of the Operations role is the planning and execution of capital projects. These capital projects are typically oriented to improving the operation in some way – replacing obsolete equipment to increase efficiency, improving quality, improving sanitation of hard surfaces, addressing safety concerns, and so on. Trailblazer is […]

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One of the more exciting and rewarding parts of the Operations role is the planning and execution of capital projects. These capital projects are typically oriented to improving the operation in some way – replacing obsolete equipment to increase efficiency, improving quality, improving sanitation of hard surfaces, addressing safety concerns, and so on.

Trailblazer is in the middle of a two-year capital program across all areas of manufacturing. Last month we finished installing a new filler that now allows us much tighter control over fill levels. Just last week we started up a new capper for syrup bottles which operates with virtually zero missed caps, meaning that it is no longer necessary to station an operator at the machine to check for missed caps. We are replacing floor drains and installing a new polyurethane process flooring to improve overall plant sanitation and make the plant easier to keep clean. And that is just this year.

In 2016 we are planning a complete upgrade of our process control software system, installing a new ventilation system on the main plant floor, to keep the temperature more comfortable in the winter and summer, and to remove excess moisture from the plant before it condenses on hard surfaces.  We will also be selectively replacing several older pieces of equipment on our main Cook Deck, which will allow us to incorporate design improvement to make the Cook Deck more flexible.

 All in all this is an exciting period of change and improvements here at Trailblazer.  

Sebastian Pastore is Vice President of Operations at Trailblazer Foods 


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11.11.2015

Organic Cocount Products Have Trailblazer Foods All Fired Up

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I’ve been selling food and consumer products to Grocery Retailers for over 30 years so I have seen trends come and go. Some got me excited, some were, well, meh… But the line of Organic Coconut Products we just launched has me all fired up!  Organic Coconut Oils, Coconut Milks, Coconut Flour, and Coconut Sugar […]

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I’ve been selling food and consumer products to Grocery Retailers for over 30 years so I have seen trends come and go. Some got me excited, some were, well, meh… But the line of Organic Coconut Products we just launched has me all fired up! 

Organic Coconut Oils, Coconut Milks, Coconut Flour, and Coconut Sugar all were once only found within the walls of those “Health Food” stores. Today, they are becoming staples in supermarkets across the country, fueled by the “better for you” mentality of younger shoppers looking for ways to indulge in a healthier way. Trailblazer Foods is leading the way of offering retailers a complete line of these items from just one source. 

This project was a result of talking to grocers and finding out they had to buy Coconut Milk from one guy, then they had a Coconut Oil guy, and yet another guy for flour and sugar. We decided to utilize our deep knowledge of sourcing coconut (we buy millions of pounds every year) and have been able to bring the products together and offer a complete package – using either our Trailblazer brand or a Private Label brand.

I gotta be honest, the journey has produced some scar tissue but it has been super exciting watching all the moving parts come into place. I’ve also enjoyed hearing about the multiple uses of these products, especially coconut oils. I think everyone knows coconut oil is great for the skin and hair but did you know that swishing coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes will draw the impurities from your gums? I’ll let you be the judge of that…

Mike Post is Director of Sales at Trailblazer Foods.


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10.19.2015

Investing in Our Future

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For the last two days, our manufacturing plant has been “down”.  In our business, your plant being down is something that usually causes concern.  We are, after all, in the manufacturing business and if we’re down, we’re not making anything….and that’s usually a bad sign. However, this time, being down is a very good thing.  […]

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For the last two days, our manufacturing plant has been “down”.  In our business, your plant being down is something that usually causes concern.  We are, after all, in the manufacturing business and if we’re down, we’re not making anything….and that’s usually a bad sign.

However, this time, being down is a very good thing.  It’s good because we’re not running so we can install a new Filler that will increase our efficiencies and yield, things that are very important as we go to market in a highly competitive field.

The installation of this new Filler is the next to last major investment in our Plant this year.  It follows the installation of a new Lug Style Capper (think caps with a button or “pop” top) and will be followed at the end of the month with the installation of a new Continuous Thread Capper (think about caps on a syrup bottle).  We’ve also invested heavily in new Controls and Hardware for our Cook Deck so, essentially, the entire front end of our main manufacturing line is new.  Very exciting.

