Case study: Falling in love with bread again
Local Oven founder turns health challenge into an award-winning company with the help of Heat and Control's processing expertise and quality assurance technology.
In 2007, Linda Fitzerman discovered that she had gluten intolerance. She stopped consuming gluten-containing foods, and her health quickly improved. However, she missed and craved delicious breads and other foods she loved which she could no longer enjoy and was disappointed by the available gluten-free products. So, in 2010, she put on her apron, went to her kitchen, and began experimenting. She took a year and a half to perfect her recipes before starting Local Oven.
Local Oven makes gluten-free baked goods that have excellent texture and rich flavors and that tastes as good, if not better, than traditional bread products. They also offer other alternatives to traditional wheat-based products, including gluten-free pasta imported directly from Italy, and specialize in supplying products to the restaurant industry, industrial gluten-free manufacturers, and gluten-free wholesale distributors. A large part of their business is co-packing for other gluten free manufacturers.
In 2012, Local Oven grew into a 3,500 SF commercial facility then soon expanded into the adjacent space for a total of 8,000 SF. Demand continued to grow, so the company recently moved to a 30,000 SF location to facilitate the equipment required to make 70,000 lbs. of croutons monthly, as well as a range of appetizing breads and baked products.
Local Oven products are proudly featured at leading restaurants and hotels across the United States, including Hyatt, Fuddruckers, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Schlotzsky’s, and The Ritz-Carlton.
Local Oven attributes their success to products with great flavor, made under the highest quality standards, efficient and safe processes, and strong strategic partners, including Heat and Control.
Heat and Control
“Heat and Control’s equipment allowed us to grow into those quantities so that we could service the customer with the right price and great quality, and the quality is second to none because the equipment is second to none,” insists Fitzerman.
Local Oven uses the Spray Dynamic Seasoning System to reliably and consistently reproduce Fitzerman’s recipes. The coating drum was designed, engineered, and manufactured to their specific product requirements and is available in several sizes and configurations if additional lines are needed as the company grows. The shell-in-shell drum provides sanitary operation and simple cleaning, and the variable tilt frame assembly and product flight design exposes each piece of product to the application of liquid and/or dry coatings.
To ensure products are of the highest quality, all finished goods go through a CEIA THS metal detector to screen for metal contaminants that may have slipped into manufacturing process. With several levels of sensitivity, immunity to interference to meet strict quality control standards, and quick reject response, CEIA is the leading manufacturer of industrial metal detectors.
“Those metal detectors were an amazing peace of mind because we have great procedures in place, and we take them seriously,” confesses Fitzerman.
According to Fitzerman’s husband, Todd, who handles the operational side of the business, “If it were not for Heat and Control’s guidance, and compassion, and understanding of working with a company that was small in nature but had a great product to produce, we would have failed…If it were not for (Heat and Control’s) equipment, we would not have been able to accept the purchase orders for companies that entrusted us to produce their product. We would have failed; we would have failed miserably. We’re a small manufacturer; Heat and Control was willing to walk us through the entire process of how to manufacture croutons.”
After Heat and Control helped the Fitzermans determine the optimal equipment for their needs, installation went flawlessly. Todd recounts, “Heat and Control has never let us down. They have been with us every step of the way during our manufacturing journey and why we continue to go to Heat and Control as we grow and we need new pieces of equipment. If you’re a small business owner, you need to align yourself with good, solid, strategic partners and Heat and Control is where you need to spend your money (be)cause they won’t let you down.”
About Heat and Control
Established in 1950, Heat and Control is a privately-owned company with a global team that has built an extensive knowledge bank and developed a wealth of experience and expertise. Access to production and technical support from a network of engineers, food technicians, field service technicians, skilled tradespeople, and support teams provide food manufacturers with confidence to achieve production goals.
- Ten manufacturing facilities, 11 test centers, more than 30 offices globally
- Testing, design, engineering, manufacturing, installation commissioning, user training, spare parts, and provision of after sales service.