When Bryce Ruiz sits down to a family dinner, he only serves not just the best-tasting, but also the highest-quality Mexican meals and appetizers. What else would you expect from the head of one of the nation’s largest producers of frozen Mexican foods?
For more than four decades, Ruiz’ family and his employees who work at the Dinuba, Calif.-based facility have been providing Americans with the same quality of burritos, taquitos, quesadillas and more that have been family favorites for generations.
“The team members would not create or manufacture a product that they themselves would not eat at home,” says Ruiz, the president and co-CEO of Ruiz Foods. “Believe me, you’ll always find a wide variety of our products in our home freezer at any given time whether it’s for snacks, dinners or entertaining.”
Ruiz Foods has been heating up the frozen section with burritos, enchiladas and tamales since 1964. And if that’s not hot enough, the frozen Mexican food producer recently expanded its El Monterey brand retail offerings to include family meals, Tornados and two-pack burritos.
In February, for instance, the company launched Tornados by El Monterey, which are soft, flour tortillas rolled in a seasoned batter and stuffed with meats and real cheeses. These Mexican hot snacks contain 0 g. of trans fat, like all of Ruiz Foods’ products, and are available in Ranchero Beef & Cheese, Grilled Chicken & Cheddar, Chicken Club & Cheese, Southwest Chicken, Cheesy Pepper Jack and Cheesy Pepperoni varieties.
“We produce all the corn and flour tortillas used for each of our products,” Ruiz says. “[And] our El Monterey products are quick and easy to prepare for one or more persons, giving families the opportunity to spend little time in the kitchen and more time at the dinner table.”
Another recent addition, influenced by customer feedback and research, is El Monterey two-pack Burritos. Packaged in convenient, microwave-safe film, the two-pack is designed to be an on-the-go snack for one- to two-person households. This meal comes in Beef & Bean, Bean & Cheese, Chicken, Rice & Beans, Beef, Bean & Red Chili, Beef & Bean Chimichangas and Spicy Jalapeño Bean & Cheese options.
“Our research shows that while the economic downturn is moving the consumer to consider products that offer real value, they are not willing to sacrifice their desire for quality, great taste and convenience,” Ruiz explains.
Ruiz also credits his company’s family-style products for spicing up the freezer cases of larger-sized households.
For instance, El Monterey Beef, Chicken and Breakfast Taquitos can be paired with dips and salsa and are a suitable hand-held snack, he says. And the El Monterey Family Pack Burritos can be served as a meal with a side of salad or fruit.
But he stresses that it’s the El Monterey Family Meals that continue to sizzle.
Available in five varieties, Ruiz says the family meals are restaurant quality and are made of meats, cheeses, Mexican spices and freshly baked tortillas.
“Each El Monterey Family Meal feeds a family of four for under $10,” he notes. “Talk about value.”
Despite the flurry of new products, Ruiz says one of the greatest challenges for his products is getting recognized in the marketplace as more than just another frozen Mexican snack.
“Consumers don’t see the value that our products bring, and therefore, make the assumption that all frozen Mexican food products are the same,” he adds.
But in Ruiz Foods’ case, he says, it doesn’t just bring the conventional, run-of-the-mill products to the dinner table. Instead, it brings premium Mexican frozen items that are not only tasty, but also are affordable.
“The recession brings our El Monterey brand products to the natural forefront,” he notes. “The fact that our El Monterey brand products offer the consumer quality, convenience and flavor at a great price point [that] brings to their table the value they are looking for as they work hard to stretch their dollars.”
Now Ruiz just needs to invite consumers over for a nice family dinner.