In total, we’re going invest well over $600,000 in 2015 to upgrade our manufacturing facilities and have tentatively approved a plan to invest another $800,000 in 2016.  So, what do you get for over $1.4mm in plant investment?

To start, you get the new Filler, Capper(s) and Controls mentioned above.  However, you also get more……much more, including:

  • New conveyors
  • Upgraded air filtration and ventilation
  • New cook deck software
  • Upgraded ERP system
  • New processing tanks
  • New steam/hot water cleaning system
  • Refinished floors

We’re excited to make these investments because we aren’t just buying equipment or making upgrades, we’re investing in the people who operate the equipment (our terrific employees) the people who benefit from the equipment (our valued customers and consumers) and in the local economy.

That’s why being “down” the last two days is a good thing……….a very good thing.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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8.13.2015

Fun Food Facts from Trailblazer

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At Trailblazer, our executive team hosts a quarterly review meeting to discuss successes and areas for improvement. As part of the agenda, our purchasing team provides an overview of their activities over the past three months and solicits feedback on key trends, initiatives and other business drivers that could affect how and what they purchase […]

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At Trailblazer, our executive team hosts a quarterly review meeting to discuss successes and areas for improvement. As part of the agenda, our purchasing team provides an overview of their activities over the past three months and solicits feedback on key trends, initiatives and other business drivers that could affect how and what they purchase for the next quarter. In addition, the team shares a comprehensive account of purchased products.

During our Q2 review, the team outlined an outstanding purchasing report. Impressed by these numbers, I want to call out some of their impressive accomplishments.

  • Over the last year, we’ve purchased more than 3.2 million pounds of Desiccated, Flaked Coconut which is used in our bagged sweetened coconut that you can find under many of our retail partners’ brands.
  • During the same time period, we’ve bought over 7.2 million pounds of Organic Strawberries and other berries, in addition to 4.4 million pounds of Organic Sugar for use in our Organic Jellies, Preserves and Spreads.
  • Also in the past 12 months, we’ve obtained more than 10 million pounds of Non-Organic Fruit, 700,000 pounds of Sugar and 4.7 million pounds of Corn Syrup to make our high quality National Brand Equivalent products for our retail partners.
  • Finally, our team bought 32,000 pounds of Salt, 46,000 pounds of Agave Nectar, and hundreds of thousands of pounds of additional materials including Natural Fruit Pectin, Citric Acid, Starches, Gums and other ingredients used to make our products.

I’m very proud of our purchasing team and the work they’ve accomplished and continue to do to secure the high quality ingredients necessary to make the products that are important to our retail partners and their customers.

When dealing with agricultural commodities, food manufacturing has proven time and again to be a difficult job. However, when you have a quality team working to ensure product integrity, it allows us to be a preferred partner to the farmers and processors who supply our products, and bring a superior product to our valued customers.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods. To view a high-resolution version of the infographic, click here.


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3.20.2015

The “Better For You” Food Movement

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Everyone knows that the most exciting part of the NCAA March Madness Tournament is the unpredictability.  All I know is that I’m happy I’m not the one in Vegas making the tough calls. As many Americans are currently agonizing over their March Madness bracket picks and researching historical trends (Will Kentucky go all the way?), […]

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Everyone knows that the most exciting part of the NCAA March Madness Tournament is the unpredictability.  All I know is that I’m happy I’m not the one in Vegas making the tough calls. As many Americans are currently agonizing over their March Madness bracket picks and researching historical trends (Will Kentucky go all the way?), I have my mind on another type of trend. The “better for you” food trend. Because if there is one thing I know for sure, Americans are really into the healthier food movement these days.

Surveys continue to show that Americans are eating healthier and changes in consumer behavior for the past few decades bear this intention out. Americans are increasingly looking for simple, natural foods that contain healthy ingredients and are minimally processed.

Although some aspects of the move toward healthy eating are faddish in nature, from the regular proclamation of new “superfoods” to the parade of popular new diets, I think it’s safe to say that the underlying trend is here to stay.

This trend began with the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, which, coupled with the rise of the Internet, gave consumers more tools to make informed decisions. Today, consumers are demanding healthier foods from retailers, and these companies, are in turn, demanding these products from suppliers.

So what does this mean for us here at Trailblazer? What are we doing as a private-label manufacturer to help our retail customers meet this consumer demand?

