Tortillas and flatbreads have seen strong growth thanks to increases in at-home cooking and demand for healthier products, but there is still plenty of strain on the industry as well. Cost increases, supply chain issues and labor shortages remain problematic for manufacturers like Brooklyn, NY-based Aladdin Bakeries.
“Trucking was once a small percentage of each transaction. Now, it is often difficult to find carriers, and if we do, the costs have often increased more than we’ve been able to consider in our pricing,” said Theresa Watkinson, Aladdin Bakers’ chief operating officer. “We always have aimed at offering pricing stability, but this is not possible anymore. It is frustrating for us and our customers. Fortunately, we aren’t in this situation alone, so our customers have been understanding.”
Ridgefield, NJ-based Toufayan Bakeries has faced similar challenges.
“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get other supplies such as bags and boxes, and a lot of that is due to not having the manpower in your factories,” explained Karen Toufayan, vice president of marketing and sales, Toufayan Bakeries. “The cost of making a package of bread has also really skyrocketed, so we’re dealing with a lot of issues when it comes to pricing and increase of costs.”
Both bakeries have managed to grow despite these challenges, emphasizing the importance of staying on top of operations and maintaining industry relationships in case the going gets tough.
“We are certainly experiencing supply chain issues like every other food producer, but we have great relationships with our vendor-partners and have so far managed to grow our business and maintain 100% fill rates to our customers,” Ms. Watkinson said. “It is challenging, but we have a great team, and we have been able to avoid many of the pitfalls of our competitors. Being located in Brooklyn has benefits, such as a good labor supply and proximity to many major suppliers in our region.”
Toufayan Bakeries’ strong relationship with bag and box suppliers has helped it through recent supply shortages.
“We’re a pretty big customer for a lot of those folks, and we always pay our bills on time, so we find ourselves to be a lot of times at the front of the line when it comes to getting bags and boxes,” Ms. Toufayan said. “And quite frankly, we just try to source out as many box and bag people as there are out there.”
This article is an excerpt from the March 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Tortillas & Flatbreads, click here.