El Monterey Taquitos Receive Award

Ruiz also removing trans fats, opening new plant

Published in CSP Daily News

DINUBA, Calif. -- Ruiz Foods' El Monterey Chicken & Cheese Flour Taquitos and El Monterey Shredded Steak and Cheese Flour Taquitos were recently awarded the American Culinary ChefsBest Best Taste Award for 2006. This award is presented only if a product secures the highest score in its category and meets certain standards, the company said.

Ranked the top-two Flour Taquitos SKUs in the frozen Mexican food category by IRI, El Monterey Taquitos are made with fresh tortillas from the Ruiz bakery. They are filled with ingredients, cheese, chicken or [image-nocss] shredded steak.

The 2006 ChefsBest Award seal is prominently placed on each package.

Products are judged only against competitors. Chefs judge the same product that is available on store shelves and all packaging is removed so that the chefs are unable to see the product or manufacturer name. Each product is then prepared by the test kitchen staff following the manufacturer's directions and served the same way the consumer would use it. The chefs taste each product, enter comments and assign a numeric score for each taste criterion. The judges consider the overall taste of the product, but also evaluate the taste experience using more specific criterion such as texture, aroma, feel and freshness.

In other company news, Ruiz Foods said that is has completed the process of removing trans fat from all El Monterey brand products sold to retail, foodservice, clubs, convenience store and vending channels. Products include burritos, taquitos, chimichangas, quesadillas, tornados, soft tacos, cruncheros, Mexican Grill and enchiladas.

And Ruiz Foods is expanding its operations to a plant in Denison, Texas, where it will occupy a former Pillsbury facility, reported the Dallas Business Journal. The expansion is the first for Ruiz Foods outside its California market, the report said. It said the 263,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility and distribution center met the company's needs.

Earlier this year, we decided our expansion needs would best be served by finding an existing facility in the Midwest, said Bryce Ruiz, president and COO of the Dinuba, Calif., food company. We knew renovating an existing facility would allow us to be online at least six months sooner versus building a facility from the ground up.

The building will undergo several million dollars worth of retrofitting and is expected to open in about six months, said the report.