First, we are flexible and adaptable so we can respond to our customer’s needs. Different people have different priorities when it comes to food choices. Some want the traditional grocery products that they’ve been buying for decades and we have a number of products that meet their needs.  Others want low-sugar or low-sodium foods, while still others are looking for gluten-free or low-carb options. Some seek out organic or all-natural products, or foods that are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Whatever our customers are looking for, we identify and contract with farms and suppliers that are capable of meeting their specific requirements.

Second, we carefully audit our suppliers to ensure the quality, safety, purity and traceability of the ingredients we use. We have strict criteria for contracting with a source and we require extensive documentation of quality and safety measures.

Finally, we work closely with farms and other suppliers to make sure their products, such as fruit for preserves, are delivered in a form and at a time that will enable us to make a fresh and flavorful product, and we use state-of-the-art processing technology and packaging to ensure that flavors and nutrients are retained.

Through it all, we’re also very conscious of cost. Price is often a limiting factor for consumers who want to eat fresher, healthier food. Many of our retail customers are trying to reach a broader audience, beyond the affluent, with their healthy private-label products so we do our part to keep costs down and keep a healthier diet within reach.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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2.13.2015

Trailblazer’s 2015 Forecast and Trends on our Radar

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At the beginning of each year, I take a step back and review my business successes and setbacks over the last year. I get excited about how well Trailblazer stayed on track with industry trends – or how we broke the mold and still found success.  At the same time, I take a hard look […]

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At the beginning of each year, I take a step back and review my business successes and setbacks over the last year. I get excited about how well Trailblazer stayed on track with industry trends – or how we broke the mold and still found success.  At the same time, I take a hard look at what didn’t work and why – could we have met retailer demand stronger? At the end of the day, Trailblazer continues to grow through our jams and jellies offerings, so you might wonder why we also focus on innovative flavors and product categories.

A recently published IRI Times & Trends report has been making its rounds among my PL industry peers. The report found that U.S. consumers spent $120 billion on private label products in 2014, marking a year-over-year increase of 2.1 percent. While the report concluded that this growth was sparked by competitive pricing and will level off, it also highlighted how PL manufacturers can stay top-of-mind with consumers.

I am increasingly viewing Trailblazer’s store-brand offerings as a strategic tool and an opportunity to build customer loyalty. This trend will be strengthened in 2015 by the growing emphasis on food safety, product quality and innovation – all areas where our business excels.

The IRI report emphasized that PL manufacturers should continue to explore new aisles and categories. Based on 2014 sales, the market segments where I expect to see the most growth this year are coconut products, jams and jellies featuring unique flavor combinations (organic mango and passion fruit, pepper jelly, etc.), and better-for-you products (organic, gluten-free or no added sugar, for example).

Whether we’re producing branded or private label products, Trailblazer is committed to providing the highest quality at the best value and responding quickly to our customers’ changing needs. We are able to scale our production so that it can be easily updated to meet consumer demand. We strive to be a retailer’s supplier of choice, and we’ve seen that our customer service can make the difference.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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1.06.2015

New Year’s Resolutions and A Healthier Lifestyle for 2015

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Happy 2015! Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like many people, you may have resolved to live a healthier lifestyle this year. Experts suggest that the best way to make your resolutions stick is to make small, achievable modifications to your diet and lifestyle rather than attempting to completely change all your […]

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Happy 2015! Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like many people, you may have resolved to live a healthier lifestyle this year. Experts suggest that the best way to make your resolutions stick is to make small, achievable modifications to your diet and lifestyle rather than attempting to completely change all your habits at once. If you keep your expectations realistic and avoid creating situations that make you feel deprived, you’re more likely to stick with your resolutions over the long term.

One easy step you can take to improve your diet is to use healthier alternatives to sugar. At Trailblazer Foods, one of the biggest consumer trends we’ve seen over the last couple of years is the pursuit of healthier ingredients, and we’ve responded by providing our customers with a variety of options. Unsweetened shredded and flaked coconut, for example, has become extremely popular as an ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Thanks to its unique texture and flavor, it can enhance many dishes without the need to add sugar. It also offers a variety of health benefits. While some of the more miraculous-sounding properties attributed to coconut may be exaggerated, there is no doubt that it is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Blue agave nectar is another sweetener embraced by people looking for natural options. This mild nectar is sweeter than sugar, so less can be used.

