PreGel America, established in 2002, is the North American subsidiary of PreGel SpA, a manufacturer of specialty dessert ingredients. PreGel is dedicated to offering quality products, exceptional customer service, and outstanding continued education to the food industry.
PreGel was founded in Reggio-Emilia, Italy, in 1967 by Dr. Luciano Rabboni – a gelato enthusiast. “Our core audience really started out with the gelato market, and later we expanded to pastry,” says PreGel America Marketing Communications Specialist Janae Morris. “Now, we offer ingredients for everything from gelato to ice cream, frozen yogurt, pastries, and specialty beverages. We are part of a network of twenty other subsidiaries worldwide, and we are the largest specialty dessert ingredient distributor in North America.”
PreGel America has five International Training Centers that teach dessert-making across the United States. “The Dallas facility opened in December 2017 and is our most recent,” says Morris. “We also have one each in Charlotte, North Carolina; Los Angeles, California; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Chicago, Illinois.” A variety of courses serve everyone from beginners to professional chefs.
“The Dallas center was created not only to be a training facility but also to be a warehouse for storing inventory,” says Morris. “This has balanced out the logistics across the country for our customers. Basically, having a warehouse in Dallas makes it a lot quicker and more efficient for our customers in the central region of the United States to get their orders delivered, as opposed to having to wait for it to either come from the warehouse in Charlotte, NC or from Los Angeles on the west coast. The Dallas facility also allows for customers in the Texas or surrounding areas to personally pick-up products if they choose to.”
There is a new facility presently being built that is expected to open in 2020. “It will be a production facility where we can create traditional pastes, fruit-based pastes, etc., here in America so we will no longer have to rely on our parent company in Italy to ship those ingredients to us.”
PreGel is dedicated to offering excellent service. “This is another way that we can better serve our existing customer base as well as the ones who are looking for a reliable partner,” says Morris. “It’s not just about whether or not they can get these ingredients or about what we can do, it’s about knowing that everything is right there – that sense of security in knowing that they can definitely depend on us for filling all of the needs that they require to run their businesses, whether it’s just a side business or something that they are doing to create a family legacy. No matter what the scale, we’re there.”
In 2019, PreGel America will celebrate the tenth anniversary of its 5-Star Pastry Series®. “This series is dedicated to more advanced chefs in the field – the ones who have been doing specialty desserts for a substantial amount of time, and want to continue to evolve their skills,” says Morris. “We invite world-renowned chefs to come in and do lectures and teach.”
Although Morris is not ready to divulge the details just yet, there is something presently in the works for celebrating this milestone next year. “After all, this anniversary is a big deal,” says Morris.
PreGel America is also proud of its new blog. “The blog recently turned one year old. We really try to keep the blog fun and interesting. It’s very educational and informative, and we do a lot of ingredient highlights. Every month, we feature a new ingredient. One of the most recent posts was with regards to using PreGel ingredients to create more savory applications,” says Morris.
“When you’re working with a dessert ingredient company, you may be under the impression that your menu options are limited to only desserts,” says Morris. “You may think that you can only do frozen desserts or pastries, but we are exploring how our products can be used in everything from savory sauces to batter for fish and chips and more.
“We just did a campaign on how PreGel can be used in different aspects, even for a holiday dinner. So it’s really exciting to see how the whole concept of PreGel specialty dessert ingredients can now transition over to more savory applications,” says Morris. “Pineapple glazed bacon is one such recipe! If you let your imagination go and you have the right tools, the options are endless. There is so much you can create.”
PreGel believes in having a human-to-human connection. “It’s important to let customers know they’re not talking to a ‘machine’ but that they’re talking to people behind a business,” says Morris. “This shows a more human side to the company. The blog is great because it shows that yes, you can learn something, and it is informative, but there’s a personality there as well. The blog is not as formal as other communication pieces, but it’s a fun way to be introduced to a company that has a really interesting name and is functioning inside of a very niche part of the foodservice industry.”
Something else that sets PreGel apart from its competition is its commitment to education. “The educational aspect plays a big part in our success,” says Morris. “We are very serious about education, keeping skills sharp, and staying up to date with trends, different techniques and methods, and everything else that chefs need know to keep up with such a fast-moving and demanding consumer audience.
“Besides our International Training Centers and year-long curriculum that we offer both to chefs who are brand new to the industry and those who have been in the industry for decades but who still want to evolve in their skills, we also offer marketing services where we create custom pieces specifically for different stores to help them with their sales,” says Morris. “Anything that we think would be beneficial to our current and/or future business partners is what we focus on.
“We want to be the resource that people are looking for, the resource that quells the fears of ‘what’s next,’ erases the question mark of ‘what should I do’ or ‘where can I get this’ or ‘where can I go to find that,’” says Morris. “We take the question mark off of a lot of the concerns that people have regarding their businesses. We are that resource.
“We take ourselves out of the office and put ourselves in the shoes of the customers,” says Morris. “Our team has a great idea of what it is that chefs and entrepreneurs are looking for, and what would be the most helpful for professionals in such a niche part of the foodservice industry.”
PreGel is determined to offer products that facilitate food preparation. “Our products are multi-useful; you can use them in many different applications. Our flavors are very accurate in taste and aroma to the actual ingredient that it’s labeled as. Our ingredients are also very easy to use, and they are created to streamline production time,” says Morris.
“We think about the chaos in the kitchen and ask ourselves, ‘How can PreGel make it easier for the chefs in the kitchen who have to feed a five-hundred-count guest room or for a mom-and-pop store with seasonal help who might not have a high level of experience making gelato. We create the type of ingredients that will always provide consistency in flavor and texture and are very easy to use for any skill level,” says Morris.
“Our ingredients can create so many things, and they don’t take up a lot of shelf space. Our packaging, the taste, the quality, and the amount of different applications that our products can create make them a beneficial investment for a business owner.”
PreGel is always looking for ways to improve its service. “Customer service surveys and product satisfaction surveys is how we get more insight from our customers,” says Morris. “Our greatest concern is whether or not we’re hitting the mark in the eyes of our customers and how can we do better. We want to serve our customers in the best possible way. From great ingredients to great service,” says Morris.
A lot of care goes into everything the company does. “We really care about what we do, and how our decisions affect our customers and the success that they experience through us,” says Morris.
As PreGel America continues to grow and expand, it aims to become more of a household name among business owners. “We want to be known as the resource that chefs in the food industry, whether sweet or savory, can depend on for quality everything,” says Morris.