KANSAS CITY — Victor Litinetsky’s journey began more than 25 years ago when he developed “true” freezer-to-oven (FTO) pastries with European experts in Paris and has refined the process over the years. Today, his company, Banneton Bakery, operates a 90,000-square-foot facility with four makeup lines, and it’s looking to expand again this year.

Driving sales is the convenience of the premium Old World treats.

“We can produce upscale croissants, Danish and other laminated products that are proofed and frozen solid before they’re put directly into the oven at 350˚F for 20 minutes,” said the founder and president of the Swedesboro, NJ, business, which is featured in the March issue of Baking & Snack.

“Those are the products that made this company grow from zero dollars just over 12 years ago to more than $100 million in annual revenues today,” he added.

The pre-proofed and pre-egg washed FTO pastries come in 12 varieties and 80 SKUs, and the company is looking to add FTO artisan bread to its portfolio this year. Pursuing the American dream hasn’t been easy. When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit, the company lost 50% of its business in one day.

“But then a miracle happened,” he recalled. “We were able to replace most of that revenue within a month with retail, in-store bakery business.”

That transition, along with the most recent rebound in the foodservice industry, has allowed the company to move forward with its aggressive expansion plans. Banneton Bakery just purchased 7.5 acres of adjacent land that will allow the operation to eventually double in size over the next few years.