Trailblazer began producing some of these kosher, healthier sugar alternatives back in the second quarter of 2013 due to direct customer demand. We are now able to produce 15 tons of coconut and 85 tons of blue agave per day – putting us in a good position to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions.

Mike Post is director of retail sales at Trailblazer Foods.


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12.17.2014

Looking back at 2014 – and forward to 2015

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As 2014 winds down, here at Trailblazer Foods, we think it’s important to look back in order to move forward. This year marked our 30th anniversary and we celebrated by adding several new customers, developing a wide range of new products, completing the Safe Quality Food Level 2 re-certification process for the fourth time, launching […]

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As 2014 winds down, here at Trailblazer Foods, we think it’s important to look back in order to move forward. This year marked our 30th anniversary and we celebrated by adding several new customers, developing a wide range of new products, completing the Safe Quality Food Level 2 re-certification process for the fourth time, launching a new website and receiving awards for our community involvement and sustainability efforts.

In addition to reflecting on the milestones we've reached this past year, we also consider what was happening in the marketplace, so we can ensure we’re meeting the needs of our customers moving forward.  

A recent IRI study reveals that grocery shoppers are visiting fewer stores and choosing those they perceive as offering the best value. So naturally, retailers are increasingly looking to private-label manufacturers—like Trailblazer Foods—to provide their customers with the value they seek, without sacrificing quality. Another report by Packaged Facts suggests that one trend driving long-term growth in the private label segment is consumers’ desire to eat healthy on a budget. Other key trends that retailers are capitalizing on with their store brands include local sourcing, gluten-free products, and premium or gourmet products.

Looking ahead, I believe there is still considerable room for growth, both for Trailblazer Foods and the private-label market as a whole. For example, the private-label market in the U.S. is not yet fully mature, with saturation rates far below those seen in Europe. However, Packaged Facts projects that retail dollar sales of private label food and beverages will grow by a compound annual growth rate of 4 percent to reach $122 billion by 2018, so we have every reason to believe that we’ll see continued growth in the New Year and beyond.

As we look ahead to 2015, we’re also looking forward to helping retailers find new ways to deliver on their brands’ promises of quality, value and innovation. 

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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12.03.2014

Reviewing packaging trends from PACK EXPO

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Each year after PACK EXPO International, the largest packaging and processing trade show in North America, our staff at Trailblazer is attentive to the industry news that follows. As a private-label and co-pack manufacturer, we feel it’s important to stay on top of the latest packaging trends that impact our customers. The four-day show is […]

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Each year after PACK EXPO International, the largest packaging and processing trade show in North America, our staff at Trailblazer is attentive to the industry news that follows. As a private-label and co-pack manufacturer, we feel it’s important to stay on top of the latest packaging trends that impact our customers.

The four-day show is produced by PMMI, a trade association for companies that provide packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers. This year, PMMI released the findings of a recent industry study on secondary packaging, which revealed some interesting trends which were driven largely by changes in consumer lifestyles.   

It comes as no surprise, that due to consumer and retailer demand, many companies are looking to find ways to improve their sustainability ratings for secondary packaging, while also being cost-effective. One way to address this is through the use of recycled materials. Another approach to minimize waste is having the secondary packaging serve both a functional purpose (often to support lighter-weight primary packaging) and a visual one as well, directly on the shelf as a display. 

We’ve all seen the uptick in brands using social media and interestingly, many companies are placing more emphasis on food safety and traceability within packaging, not just for consumer health and safety concerns but also to protect brand reputation in an era of immediate and sometimes viral communication. With so many consumers going online or using their mobile devices to shop, packaging designs that stand out on the shelf (in stores) or on screen (for online and mobile shoppers) are integral.

We also learned that lifestyle plays a role in packaging trends:  lightweight and compact packaging as well as convenient grab-and-go portion sizes are important for the busy consumers in urban markets.

While the insights coming out of PACK EXPO may fall within the packaging category, the trends can help inform the practices we employ in all of our operations. 

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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11.21.2014

Baking Season Is Approaching

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While nothing beats the taste of a thick slice of crusty fresh bread with a big dollop of strawberry jam, I think we all have to admit that as the holidays approach our thoughts – and recipes – tend to turn toward desserts. And if you love jams and jellies like many of us here at […]

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While nothing beats the taste of a thick slice of crusty fresh bread with a big dollop of strawberry jam, I think we all have to admit that as the holidays approach our thoughts – and recipes – tend to turn toward desserts. And if you love jams and jellies like many of us here at Trailblazer Foods do, you'll be looking for ways to use your favorite spreads in your baked goods.

