The Technical Aspects of the Cereal World

While we most commonly associate the word “cereal” with the breakfast food often enjoyed with milk, the term has a much broader definition that includes the grains used to manufacture pasta – and the aspects of that cereal world are more technical than you would initially think.

To manufacture a high-quality pasta, it is important to start with a clear understanding of the fundamentals – this includes the product’s intended application, the proper manufacturing pattern and technology, and the sourcing and determination of the ideal raw material it will be made from.

Industrial pasta manufacturing is a complex and versatile world requiring intricate knowledge of the physico-chemical properties and functionality of the required ingredients, the science and technology associated with the processing equipment and their impact on particular ingredients and/or blend of ingredients, and finally, the formulae and/or shape of interest.  Constant changes and adaptation are the key to an effective and efficient industrial pasta manufacturing process. In the end, success is achieved by having the proper art, science, technology, and materials in the right sequence to generate a high-quality pasta for the desired application – all resulting in an enjoyable eating experience.

From the sourcing of raw material to the research and development and processing, a given cereal product, such as pasta, entering the market must meet particular nutritional, performance, quality, safety, and regulatory guidelines to provide the consumer with a comfortable and excellent eating experience. Throughout the process, it is important to have thorough knowledge and understanding of the technical aspects of every step.

Zerega Wins a Shamrock Award

Each year, Zerega exhibits at the Shamrock Foods Expo, a food show for operator customers. If you read “PMZ Hits Two (Virtual) Trade Shows”, you’ll know that 2020 has become the year of online exhibitions. The Shamrock event was one of many that adapted to a virtual setting this year – but that didn’t stop its annual awards presentation, which spotlights booths from the prior year’s Expo that spans across 4 locations. Zerega’s booth was named 2019 Dry Grocery Expo Booth of the Year!

To pull off an award-winning booth, Zerega partnered with Shamrock Foods and our local broker network to prepare two different dishes for visitors to try. The dishes were prepared in typical foodservice fashion: the pasta was cooked and chilled, and then added to heated sauce and served. The first sample was a classic and beloved penne and marinara combination. The second was a spin on Asian-style noodles, using 3/16th fettucine (a thick noodle, like a wider linguine) served with a red curry sauce made with coconut milk. Vegetarian and vegan dishes have been trending over the years, and the goal of these two booth dishes was to inspire menu items for Zerega’s customers.

To pull off an award-winning booth, Zerega partnered with Shamrock Foods and our local broker network to prepare two different dishes for visitors to try. The dishes were prepared in typical foodservice fashion: the pasta was cooked and chilled, and then added to heated sauce and served. The first sample was a classic and beloved penne and marinara combination. The second was a spin on Asian-style noodles, using 3/16th fettucine (a thick noodle, like a wider linguine) served with a red curry sauce made with coconut milk. Vegetarian and vegan dishes have been trending over the years, and the goal of these two booth dishes was to inspire menu items for Zerega’s customers.

Exhibiting at the Shamrock Foods Expo is a great way for organizations to display their products and highlight their quality, features, and benefits, while simultaneously fostering relationships with new and old customers. Plus, cooking product in the booth turns it into an action station, which generates great energy on the trade floor – and leads to an award that signifies hard work pays off!

Luke Sr. Would be Proud: A Reflection on 2020

Luke Sr. would be proud of how well PMC reacted to the events of 2020. How his employees recognized the immense responsibility of being essential during a pandemic, and manned the factories and offices to continue servicing our customers and keeping shelves stocked across the country.

Luke Sr. would be proud of how we embraced the unique challenges of the Zerega acquisition. The integration of two family organizations, coming together in 2020 to supply all sectors of the pasta marketplace: Dry, Frozen, Retail, Industrial, and Foodservice.

Luke Sr. would have been proud of the way the Vermylens ran their business – the way they treated their employees and operated their factories. He would have wanted us to understand, so we worked tirelessly to keep operations smooth while preparing our companies to merge into one large family.

Luke Sr. would be proud of how we actively seek positive changes, understanding inclusion and the need for diversity. He would be proud of our ability to learn and evolve in a year like no other.

Luke Sr. loved leadership, and he would be proud to see how we have embraced it. Our leaders lead loudly, building strong and successful teams.

Luke Sr. would be so proud of the mill, the pasta manufacturing plants, and their management teams. Our continued pushes for improvement in process and quality, striving to be the best we can be even in the midst of a pandemic.

Luke Sr. would be proud to be part of these historic accomplishments, to see us grow as 1 PMZ, realizing our full potential with both caution and enthusiasm.

Luke Sr. would be proud – proud of what Philadelphia Macaroni Company has become, and proud to watch how the Company will grow in the years to come, 2021 and beyond.

Luke Marano Sr. at PMC’s 100-Year Anniversary in 2014.