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Success stories

St. Charles Trading has been fortunate to offer custom food ingredient sourcing and manufacturing solutions to customers from different market categories. Here are just a few examples of recent success stories

Amazon/Grocery

Regional Grocery Store Launches 12 Private Label Spice Blends

Our relationship with a regional grocer started a few years ago when we helped the meat division add value with ingredients. Our service to them includes providing all necessary documents to prepare for SQF audits in the first quarter or half of the year. In-person service was essential to them and their relationships.

Within the last year, we helped them open a large fresh commissary with ingredients for meal kits. Our capabilities and multitudes of different ingredients enabled us to build truckloads of products for them, including seasonal products.

Bringing our co-manufacturing capabilities to the grocery chain opened a private label business opportunity for their company to grow their high-volume retail seasoning blend business in time for grilling season. We assisted them with label matching to bring twelve new private-label products to market, and the approval process was quick due to the success of our R&D food scientists.

The project was completed in four months and is now in production. To provide exceptional service, we purchased new equipment to improve the efficiency of our line and meet their needs. Our marketing team also consulted with the grocery store’s agency to work on labeling for the new products. We adjusted our freight brackets and freight systems to help save transportation costs for the regional grocer.

St. Charles Trading provided custom solutions for:

  • Sourcing ingredients
  • Label matching
  • Recipe formulation
  • Production
  • Packaging
  • Distribution

From Idea to Store Shelves, Gluten-Free Pasta Blend Gets Co-Manufacturing Partner

In 2022, we met a chef at a trade show and discussed their goals. They wanted to create a gluten-free, quick-cook pasta blend and were looking for quick-cook beans as an ingredient.

When the chef and his team visited us, they were impressed by our facility and the cleanliness and orderliness of our production area.

In 2023, the chef was trying to launch the product but hadn’t been to market. The chef was new to food manufacturing and had to start from scratch with ideas and recipes.

St. Charles Trading provides personalized, innovative solutions.

  • R&D
  • QA
  • Formulation
  • Sourcing
  • Purchasing
  • Blending Team
  • Operations
  • Packaging
  • Trucking
  • Warehousing

Four products have gone to market, all with St. Charles Trading, from idea to manufacturing to store shelves. With us handling the warehousing, we add efficiencies to reduce freight moves. We are looking forward to continuing to grow with the brand.

Baking Mixes

Pancake Mix Manufacturer Improves Production Process

In America, 29% of people eat pancakes once every couple of weeks, while 12% eat them more than twice a week. 

Our customer had a problematic multi-step process for producing his pancake mix. He had previously purchased a pancake mix, added his custom flavors, and then sent it to another processor to put in retail pouches, which could have been more efficient and affordable.

We helped him consolidate all those steps in our facility and controlled the process. We also improved his process with top-of-the-line blending service, high-quality ingredients, and custom packaging.

Nutrition Bar Manufacturer Gets Critical Ingredient

The global whey protein market continues growing, driven by increasing health consciousness and demand for protein-rich supplements. The market is expected to reach a value of over $15 billion by 2024. 

Our customer couldn’t promptly get whey protein concentrate from their supplier, which slowed their production as it was used as a high protein source. 

To resolve their issue, we assisted in sourcing the ingredients, getting the product approved, producing samples with the help of our expert team, and coordinating the shipment/delivery of their product!

The end result? A high protein source nutrition bar and a happy customer!

Spicing Up Success: Bakery’s Jalapeño Cornbread Blend Finds Perfect Partner

Jalapeño cornbread is a popular item in both home cooking and restaurants, particularly in regions known for Southern and Tex-Mex cuisine. Its sweet, savory, and spicy flavors appeal to various palates.

One of our bakery customers made cakes in their plants and wanted to run a jalapeño cornbread blend, but there was too much odor. To resolve the issue, the bakery came to us to run the blend instead of their original plant as they expanded their product line. We were happy to help them and cultivate a great business relationship. It was a delicious success!

Beverage

Beverage Manufacturer Saves Time with Our Blending and Ingredient Sourcing

A beverage start-up manufacturer was making drink stick packets and had to source ingredients from multiple suppliers, proving challenging. Our customer was strapped for time and needed our custom solutions.

We were referred to this contact by another customer in the beverage industry. 

