Exclusive interview: Q&A with Ozery Bakery founder and co-owner Alon Ozery
Ozery Bakery, the brand known for its Morning Rounds, has recently launched its first single-serve product.
We recently were able to talk to Alon Ozery, founder and co-owner of Ozery Bakery, about the business and its recent innovations.
Liz Parker: When was Ozery Bakery founded, and how did you come up with the idea?
Alon Ozery: Ozery Bakery was born out of a class project while I was pursuing a degree in business at Ryerson. The class was asked to create and present an original business model. I noticed that there weren’t many options for Toronto residents to find a healthy sandwich that didn’t compromise taste, and came up with the idea for Pita Break, a sandwich shop that would serve sandwiches with high-quality ingredients on freshly-baked pita bread. I then mentioned this to my father, Al, who immediately jumped on the idea, and we went on to establish the first Pita Break, a successful business venture that laid the foundation for the Ozery Bakery you see today.
LP: Since then, how has the company grown?
AO: We originally thought the sandwich business would be our profession, but we quickly learned that the 17 varieties of our fresh pitas were the real attraction. We never thought we would change our business model, but because of the high demand for the pitas, we began selling our products to local specialty and health food stores. This new part of our business grew so quickly that in 2000, my family sold Pita Break to fully focus on baking products for grocery stores. Suddenly, what began as a passion from my youth became the focus of my career. We opened a full-scale wholesale bakery to focus operations on our true passion, bread. Since our pita-baking tradition was passed down through several generations of our family, it only felt natural to give the company our name, and Ozery Bakery was born. The family connection grew stronger in 2002, when my brother Guy joined the business. He oversees the operations and production of the company, and I am free to focus on expanding our product line. We were able to zero in on the products that most appealed to our consumer: healthy, all-natural flatbreads in a variety of flavors, shapes and sizes. With that in mind, we created one of our most innovative products, the Ozery Morning Round, which has been one of the best-selling items we offer. Today, we employ more than 200 bakers at our 80,000-square-foot facility in Toronto and distribute product to more than 3,000 grocery stores throughout Canada and the US.
LP: What are your best-selling products?
AO: OneBun: Large Multi-Grain, Morning Rounds: Cranberry Orange, and Snacking Rounds: Apple Cinnamon.
LP: Does the brand have just retail products, or does it have any foodservice distribution too?
AO: We provide food service case packs for our top OneBun and Morning Rounds skus as well as individually wrapped crackers and single serve breads for a wide variety of food service applications across all sectors
LP: Any new products in the works?
AO: The newest product, which launched this year, is the Muesli Morning Rounds Single Serve, which is our first single-serve product. We took our best-selling Morning Round and provided our customers with a quick grab-n-go package which works with their hectic, yet healthy, lifestyle. Since we are always looking to innovate the bread category, next year we will be launching a vegan brioche to the U.S. market. We will take the typical brioche indulgent ingredients including butter, eggs, and dairy and replace them with vegan-friendly ingredients. We aim to bring our customers an indulgent, yet healthy version of a favorite bread.