Stanislaus vs. Escalon

Went to a food show and Escalon was very aggressive about replacing Stanislaus and were very engaging about their product. Stanislaus basically said: “Oh, thanks for being a customer.”

I liked some of what Escalon talked about with their product not using preservatives or citric acid to fortify flavors, and I think I’ll get a chance to do heads up comparisons of products soon. I’m curious about what other members of TT think.

I should say that Escalon guaranteed me a savings using their product, but that was after I told them I was opening another restaurant.

I have been using Stanislaus products from day one. I did a comparison of all the major brands’ products before I opened and again at Pizza Expo. In my opinion Stanislaus is the superior product. Escalon are more aggressive at the trade shows because when you are not in first place you try harder.

One of the many things I liked about Stanislaus is they sell at one price no matter if it is to a small distributor or a national distribution conglomerate. Everyone is on equal ground.

If you have questions for the folks at Stanislaus give them a call 1-800-987-9670. You always get a live body, never voice mail or and auto-attendant. I would have to say their business practices are the highest class of all the suppliers that I have ever dealt with.

Who ever you do choose to use be sure that they are a fresh packed, not from concentrate product. The few cents extra per pizza is well worth the fresh flavor profile you get.

Escalon is Heinz. They are the 800 lb gorilla in tomatoes, not the other way around.

We used their product for more than 10 years. Not long ago (last year) we did an extensive round of blind taste tests with customers and switched to Stani products.

Stani was very attentive while we were considering change, but I have to admit, no-one has contacted us at all since we made the switch.

Stani may offer the same price to every distributor, but we found VERY different prices between the two food distributors we deal with so price shopping still applies, it is just that there does not seem to be any back end money like there is with Escalon.

We did find that we were able to add a 1/2 can of water to our batch (uses four cans of tomato product) when we made the switch which pretty much washed out the cost difference.

In the end, it was the fact that the taste test was decisive that made us change.

Been buying stanislaus products for 12 years. I will never switch.
They’re product is superior.

This is an epic battle in the marketplace . . . these two leaders of the pack. I cut both lines and several products from each way back 7 years ago when I started. Stanislaus was superior in all products for what I was doing. Their products are consistent, the staff responsive when I have had questions or concerns over the years. Stanislaus is a complete company identity (and still family owned and operated), which seems to be a part of the difference. Escalon is one brand line from the 800 lb gorilla, Heinz. It is a top shelf brand line, but not their one and only.

My experience from things like what you report at the expo/shows is that the #2 guys are always gunning to drive more market share aggressively. One thing that has made a huge impression on me from conversations with Stanislaus is that I have never heard from the service staff one disparaging comment about their competitors. They talk about market practices in general, why they do what they do, and why they believe it to be superior business practice. Never once heard a dig at Escalon on other brands . . . oh, they are emphatic about criticizing reconstituted industrial paste products for tomato centered applications, but never a brand. My two conversations with Escalon involved quick criticisms of Stanislaus products and practices. Not my kind of people, I guess.

As for pricing, I have found HUGE differences in pricing across the market for Stanislaus products. As mush as $6 per case difference. That can always be tracked to the supplier pricing model . . . they all pay the same for a case of tomatoes, so the differences are between the supply houses.

That last point is important to me in considering using the smaller supply houses as opposed to one of the Big Dog Suppliers who muscle their way through the world. I can confidently use a smaller operation to order my tomatoes, because the pricing is level. USFoods, Sysco, Roma/Vistar and/or whoever else is huge out there . . . they don’t get attractive discounts for ordering big volume that the smaller guys can never reach. Stanislaus is not vulnerable to the purchasing/negotiating muscle of this bigger companies . . . we loyal consumers will always want our product, and always know we can get it in the marketplace at another supplier for a reasonable price. I do not think that same balance of power carries with Escalon. I am attracted to the product first, but also by their way of doing business in the marketplace that protects their company and customer interests against leverages from big suppliers who really do make incredible demands on the world of food purchasing. Stanislaus will never get “Wal-marted” into selling top quality product for huge mark-downs just to get the product movement of big stores.

