Rustic Crust adds new Italian hand-held snack to American flatbread

CEO and president of Rustic Crust, Brad Sterl. Pic: Rustic Crust
CEO and president of Rustic Crust, Brad Sterl. Pic: Rustic Crust

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American Flatbread has added a new snack line to bring a traditional Italian street food to America.

Its parent company, Rustic Crust, believes digital and social media are core parts of how it targets consumers with the new products.

Rustic Crust currently produces American Flatbread frozen pizzas, according to the company’s website. The new Frusta line will retail between $6.99 to $8.99 for a two-pack.

In addition, American Flatbread also launched a new meat-topped pizza in 2016, and is working on a new sausage pizza and chicken offering for late 2017.

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Photo: American Flatbread

“[Rustic Crust] evolved from a restaurant chain that I was a partner in,”​ the company’s CEO and president, Brad Sterl, said.

“We were making products for our restaurants and then I decided to develop the packaging for Rustic Crust that would allow me to make our products shelf stable, without chemicals or artificial preservatives. We started selling to natural food stores in New England, then to Whole Foods and moved on to larger grocery stores.”

Targeting business growth

Sterl told BakeryandSnacks his team has a plant that uses about 80,000 square feet for manufacturing both Rustic Crust and American Flatbread’s products.

“We have been fortunate enough to have an average of 30% year-over-year growth. We have grown our staff from 10 in 2005 to over 160 now in 2017,”​ he said.

Though testing which recipe best fits their consumers’ palates is challenging, Sterl added that all of their items fit the clean label movement.

“People want to know what the ingredients are and they don’t want the chemicals and artificial preservatives.”

Upon the new product launch, American Flatbread is expected to expand rapidly in the retail space with a growth rate of 30% to 40%, as it believes it's currently underserved at grocery retail. 

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