Americans are becoming more adventuresome, but the most popular jam and jelly flavors in U.S. households are still strawberry and grape. Clearly, there’s room to explore some new options.

At Trailblazer Foods, we are always thinking about the usage of our private label products beyond their traditional application. Our goal is to provide top-notch branded grocery product manufacturing, with quality jams and jellies for consumers year-round, ensuring the fresh taste of summer strawberries in a classic holiday Bundt cake.

If your fall baking leads you to discover a new favorite, keep it in mind for the holidays. Jams and preserves make excellent gifts for all your friends and family – either by themselves or paired with other treats in a gift basket.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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11.10.2014

Reinvent Your Thanksgiving Recipes with Fusion Flavors

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At Trailblazer Foods, we’ve observed a number of interesting trends relating to consumer purchases of jams, jellies, syrups, sauces and marinades. First is the growing demand for bold, innovative flavor combinations, especially with Asian and Hispanic influences. Fusions of sweet, spicy and savory flavors can add a creative twist to otherwise traditional recipes. Thanksgiving is […]

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At Trailblazer Foods, we’ve observed a number of interesting trends relating to consumer purchases of jams, jellies, syrups, sauces and marinades. First is the growing demand for bold, innovative flavor combinations, especially with Asian and Hispanic influences. Fusions of sweet, spicy and savory flavors can add a creative twist to otherwise traditional recipes.

Thanksgiving is all about tradition, but you don’t need to follow your grandmother’s recipes exactly. You can add a punch of flavor while still allowing the character of the main ingredients to shine through, and not breaking the bank. For example, if you’re brining, marinating or grilling something, try co-pack sauces like orange-mango barbecue glaze or ginger teriyaki sauce. Blackberry chipotle sauce is great for turkey dressing. Serve a vegetable side dish with coconut curry sauce, or baked sweet potatoes with a chipotle glaze.

If you’d rather add a hint of sweetness, think about ways to use jams and jellies in your savory dishes (another current trend). With an assortment of co-pack preserves and jellies to choose from, some examples include serving pork chops with a sauce of cherry preserves, or ham glazed with pineapple-apricot jam. Preserves are great for appetizers, too. Create a cheese plate with jam pairings, or spread cream cheese and jam on crackers. And don’t forget the drinks; fruit preserves make a good addition to a variety of cocktails – which can help get your gathering off to a good start. Finally, one of our Trailblazer favorites is for those leftover turkey sandwiches; try adding a liberal amount of pepper jelly for a bold twist on a holiday classic.

Mike Post is director of retail sales at Trailblazer Foods.


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10.06.2014

Four Considerations when Choosing a Supplier

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We’re all guilty of wanting a good bargain; we want the best product for the lowest price! Choosing a supplier in the manufacturing industry is no different. However, at Trailblazer Foods, pricing isn’t our first consideration. Here’s what’s important to us when choosing a supplier or vendor, including a supplier of produce and other ingredients, such […]

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We’re all guilty of wanting a good bargain; we want the best product for the lowest price! Choosing a supplier in the manufacturing industry is no different. However, at Trailblazer Foods, pricing isn’t our first consideration. Here’s what’s important to us when choosing a supplier or vendor, including a supplier of produce and other ingredients, such as sugars and flavoring:

Food safety qualifications
Food quality and packaging specifications
Specialty food components
Price

Once we’ve identified farmers or other vendors that meet the above criteria, we qualify each potential supplier further to ensure high-quality co-pack manufacturing and private label food products.

Food Safety: Little is more damaging to a product than its implication in foodborne illness. Food safety must be a top priority for any Trailblazer partner. These processors must provide certification of adherence to broadly recognized food safety standards, such as those advanced by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), an industry-driven initiative providing thought leadership and guidance on food safety management system controls necessary to assure the safety of the food supply chain. 

Food Quality, Packaging: At Trailblazer, food quality is the bread and butter of our business. We ensure we are working with farms and producers that meet our standards, have relevant certifications, and provide comprehensive traceability. Efficiency is also important so we look for processors that get their ingredients delivered in a form that will make manufacturing more efficient and result in an extremely fresh, flavorful end product.