What that gives us customers is a profound security. They know how many cases they need to produce to meet projected market demands and what the budget demands are for pricing. They can run their projections, contract their growers, hire their processors, contract their sales, and know what to expect with confidence. They don’t have pressures to cut corners or accept inferior product for processing or jack up pricing for smaller distributors to make their budget projections work. We customers don’t get sold out to the mighty dollar of the Big Marketers at the expense of smaller business interests. As small distributors lose out to competition of Big Muscle, we get fewer competitors in the marketplace, and lose the power of choice in managing our own relationships in purchasing. It really is an ecologically sound business model to try to keep a viable and fluid market going for everyone. When Sysco demands a price cut or no purchase . . . Stanislaus knows that we’ll get our tomatoes somewhere else if not at Sycso, so they decline. We win and all the local suppliers win.

I do not have intimate knowledge of Escalon’s model. I do know they are unhappy with the way Stanislaus guys make demands of the industry and have lobbied both CA legislature and Congress for standards for using “Fresh” on tomato products . . . . possibly explaining the rise of the Escalon brand with Heinz. I just don’t know the birth of that company.

Add me to the Stanislaus side, our house is a Stanislaus house. Like most of the other posters, it came down to our own blind taste testing on our recipes, our ovens, our staff and invited guests. Our testers constantly commented on Stanislaus 7/11 giving a “fresher” “brighter” “more tomatoey” flavor.

We deal with 3 suppliers habitually, but only purchase the 7/11 from “A or B”, who price within 18 cents a case. Supplier “C” has evidently decided they’ll make their sales in other line items as since day one they have been roughly $8.00 a case higher than the going rate.

Stanis is the most arrogant batch of people I have ever dealt with in any of my careers. Before owning pizzerias I was in product marketing and while Stanis promotes their care for the customer…they are far from a customer-centric company. I won’t elaborate about my true problems with the company but overall I have a HUGE problem with their insulting Holiday card showing their family on vacation on OUR DIME.

In a time of small business struggles our “main” suppliers should be working with us to promote our business and not only grow our business but their business also.

Again, very arrogant to send out cards showing them vacationing and then for them to raise prices because of BS tomato crop issues and then to figuratively say…Hey Guys, Look at Us in Italy…sucks to be you.

As you can see I have a HUGE problem with this company and the manufacturer rep in our area. I can give you countless great comments on my other food manufacturers such as Grande, Franks Sauces, Ezzo Pepperoni…the list goes on for positives.

Just my .02…oops .01…the economy is down right now.

Fair enough. Any experiences with Escalon product or service?

Thanks for the input guys, I really appreciate it.

I don’t really have a problem with the Christmas card or the little plaster gifts they send every year. I generally tell any vendor when we meet that I understand that they have to make a living too, which immediately puts us in a situation where we are working towards everyone winning, instead of competing against each other.

So will some folks ignore an otherwise great product just because they do not like the company?..

I was thinking about the poster who was “insulted” by Stani’s vacation cards and taking family trips on “our dime”.
So many thoughts come to mind. It used to be in this county that people who were successful (profitable, made lots of money, etc) were role models to be emulated. When I was growing up I read every story about successful people and companies. They were inspiring, motivating and provided me with a ton of ideas. Stani is obviously a successful and very profitable company. It does not happen by accident. It requires a combination of risk capital, a ton of work and a requirement to be on your toes and up to date at all times. Some make it and some do not and those who do not probably lose a lot of money to go along with the heartache.
Why would we be offended by such people or insulted that they would take family vacations to Italy or wherever? If I was a younger man I would look at those pictures, their success and think to myself, “why not me also”? Most all of us on this board are on the retail side of the business but I see many aspects of the Stani company from which we can learn and put to use in our own businesses. Most everybody seems to think they are absolute top quality. They have worked hard to make sure their approach to the business matches the quality of their products. In my opinion they are high integrity people who have not taken any shortcuts or played behind the scenes games. Best of all maybe is the fact that their family relationships are important to them. If we could incorporate all of these elements into our own businesses we to could be sending friends and neighbors cards with pictures of our trips to far a way places.
Rather than be insulted by their pictures lets be inspired by them enough to get into a position to take our own pictures of success. This is what makes this country so great; we have the opportunity to do whatever we have the will ability to do. The object, in my opinion, is not to tear down the successful people at the top but to find out how they got there so that we might get there as well.
Also my 1 cents worth given the economy.

