With so much out of an operator’s control, this reliable SKU is coming in clutch. 

The pandemic has wreaked havoc upon the foodservice industry, taking previous challenges and turning them up a notch. From the difficulty in finding employees, to the fallout from an unreliable supply chain rife with missing items and inflation, operators don’t have much that they can count lately. 

“One of the things that has been hardest for operators is that when a problem is solved, another problem pops up,” says Todd Michael, senior director of foodservice at Knouse Foods. “So for example, if they’re trying to keep up with menu optimization, it’s hard to then know which items will be available and which won’t be. Or they find that demand or client needs change once they have a menu established—so it’s not just the supply chain and labor, there are a lot of different things going on here.” 

One of the reasons Knouse Foods is proud to be the parent company of Musselman’s Apple Sauce is because the large, grower-owned cooperative made up of American farmers is capable of helping quick-service brands of all sizes menu a healthy, timeless product that both children and adults enjoy. And Michael reports that, despite the ongoing supply chain issues that have been plaguing the industry, Musselman’s Apple Sauce is still able to fulfill over 90 percent of its orders. 

So how is Knouse Foods able to keep up with demand for brands seeking to menu a product with a health halo? For one, Michael says, since Knouse Foods is a grower-owned co-op, it is unlike any other apple sauce processor in that its farmers have a deep heritage and family connection to the company that spans generations. Michael believes that translates into farmers being more committed to providing fruit, and that makes the end product that much better. So even during a down year, Michael reports that Knouse Foods has had a steady supply of apples to work with. 

Secondly, the brand has five different production facilities that are optimized to pack up Musselman’s Apple Sauce cups, plastic jars, #10 cans, pails and pouches year-round. Finally, the company has five storage facilities strategically located across the country that help distribute the product nationwide. 

“We are a rare company because we provide personal care with each apple we process for all of our customers, and we are also able to serve the biggest foodservice brands in the industry,” says Kevin Blacker, director of marketing at Knouse Foods. “We are one of the few, if not the only company, that can fulfill huge orders of apple sauce made from local, American-grown apples.” 

Musselman’s recently rolled out packaging that tells the story behind select growers who are part of the Knouse Foods cooperative. Michael says it was the next logical step for the brand to help restaurants and diners understand where the product comes from. He says it helps illustrate the work that has gone into ensuring that even in times like these, Musselman’s Apple Sauce is a product operators and consumers can count on. 

“This is just another way we continue to celebrate our growers,” Michael says. “It aligns with our philosophy of wanting our end users to understand there’s a story behind our apple sauce, and it’s one we take a lot of pride in. That’s the real backbone of that intimate relationship we have with our customers, and restaurants have with their customers.” 

For more on menuing Musselman’s Apple Sauce, visit the company’s website

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