Specialty Foods, Organic: Trailblazer recognizes that consumers, and therefore our customers, have varying food preferences, including preferences for certified organic, locally sourced or GMO-free items. For this reason, we contract with farms and processors willing and capable to meet specific demands.

Price: Price negotiations with suppliers are key to remaining competitive and keeping up with, or beating, the national brands’ and corporations’ prices without losing the quality and integrity of the product.

 

Jim Jackson is the director of purchasing for Trailblazer Foods.

 

 

 


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9.16.2014

What does FSMA have in store for us? (Part 2)

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By Tom Boyd To understand how the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will impact Trailblazer, one has to understand where we stand currently. (See Part 1) As discussed, Trailblazer is one of the private label manufacturers that voluntarily chose to comply with GFSI benchmark programs long before the FSMA was passed. So, what does this mean […]

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By Tom Boyd

To understand how the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will impact Trailblazer, one has to understand where we stand currently. (See Part 1)

As discussed, Trailblazer is one of the private label manufacturers that voluntarily chose to comply with GFSI benchmark programs long before the FSMA was passed. So, what does this mean in light of the upcoming FSMA implementation? How will private label manufacturers and their retail partners be affected?

The FSMA received a great deal of press when it was signed into law in 2011, as it represented a major shift in the focus of federal regulators from responding to food contamination to preventing it. In accordance with the legislation, the FDA has proposed a variety of new rules that are now nearing implementation. These rules range from requirements for preventive control measures at processing facilities to stringent verification of foreign suppliers.

First, all players will now be mandatorily held to higher food safety standards. However, companies that have proactively pursued benchmarking certification, like Trailblazer, will already meet the vast majority of these requirements, as the standards are similar in many respects. For example, like SQF, the FSMA will address the entire supply chain, so retailers can assure their customers that the food in their stores has been produced, processed and handled according to the highest possible safety standards at every step. And both systems also require that manufacturers be able to trace every component of a product back to its source. However, some of the FSMA standards are less demanding. For example, the FSMA will require verification only of foreign vendors, while SQF requires all vendors to complete a rigorous approval process.

The U.S. is recognized as having the safest food system in the world, and although the federal government certainly plays an important role in keeping shortsighted companies honest, the drivers behind this remarkable accomplishment have been—and will continue to be—our fellow industry players that are constantly striving to improve their practices in order to provide their customers with safe, quality products.

Tom Boyd is the Food Safety and Quality Assurance Manager at Trailblazer Foods.


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8.29.2014

What does FSMA have in store for us? (Part 1)

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By Tom Boyd Private label manufacturers and their partners have driven significant change at all levels of the food supply chain, implementing rigorous measures to ensure the safety and quality of the products they provide—whether these measures are required by federal regulations or not. While the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will close many […]

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By Tom Boyd

Private label manufacturers and their partners have driven significant change at all levels of the food supply chain, implementing rigorous measures to ensure the safety and quality of the products they provide—whether these measures are required by federal regulations or not.

While the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will close many gaps and require all industry players to follow improved food safety practices, it is nonetheless impressive what companies have been able to achieve on their own initiative.

First, let’s explore a little background on where we stand currently before we get into FSMA’s implications in Part 2.

The most recent major push for improved food safety systems began in early 2000, following several food scares, when a number of major retailers saw that declining customer confidence was affecting their bottom line. These retailers developed the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and began requiring that their suppliers comply with GFSI-certified audit schemes such as those provided by the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Institute.

Trailblazer is one of the private label manufacturers that voluntarily chose to comply with GFSI benchmark programs long before the FSMA was passed. We’re in our fourth year of SQF Level 2 certification and believe that proactive benchmarking speaks to our consistent commitment to maintaining an environment that ensures safe, high-quality products for our customers—the ultimate goal of every reputable player in the food industry.

For those still playing catch-up in the area of food safety, the FSMA will force a change of priorities. But, given the food industry’s history of proactively promoting improved safety processes, we expect companies will continue to lead the way in raising food safety standards and expectations in the future.

Tom Boyd is the Food Safety and Quality Assurance Manager at Trailblazer Foods.