I am a proud Escalon user. I prefer the taste over Stanislaus, but that is just my opinion. The Escalon rep in my area was very helpful when we first opened and even commented that he thought Stanislaus was a great product. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the sales rep I spoke with at Stanislaus, arrogant, bashing his competition, and just an overall a##. I know Stanislaus has a great product and I am sure many outstanding employees, but every time my food reps ask me about purchasing Stanislaus I envision my hard earned money going to that arrogant Stanislaus rep.

Here’s my take on Stanislaus. We used them for the majority of time I’ve owned my business with a few spells of changing to Escalon. Between the two of them they have products that are nearly identical that I doubt all but the best food critics could identify the differences of when mixed amongst the rest of the ingredients of a pizza. We switched away from Stanislaus a few times for periods due to price or supplier issues despite always being happy with their product and service. We have now spent the last two years using a Neil Jones product that is also a fresh packed product grown in the same area as the other two. Again, I feel it is extremely comparable and a super quality product but this one saves us nearly $4.00 per case. Thats a very sizeable amount at our volume. I sat down with a Stanislaus rep in Vegas and asked him why we shouldn’t make the change. His only response was why change for only a few pennies per pizza? When I made it clear that a few pennies per pizza was sizable to me he suggested I switch and see the comparison for myself. He seemed to think that I would see consistency issues. Two years later I still feel that I am using a premium product that is not discernible in taste from either the other products we used when mixed with the other ingredients.

On another note, as far a Stanislaus pricing the same for each distributor, that doesn’t mean that every distributor pays the same to get it into their warehouse. The distributor that buys by the railcar will have a large price advantage to the distributor that ships in a pallet at a time especially when shipping to the east coast. Shipping can add up to be a large part of the cost of a case of sauce coming 3000 miles if sent by the pallet. Maybe that has a big part of the price discrepancies.

“So will some folks ignore an otherwise great product just because they do not like the company?..”

Royce, the short answer is “yes”. If the reasons for dislike are strong enough, I will not buy anything from them.

If I dislike the way a company does business, they will get no business from me. Period. There are multiple choices in every product category. Quality and price are important, but business practices can disqualify a vendor for sure.

For example, a local advertising based business in my area which has a nice product, has been retained as a PR firm by one property owner to create a negative campaign against another property owner and is using his advertising tools to promote this agenda. I think both the property owner and he are seriously out of line and as a result will not buy from his business.

It is pretty black and white to me.

I wonder if I am considered arrogant by my customers because I will not lower my price to match the competition? I insist I have a better product and really is a dollar or two more per pizza too much to pay for that quality. :shock:

Rick, the unfortunate answer is “yes” for some of them. Take a deep breath and move on. We can’t please everyone.

Paul, can you PM me some information on that product line. First time I’ve heard someone mention a product from Modesto that isn’t one the big 2 and comparable quality. You got me curious now :slight_smile:

We uses Stanislaus. Why?

They gave us t-shirts.

I don’t know where bad customer service and stanislaus ever got bunched together. That HASN’T been my experience at all.

They sent me and my wife on a 4 day trip to California, all expenses paid, to visit their plant. They wined and dined us. The trip was imformative. Now I know why they are the best, hands down…its NOT EVEN CLOSE. Wash off a valaroso tomato and wash off some other brand. FEEL the difference, SEE the differnce, TASTE the difference. Firmer, sweeter, redder…

Of all the products we need to make a pizza THIS is the one product that ALL the others don’t even BEGIN to approach. Ive NEVER heard of someone switching from stanislaus for any other reason but price. And, in the long run, you LOSE money, not make it…cause your customers can DEFINATELY taste the difference. I now profits are tight, but reducing on quality or quantity is NEVER the answer.

They BELIEVE in their quality and want to get paid what they (correctly) think they deserve.