Dietz & Watson wants to introduce itself to the Chicagoland market by feeding people. Through Sept. 13, when a customer buys 1 pound of Dietz & Watson’s premium deli meats or cheeses at Jewel-Osco stores, the Philadelphia-based company will donate a half-pound to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. The company hopes to donate 20,000 pounds to the food bank.
“We believe in good food and good people,” says Ruth ‘Momma Dietz’ Eni, company chairman. “We’re not a faceless corporation writing a check and walking away. We’re a family company. We believe in deeper bonds. So we’re partnering with Jewel-Osco and Northern Illinois Food Bank to help.”
Jewel-Osco supermarkets are now carrying a selection of Dietz & Watson’s premium roast beef, turkey breast, chicken breast, Italian and other traditional deli meats in the deli case.
“I learned a lot from my father, but one thing always stood out,” says Momma Dietz. “He always said ‘If it’s not good enough for my family, it’s not good enough for anyone,’ so we have always run the business with that philosophy. The food has to be amazingly delicious and healthy.”
Along with the influx of European immigrants to America in the early part of the 20th century came founder Gottlieb Dietz, a German sausage craftsman. Little did he know, he was to build a Philadelphia icon; one that his daughter and the fourth generation of his family still runs today. What started as a small neighborhood company now manufactures more than 450 items in its Philly headquarters, employing more than 1,000.
The company was a pioneer in the category, introducing its healthy Gourmet Lite line in 1979. Today, these lower sodium, low-fat deli items are flagships, meeting the National Salt Reduction Initiative’s standards.
“If it didn’t taste great, we probably would never have made our Healthier Lifestyle line,” says Louis Eni, CEO and grandson of the founder. “When my grandfather talked about quality, the key was in the ingredients, so to this day none of our products use fillers, MSG or artificial flavors, and the meats are hand trimmed, hand prepared and hand seasoned.”
In addition, the company continues to develop new, bold flavors for the deli—items like Santa Fe Turkey Breast, Buffalo Chicken Breast and Bacon Lovers’ Turkey Breast wrapped with strips of real bacon. Its latest item is a Chicken Parmigiana deli meat. Dietz & Watson also remains one of the best-selling hot dog brands on the East Coast, preparing traditional skinless franks, New York Style natural casing franks and dozens of others.
The company’s delicacies are sold in all 50 states—in delis, restaurants and supermarkets.