There’s no secret to the success behind Royal Sausage Co. in Pell City, Ala. As CEO Curtis Capps says, it comes down to the old adage that the customer knows best. “Basically, we’ve been able to give good customer service and being able to adjust to the needs of the different requests from our customers,” Capps says. “A lot of larger companies wouldn’t do that.”

Self-proclaimed “avid snackers” Keith Belling and Pat Turpin grew tired of keeping their greasy delights out of eyesight of the health conscious types at the delis they frequented for lunch. And while the alternatives were better for them, Belling and Turpin’s lofty expectations for taste were far from satisfied. “We were hiding our chips because they were downright embarrassing to be seen with,” Turpin says. “As unhealthy as those were, baked chips had about as much flavor as the bag they were in.”

For decades, certain categories of mushrooms have had to fight off the stigma of being an exotic addition to luxurious entrees at high-end restaurants. With consumers committing to healthy food choices across a variety of segments, Ostrom Mushroom and the rest of the mushroom industry is hoping to make high-end mushrooms a staple with as much everyday appeal as the potato. 

For many consumers, the deciding factor in whether or not to eat a food again is its flavor. If the food has a flavor that meets with the approval of one’s taste buds, they will likely return to it again. And that approval is the focus of the business at Mother Murphy’s Laboratories. Based in Greensboro, N.C., the company has more than 5,000 flavor formulations that it provides to multiple industries, part owner David Murphy says.

When a brand finds a new place on a pizza to add cheese or when a chain starts using non-traditional toppings on its pies, those businesses are often heralded as innovators. But do those forms of innovation really help the businesses’ bottom lines? MaMa Rosa’s Pizza LLC creates new products that are truly ground-breaking in the industry, and these innovations have been so successful that the company has become the top-selling branded, refrigerated pizza in the United States.

Heritage Frozen Foods Ltd. – maker of CHEEMO® pierogies – has earned a leading position among pierogie producers thanks to its commitment to innovation, efficiency and customer satisfaction, says Taylor Johnson, director of national sales. According to AC Nielsen data, he notes, Heritage Frozen Foods produces four of the top-10 dinner/entrée items within the western Canada grocery category.

Shawna McAusland’s father Sanford White had an entrepreneurial instinct from early childhood, starting his first business at age 7. “He was one of those larger-than-life characters,” she says. “The police put him out of business the first time because he was making slingshots for the entire neighborhood.”

For President John W. Griffin, family owned Griffin Foods Co. is more than just a business. Instead, “Our purpose for our company is ‘Sharing the Great Tastes of Life,’” he declares. Based in Muskogee, Okla., the 103-year-old company manufactures high-end syrups, mustards, jellies, salsas and sauces. Griffin’s grandfather, J.T. Griffin, founded the company in 1908 when he came to Oklahoma from Mississippi to start his own business.

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