Private label pretzel maker adds industry vets and factory space

By Kristine Sherred

- Last updated on GMT

In addition to these shakeups, Pretzels Inc. hired a new CEO in April and announced the expansion in May. Pic: Getty Images/
In addition to these shakeups, Pretzels Inc. hired a new CEO in April and announced the expansion in May. Pic: Getty Images/

Related tags Snack Snack foods Private label Private label products Manufacturing expansion Ceo Executive officer Snacks Conagra foods

Pretzels Inc. has hired two R&D leads and one board member with plenty of pretzel experience as it continues a 120k-square-foot expansion of its manufacturing facility in Plymouth, Indiana.

Founded in 1978, Pretzels Inc. said demand for its pretzels, extruded and filled snacks continues to rise. The additional space will allow for more contemporary production and technical capabilities.

The company has latched onto longtime food industry professionals with years of experience at leading pretzel manufacturers.

“Our best-in-class team and facilities exemplify the company’s commitment to developing exciting products that will help our customers delight their consumers,”​ said Greg Pearson, who was named CEO in April.

TreeHouse Foods’ former general manager, Tim Jax, joins as the VP of marketing and innovation. Previous to joining that private label manufacturer, which recently sold its snacks division​, he worked for Conagra Foods – eventually managing Shultz and private brand pretzels.

As director of R&D, Pretzels Inc. has hired Carey Hoffman, most recently of New Orleans-based Reily Foods – the owner of New England Coffee, Blue Plate Mayonnaise and Swans Down Cake Flour, among others. She also spent a dozen years as a research scientist at Hershey.

Finally, Rob Troni will bring 25 years of industry knowledge – and a better-for-you focus – to the fore as the company’s newest board member. He also currently serves on the board of Bubbie’s Ice Cream & Desserts, which makes cookie dough bites and mochi in Hawaii.

From 2013 to 2017, Troni led the marketing and innovation team at Snyder’s-Lance, during years of immense transformation to focus on better-for-you snacks and iconic brands. Since 2017, he spent a year-and-a-half at Sky Valley Foods, an organic condiment producer, and seven months as the interim CEO of Imperial Frozen Foods, a frozen fruit and vegetable supplier.

Added Pearson“Pretzels has a long and rich history of product and technical innovation,” ​said Pearson. “New product innovation starts by investing in great people, and we are very excited to have Tim, Carey, and Rod on the Pretzels team.”

More space, more snacks, more changes

The factory expansion, announced in May, is slated to be ready for operations by the second quarter of 2020. In addition to increasing efficiency, the extra space will ‘enhance employee amenities and be a catalyst for new jobs in the Plymouth community,’ according to the company.

This expansion exemplifies Pretzels' commitment to exceed our customers' expectations by significantly enhancing our capabilities and capacity,”​ said Pearson. “Pretzels' management and employees are executing on several strategic growth initiatives, including this expansion, which will enable us to support our customers' commercial success for years to come.”

Before joining the company, Pearson worked for the e-commerce pet supply store, Conagra/TreeHouse in the pasta business unit, and – for more than a decade – General Mills.

“His demonstrated track record of driving significant value creation across both sales and operations is a great fit for Pretzels, and we look forward to leveraging his expertise as we execute on numerous growth initiatives,” ​said board member Robert Strauss earlier this year.

Based in northeastern Indiana, Pretzels Inc. produces the malty snack in a variety of shapes and sizes: classic twists, sticks and rods, plus rings, waffles and nuggets. It also makes seasonal versions, such as stars, hearts and bells. Flavored versions run the gamut from honey mustard to honey wheat and spicy buffalo to butter ‘spinzels.’

The manufacturer also claims to make the only non-GMO peanut butter-filled pretzel nuggets.

In addition to its namesake snack, it also offers extruded, cheesy snacks made from corn.

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