We efficiently sourced and consolidated their raw materials by blending them, effectively streamlining their production process. 

All our beverage manufacturer needs to do is add his components and pack them off! This streamlined process saved them time and increased their productivity, a feature that intrigued them.

Our blending and ingredient-sourcing services significantly relieved our drink mix manufacturer and streamlined their production process, leading to substantial cost savings. Our customers were so satisfied with the results that they became loyal advocates of our services, a testament to our confidence and reassurance.

Beverage Manufacturer Develops Delicious Alcohol Alternatives

 

According to Fox Business, over 41% of Americans will look to drink less in 2024. Our customer wanted to develop a mineral blend beverage as a tasty alcohol alternative. We helped them develop a drink mix from scratch, create a nutritional and ingredient deck, and source all the ingredients, including hard-to-source specialty ingredients. St. Charles Trading provided R&D, sourcing, co-manufacturing, and packaging services. The product is in retail testing now.

Beverage Manufacturer Makes Healthy and Flavorful Drink Mix

 

The market for alternative sugar drink mixes is rapidly growing, driven by increasing consumer awareness of health issues related to high sugar consumption and a rising preference for low-calorie and natural sweeteners. The market is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of around 6-8% over the next few years.

Our customer was trying to decrease sugars in an alternative sugar drink mix. They were looking overseas for ingredients that were hard to get domestically. We stocked those hard-to-find ingredients in our warehouse. We also helped them develop private-label versions of drink mixes on the shelf.

 

Our food scientists helped them achieve the same taste and reduce the number of ingredients on the ingredient deck. St. Charles Trading’s R&D, Sourcing, Co-Manufacturing, and Packaging teams helped provide a full-service experience for our customers.

Blender

Blender Benefits from One-Stop-Shopping

Our small blending customer makes savory spice and dried vegetable blends. Their challenge was sourcing different spices from many suppliers and paying above market for some items.

We brought all the ingredients, including chopped irradiated onions and minced irradiated garlic, on one PO, saving them time and money and creating a stable sourcing option.

 Stable sourcing options are essential for maintaining quality, managing costs, ensuring supply chain reliability, complying with regulations, mitigating risks, promoting sustainability, fostering innovation, and staying competitive in the market.

Dips, Sauces & Soups

Plant Trial Success: Overcoming Challenges

Our hummus manufacturer ran their hummus through a 200-degree delivery system, which required it to go across the plant to be packaged.

Our contact worried the product would get stuck in the delivery system, and the time it took to set up the plant trial was a key indicator that problems might occur in the line.

Through our collaborative efforts, we successfully reformulated the product’s pH and starch levels, enabling the right flow within the delivery system. A delicious success we all share!

Soup Blend Manufacturer Gets Blend from Scratch

Our charitable organization customer wanted to make a bouillon soup blend to serve people who needed it most in meal kits and needed help with the formula. They just had an ingredient label. Our R&D team figured out what ratios to use in the formula from scratch, which was successful.

Sometimes, all our customers have is an ingredient label. When matching the recipe, our team doesn’t receive the exact percentage of each ingredient. St. Charles Trading devised a formula based solely on the ingredient label.

 

Our R&D team does the heavy lifting, and they will figure out the formulation to work with for your business’s end application.

Meat

Bad news to good news for meat manufacturer

They had won the business of a name brand everyone knows for a prepared meal. Things were going well, and they had worked with us to develop a formulation (recipe) from scratch for a spice blend, which went through testing and approval.

Bad news: The big brand went to a different co-manufacturer. That new vendor then dropped the ball, so the brand returned with an urgent request a few months later. Our customer was challenged to start producing the prepared meal immediately for their clients. The opportunity was too big for our customer to pass up.

When we received the phone call, we produced their custom blend within 24 hours, including sampling, approval, and production.

A significant challenge was that we didn’t have all the raw materials needed to produce the order. We tweaked the formula to accommodate a different ingredient and meet the nutritional requirements, and one of our staff drove to Chicago to personally pick up the ingredients we needed.

Our logistics team expedited our customers’ shipment of 5,000 pounds of spice blend to them as a next-day delivery so they could start production for this massive meat manufacturer.

