Posts Tagged ‘Tony’s Pizza’
Schwans, a Minnesota company primarily in the direct to consumer (home delivery) food business, acquired the Tony’s Brand in 1970, and started selling the pizzas direct to consumers, and eventually, to grocery stores. Tony’s is part of a much larger portfolio at Schwans now, which also includes the Fruschetta and Red Baron pizza brands.
Schwans has 6,700 trucks in the US, delivering fresh and frozen food items to homes all over America. One might be surprised that in this day and age, this business had not only survived, but thrived. Worldwide, Schwans has over 18,000 employees!
Tony’s sells a variety of what I would call “value-priced” frozen pizza products, including their original crust, thin & crispy crust, individual pizzas, snack rolls, and individual microwavable snack pizzas.
I’m not sure which national pizza chain started the idea of using a crust, putting cheese and sauce on it, cutting it on a different bias, and calling it “pizza bread” or some variation, but for some reason I am thinking it was Little Caesars. But it has become common place at the national pizza chains, and has started to make it’s way into the frozen pizza sections of grocery stores. One might find “garlic cheese bread” as a selection, as I did with Tony’s; other brands sell a combination pack of frozen pizza and “breadsticks” such as one might order at a chain pizzeria. DiGiorno, a frozen pizza grand created by food giant Kraft, sells the combo product. DiGiorno was sold to Swiss food giant Nestle earlier this year. It joined other iconic frozen food brands in the Nestle portfolio, like Maggi, Lean Cuisine, Hot Pockets, and Stouffer’s.
Tony’s Garlic Cheese Bread is part of Tony’s “original crust” pizza line, although the product does not have the word “pizza”on its box. Instructions call for baking the ‘pie’ at 425 for 9-11 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the crust is browned.
The taste is more than adequate for this type of value-priced product. If you slice it in long pieces, it’s cheese bread; triangles or squares, and topped with your leftovers, it’s a pizza. With the current promotion of a coupon on every box for one free game of bowling, basically you are getting the pizza for free (if you bowl).
If you’re looking for Tony’s products, you can find them in nearly every frozen food section of groceries across the US, or use the handy “Where to Buy” locator on their website. If you are interested in having Schwan’s food service deliver top-notch groceries and treats directly to your door, you can contact your local delivery point via the box in the upper left hand corner of their home page.
And if being a Schwans delivery person seems like a good career move for you, start the application process here.
Went bottom fishing in the frozen pizza section of my grocery store yesterday, and reeled in some Tony’s “New” Crisp Crust Pizzas. Tony’s is one of the brands (along with Freschetta and Red Baron) manufactured by the Schwan’s Food Company of Minnesota. Schwans started the same year I was born, delivering ice cream directly to rural homes. They’ve come along way since then, but you can still get ice cream (and other goodies) delivered by your local Schwan’s guy, click here for the selections.
While clearly Tony’s is trying to capture some portion of the emerging “thin & crispy” category, in appearance, and cost (usually less than a buck), these remind me of the Totino’s low end pies, which originally were “Jeno’s” (a company started in my home town, and also originator of the pizza roll). Jeno Paulucci had two food companies that he grew from scratch, Chun King “Chinese” foods, and the Jeno’s brand of “Italian” foods. They were sold to RJ Reynolds and Pillsbury, respectively, for boatloads of cash, and Jeno, who just celebrated his 130th birthday, is still at the biz, cranking out Michelina’s Frozen meals, as well as some other brands.
Anyway, these Tony’s were .98 cents each, so I picked a couple up. Although they sell a supreme and cheese model, the pepperonis were the ones at the featured price. I did not note the price of the other varieties.
The first thing one notices when removing from the box is that the engineers at Tony’s have come up with a new pizza shape and word to go with it: “Scround.” A square pie with rounded corners. I cannot even begin to comprehend why they did this. It’s nearly the shape of the Domino’s delivery box, but I do understand why they did that (probably boosted profits 1/10th of a penny per delivery).
The instructions are 12 minutes at 400, one thing I’ll say about these cheap little pies, is you can use the toaster oven, which is kind of handy. It may well be my tip of the hat to saving the planet and using less energy.
As regular readers know, I follow the precise instructions for cooking frozen and RTE meals, to see how they come out when following the instructions. I know, such a non-male thing to do.
The “Party Time” weighs in at 10.10 ounces, and the cover announces the (diced) pepperoni is made from pork, chicken, and beef. Other ingredients include a “topping blend” (defined as “mozzarella cheese substitute combined with a litany of other ingredients), but later in the list actually mozzarella appears, as does “isolated carrot product” (WTF?), onion, garlic, paprika, blah blah, and a whole lot of things that end in “ides” and “ates” and “ines.”
740 calories for the whole pie, 88 carbs (how many points is that?), a boatload of sodium, and negligible fiber.
As to taste. Well. You get what you pay for. After the recommended cooking time, the pizza was nowhere near my definition of “crisp”. An additional 3-4 minutes produced no changes in the texture, as well. The bits of pepperoni (is diced really that much cheaper than sliced?) had a flavor reminiscent of pepperoni, but a texture more akin to boiled ham. There was a sweet quality to the pizza that I didn’t care for, I assume it was from sugar in the tomato sauce. And the “topping blend?” Just that. No discernible actual cheese flavor, and as you can see from the photo, melt quality left something to be desired as well.
Would I purchase these again? Are these pizzas the home version of drunk food, like when you hit White Castle after the bars? Maybe for some folks, but not for me. I have no idea what I will do with the remaining inventory in my freezer.