Ayer, Massachusetts-based Catania Oils spotlighted its new palm-based shortening products at the recent 2023 IDDBA Show in Anaheim, California. Anne Whitney, marketing generalist for the company, talked with The Griffin Report of the Northeast about the company and its products.
“We actually had a customer of ours supply cookies that were made with our shortening,” she said. “And we were also showcasing our portion control – very popular with deli customers.”
The portion control packets – oil and red wine and balsamic vinegar packets – are mostly used for takeout, Whitney said. “It’s easier to slip a couple of portion control packets in with an order than it is to pour out the product into a cup, and hope that the lid stays on and that the cup stays upright.”
Whitney said Catania Oils made progress on its goal of making contacts with some chain bakeries at the show, including retail grocers.
The company is expanding its plant, adding 23,000 square feet to its manufacturing footprint. She said e-commerce also has been added, “and we’re looking at new ways of growing and planning that growth.”
Catania Oils is “very grateful” to have a robust supply chain, which allows the company to fulfill orders on time and meet customer demand. While it’s not as challenging as in 2021, Whitney said some issues remain, including how inflation is affecting demand.
“We’re seeing a lot of people tightening their belts, maybe not eating out as much. And definitely being more careful about what they’re purchasing at retail.”
She said Catania Oils really “shines” in the private label area, as it puts the same level of care and quality into those products. “It’s really a great value for both our purchasers and their customers.”
Among the trends noted at the IDDBA Show, Whitney said there was a good deal of interest in sustainable packaging and “free-of” products, such as those without allergens and GMO.
As far as sustainable packaging, she said the company is “moving in that direction.” It is emphasizing products such as bag-in-a-box, which uses 66 percent less plastic than comparable volumes of oil.
Catania Oils has been sourcing and offering non-GMO products for years. As sesame oil was just added this year as a top 10 allergen, Whitney said the company is being careful to avoid any cross contamination in its toasted sesame oil. She noted that the sesame oil it offers has been refined to remove the allergenic proteins.