Two new fresh soups are on the menu for Fall River, Massachusetts-based Blount Family Kitchen. Rachael Blount Girard, senior brand manager for Blount Family brands [Blount Fine Foods], which is Blount Family Kitchen and the Clam Shack brand, said they are boil-in-bag and come in a paper cup.
“Our approach is really like deli fresh, like someone who just made it and poured it in,” Girard said.
The new flavors are Nana Jude’s Chicken Soup, with all-white meat chicken, carrots, celery and pasta. The other is Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese, which is a shell pasta mac and cheese that also is boil-in-bag. Both will be located in the deli sections of grocery stores.
In October, Blount Family Kitchens plans to launch two pot pies. The first is an individual, grab-and-go white meat chicken option with a top crust, to be prepared in microwave, air fryer or toaster. The other is a 30-ounce family-size option with double crust, top and bottom. They also will be in the deli section.
Girard also mentioned the new Uncle Teddy’s Chunky Beef Chili with Beans. As inflation has affected ingredient prices, the cost will be “a little pricier here.”
Blount Family Kitchen also offers comfort meals in seven flavors. “These are doing really well,” Girard said. “Same thing, grab and go, three minutes in the microwave.”
She said they are designed for the family on the go and try to offer flavors that appeal to everyone, even those on a plant-based diet. The top choices are beef stroganoff, chicken and broccoli and macaroni and beef.
Blount Family Brands has four manufacturing plants, with one at its headquarters in Massachusetts. The others are in Warren, Rhode Island, the company’s founding location and where the Clam Shack brand was born; McKinney, Texas; and Portland, Oregon.
“We did that for distribution to lower costs on trucking and logistics,” Girard said.
Blount Clam Shack is a line of seafood soups. The company formed two brands under Blount – Blount’s Family Kitchen, which includes anything that’s not seafood, and Blount Clam Shack, which covers seafood items.
Blount Clam Shack soups include lobster bisque, chowder, gumbo and shrimp and corn. They can be found in the refrigerated deli section or in the seafood department.
Girard said 30-ounce club size is being made for Costco, which will be selling the chowder, gumbo and a crab and corn made exclusively for the retail giant.
While prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 60-70 percent of Blount’s items were geared toward foodservice, now the company is mainly in grocery retailers.
“We’ve spent a lot of time, management has, switching plants and machinery and adding bowl lines, really having to retool every facility to be able to accommodate our orders,” Girard said. “But when you’re used to doing bags, now you’ve got labels and bowls and nutrition. It’s been a year of adjusting our ability to plan how are we going to be able to execute. I think we’re in a really good space going into the fall.”
While the meal line is pretty steady, Girard said the soups are more popular. She said the company sells the most – particularly the Clam Shack brand – to Publix, based in Florida.
“They were the first customer to take it,” she said. “During the pandemic, they were really looking for grab-and-go items.” She said the chowder and gumbo are the most popular Clam Shack brands at Publix.
The gumbo also is sold to meal kit company HelloFresh.
“HelloFresh came to us during the pandemic…they were like every other company, scrambling, saying they needed the marketplace items – not meal kits, just grab and go,” said Girard, adding that Blount has 14 items with HelloFresh.
The company also is getting into e-commerce with frozen products designed to use within seven days.
“We have 10 SKUs – lasagna, creamy chicken and wild rice, and now the e-comm world is getting bigger, right? Those opportunities are coming more, which is great.”
The foundation of Blount’s Family Kitchen line always has been comfort. “We try and go back to the heart of your mom cooking or your grandmother,” Girard said. “There’s a little bit of legacy because it’s family.”
The company waited until the IDDBA Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, to unveil its new products. “We’ve had a great reception…a lot of interested buyers from all over the country, which is super exciting.”
For more information, visit blountfinefoods.com.