Photo Credit: Shubert Ciencia, Flickr


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8.14.2014

R&D: The brain center for innovation

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By Rob Miller Research and development is one of the most exciting components in the private label industry. At Trailblazer, the R&D department is where the magic happens; where we brainstorm and develop new ideas and test new products– it is the epicenter of all our creativity and innovation. One main project managed by the […]

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By Rob Miller

Research and development is one of the most exciting components in the private label industry. At Trailblazer, the R&D department is where the magic happens; where we brainstorm and develop new ideas and test new products-- it is the epicenter of all our creativity and innovation.

One main project managed by the R&D staff is comprehensive national and international market testing. Just earlier this year, I had the privilege of joining one of our sales managers for market testing of our new products in Asia, calling on several of our customers to participate. A whirlwind tour, we traveled to Korea, Taiwan, Japan and China in just five days to discuss and share information about our new fruit spreads. I'm happy to report that as a result, customers will begin to see several new Walls Berry Farm Fruit Spreads at our retail partners across Asia.

Another major priority for R&D is developing new and unique flavors to meet customer demands.

After extensive observation and research, we’ve manufactured our first shipment of Organic Mango & Passion Fruit and our first order for Raspberry and Acai, here in the United States. These "superfruit" combinations were designed to be seasonal items and carried for only a short time by our retail partners. So, if you see them, be sure to pick one up, because they won’t be on shelves much longer. They're great products, using more fruit than a traditional preserve and sweetened only with cane sugar.

Enjoy the rest of summer and check back here, later. We may have more product news!

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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7.28.2014

Christmas in July: Coconut production begins for holiday baking season

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By Rob Miller Planned trips to the river, outdoor sporting events and warm weather means summer is in full swing. With the sun beaming down, fall and winter weather is something we, in the Pacific Northwest, try to ignore for as long as possible. However, here at Trailblazer Foods, July marks the beginning of a […]

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By Rob Miller

Planned trips to the river, outdoor sporting events and warm weather means summer is in full swing. With the sun beaming down, fall and winter weather is something we, in the Pacific Northwest, try to ignore for as long as possible. However, here at Trailblazer Foods, July marks the beginning of a very busy season as we ramp-up and prepare for the holidays.

One item in high demand during the holidays is shredded coconut. Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, but it’s also a delicious staple for the holiday cook. A versatile ingredient, coconut is used for a variety of recipes including cookies, brownies, pies, salads, granolas, trail-mixes, and savory-sweet meat dishes. Due to this heightened seasonal popularity, we produce about 50% of our annual coconut volume within a 10-week window. During this time we are regularly packaging up to 15 tons of sweetened or unsweetened flaked and shredded coconut… daily. Now that’s a lot of coconut!

So, while you’re out enjoying the summer sun, rest assured that come holiday baking season, we’ll have you covered on the coconut front.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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7.14.2014

Get creative with jams and jellies

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By Rob Miller The summer months and fall holidays conjure up some of the most imaginative kitchen creations of the year, especially for those of us in the food business. July and August is harvest season ― an inspirational time when we bring in fresh fruits and begin creating classic and innovative new products for […]

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By Rob Miller

The summer months and fall holidays conjure up some of the most imaginative kitchen creations of the year, especially for those of us in the food business. July and August is harvest season ― an inspirational time when we bring in fresh fruits and begin creating classic and innovative new products for our clients.

This year’s harvest got me thinking about all of the different ways I enjoy using jams and jellies, and my favorites can take you well beyond the traditional toast and jam or peanut butter and jelly combos that come to mind for many of us. And it’s not just me. Over the past few months, there’s been a rising trend and demand for food fusions ― mixtures of sweet, spicy and savory flavors ― and uses of jams and jellies beyond the breakfast table.

Consumers are beginning to experiment and incorporate different types of jams and jellies into their recipes, adding a bit of sweetness to grilling marinades, pie fillings, salad dressings, savory sandwiches or ice cream toppings. Jam and jelly flavor varieties open up a range of culinary possibilities, from an apricot-pineapple glazed BBQ pork loin to a raspberry jam vinaigrette.

In the spirit of summer– here’s one of my favorite jam recipes. Got a pen? This one is tricky. Take a block of traditional cream cheese, grab a jar of your favorite jam or jelly ― as a true Northwesterner, I prefer marionberry ― and cover the cheese with the jam. Grab a box of your favorite crackers, gather your friends and family, and enjoy as an early-evening appetizer or late-night snack.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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6.24.2014

Summer is here!

