When it comes to flour milling, Stafford County Flour Mills Co. is something of an artisan. According to President Reuel Foote, the Hudson, Kan.-based company has been perfecting the fine art of flour milling for more than a century. In an industry dominated by corporations, Stafford County Flour Mills takes great pride in being one of the last independent flour mills left in the United States. 

In the late 1980s, the partners of Sinner Bros. & Bresnahan (SB&B) sat down for a conversation that would forever change the course of the nearly 60-year-old company. As an agricultural producer of soybeans, wheat, corn and beef, Robert Sinner, part-owner and partner of SB&B, says the company’s revenues had begun to suffer along with other farmers across the Midwest due to the most severe drought the region had seen since the 1930s. 

Under its tagline “Crust You Can Trust™,” Rustic Crust excels in its niche of providing organic, all-natural pizza crust, sauces and frozen flatbread pizzas to consumers nationwide. The Pittsfield, N.H.-based company was established in 1996 by CEO Brad Sterl. It evolved from an upscale chain of pizza restaurants specialized in Old World European-style pizzas that Sterl had been a partner in. Disappointed in the quality of pizza ingredients available to his restaurant, he started producing his own pizza crusts and sauces, and quickly grew a following.

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.


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