A week later, the same challenge emerged, and we turned it around again in 24 hours, this time with about 10,000 pounds of spice blend. Our customer was super appreciative. Our whole team worked together nimbly to produce something so quickly that another co-manufacturer would take months.

Big Meat Manufacturer Gets a Win-Win

A lot of food manufacturers don’t have a lot of storage for raw ingredients. Space is always a big issue for our customers; to help with that, we offer warehousing. As a result, our customers don’t worry about the cash flow holding onto ingredients, so it is a big win. They can save their warehouse space to store finished goods and build up their pallets of just what they need for the month instead of bringing all the ingredients.

Our partnership with the big meat manufacturer is a testament to the success of our warehousing services. They were in a situation where they couldn’t accommodate all the apples they had contracted for a seasonal dish at Walmart. We stepped in and agreed to warehouse them until they were needed in the fall. This mutually beneficial arrangement was a win for both parties, inspiring us to continue fostering such successful partnerships.  

Meat Manufacturer Gets a Complex Blend Match with 27 Ingredients

A meat manufacturer needed help matching a blend of 27 ingredients for a lemon pepper chicken seasoning, which was quite a tall order due to the number of ingredients! Our purchasing team sourced the 27 ingredients, and then R&D did sensory panels for quality assurance. Our R&D and Blending Team did a good job recreating the blend, which was accepted and put into production.

We can create simple blends, like cinnamon and sugar, and more complicated blends with multiple products that will satisfy the customer’s needs and work well in the end application.

Pet Food

Gluten-Free Pet Food Company Saves Time and Steps in Production with our Blending and Sourcing Service

A new pet food company was sourcing ingredients from multiple businesses and had a complicated production process. We met with them and shared our custom blending capabilities, specifically pre-blends. They were excited that we were gluten-free certified, as they had gluten-free products. Our ability to offer them consolidated purchasing was critical in choosing us.

It piqued their interest because St. Charles Trading offers the opportunity to:

  • Consolidate and manage some of their ingredient buying.
  • Simplify their production process.

We helped the pet food company with three blend production processes for their products. They can effortlessly incorporate the blend into their batch, eliminating the need for meticulous measurements. 

Our blending and ingredient-sourcing services significantly relieved the pet food manufacturer, streamlining their production process and ultimately saving them money.

Pet Food Ingredients Buyer Gets Out of Sticky Situation

“I love you so much right now!! Lol”- Client

When the ingredient buyer for a pet food manufacturer faced a forecasting challenge, we didn’t wait for the problem to escalate. Instead, we proactively anticipated our customers’ needs and kept products stocked, thereby reducing lead times and ensuring smooth production.

 We had a 20-day business lead time with the supplier. Our pet food manufacturer used 60,000 pounds of molasses, and we had to buy a minimum of 20,000 pounds from the supplier. To provide exceptional service, we would keep the molasses for them on the floor. When they needed a pallet or two, it was available for them to purchase. When we saw our stock get low, we’d buy more. We had a buffer of additional stock to keep ahead of lead times with the supplier and save trouble for our buyer when she did not forecast correctly.

REstaurant

Nationwide Restaurant Launches New Product in Store

Our customers are very passionate about health and creating a better world. Quality is always monumental with them, which made us confident because we deliver quality ingredients, blends, and service.

When our nationwide restaurant customer’s chef pivoted from a sauce to a garlicky dry rub with a new dish, they had a tight deadline to launch this product. We nimbly helped them. They asked us, “Hey, can you guys make this sauce into a rub?” We answered that we could, and within a month, we sent 150 pounds of the rub to two locations so they could run their trials with great success. Our first order sent was 4,000 pounds. Now, the dish is in restaurants nationwide with our formulation and ingredients.

Sweets & Snacks

Dessert Style Popcorn Stays Popping

In 2022-2023, Corn Syrup Solids were highly sought after and hard to obtain. The small popcorn manufacturer required a precise dextrose equivalent with stringent application specifications.

Corn Syrup Solids pose a unique challenge during warmer months. When the small business thought they had run out of sourcing options, we managed to help. We provided a specialized product that met their exact needs, ensuring the continued operation of their small business ever since.

The dessert popcorn market is experiencing significant growth, driven by increasing consumer interest in unique and indulgent snack options. The global popcorn market, including dessert varieties, is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of around 6-7% from 2021 to 2026.