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By Rob Miller Summer – most people love summer! It means vacation, time with family and, here in the Northwest, it means great weather! At Trailblazer Foods it’s an important time, too. Summer is harvest season for all the fruits we use to manufacture our jellies, preserves and fruit spreads throughout the year. Our purchasing […]

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By Rob Miller

Summer – most people love summer! It means vacation, time with family and, here in the Northwest, it means great weather!

At Trailblazer Foods it's an important time, too. Summer is harvest season for all the fruits we use to manufacture our jellies, preserves and fruit spreads throughout the year. Our purchasing group springs into action, contracting and securing all of the strawberries, raspberries, apricots and other fruit we'll need for the next 12 months. That's right, we need to know at this time of year how much of each fruit we'll need for the next 12 months. It's difficult sometimes, but our team does a great job and we usually get it right.

Summer is also a busy time for Trailblazer because we manufacture a number of "fresh" products ― fruit preserves and spreads that use fruit fresh from the field that are never frozen. Right now, we're running a fresh strawberry product line and the aroma drifting into our offices from the manufacturing floor below is incredible.

Toward the end of summer, all of our employees and their families get together to celebrate the season at our company picnic ― which is not so much a “traditional company picnic” anymore. We all head over to Big Al’s to enjoy some food, games, bowling and give out some prizes. It's a time for us to say "thank you" to the people who come to work every day and make the delicious products you find at our retail partners.

Wherever summer leads you, I hope you have a great time!

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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6.11.2014

Using the last 30 years to propel forward

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by Rob Miller Thirty years ago, Trailblazer Foods used a steam jacketed kettle to produce our jams and jellies. Today, we still use that original steam jacketed kettle on occasion, but that’s about as vintage as our story gets. Maintaining the vision of founder Gary Walls, who picked berries as a child in the fertile […]

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by Rob Miller

Thirty years ago, Trailblazer Foods used a steam jacketed kettle to produce our jams and jellies. Today, we still use that original steam jacketed kettle on occasion, but that’s about as vintage as our story gets.

Maintaining the vision of founder Gary Walls, who picked berries as a child in the fertile fields of the Willamette Valley, we remain a family-owned business; but now operate out of multiple facilities, with superior machinery and over 120,000 sq. ft. of warehouse and manufacturing space.

Over the years, we have also earned a number of essential certifications as we adapt to our customers’ changing needs, including: organic food certification, kosher food certification and safe quality food certification. To us, quality control is paramount, and in the last 30 years, we have invested, not only in the certifications referenced above, but in people.

A six-person staff, composed of two food scientists, three technicians and a microbiologist, directs quality control at Trailblazer Foods. These people, and the rigorous practices they apply, ensure consistency for our customers and distinguish us in our field.

We also pride ourselves on continually providing a unique variety of products for our customers. For example, the acquisition of our shredded and flaked coconut business in 2009, and the addition of organic blue agave nectar to our product portfolio in 2013, expanded our private label business into additional center store grocery categories.

Ever since my family entered this business in 2000, each time we earn a new certification, invest in our people or broaden our product line to benefit our customers, I am reignited to charge forward and accomplish more. If the last thirty years is a representation of our company’s abilities, then I am thrilled at the anticipation of the next thirty.

Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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5.21.2014

Welcome! Check out our new website and blog

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By Rob Miller Welcome to the Trailblazer Foods company blog! We’re excited to share our latest company information on new and current products, thoughts on industry trends and general leadership notes about current events. As you may have noticed, our team has incorporated suggestions received from partners and customers like you to unveil a new […]

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By Rob Miller

Welcome to the Trailblazer Foods company blog! We’re excited to share our latest company information on new and current products, thoughts on industry trends and general leadership notes about current events.

As you may have noticed, our team has incorporated suggestions received from partners and customers like you to unveil a new website, which now features:

  • At-a-glance pricing and online shopping
  • Partnership information: logistics, sourcing, marketing and services
  • Virtual tours of our production facility and awards
  • Quality assurance guarantee information
  • Enhanced newsroom content

As our product library continues to grow, communication remains of upmost important to us. Our new website and blog is an extension of our continued presence in the private label and co-pack industries, and aims to enhance our customer communication on a digital level.

Take a look around the new site, and be sure to come back to the blog for new posts each month.



Rob Miller is president and CEO of Trailblazer Foods.


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