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Enter PitaStuffs, latest frozen player in rising pita bread sandwich segment.

Enter PitaStuffs, Latest Frozen Player In Rising Pita Bread Sandwich Segment

And now, from the immigrant entrepreneur who made vertical gyro broilers a mainstay in Greek restaurants throughout the United States, comes PitaStuffs. Chicago "gyro king" Chris Tomaras has gyrated into the $130 million frozen sandwich market with the introduction of a line of handmade pita bread stuffed with an assortment of fillings.

Lots of Competition

Pitaria Products Co. is facing plenty of big league competition in supermarket cases and convenience store outlets from the likes of Chef America's Hot Pockets, which rang up more than half of the category's sales last year. Another formidable foe is Quaker Oats Co., which is testing Old Town OverStuffs pita sandwiches in several markets.

"It's a tough proposition, going up against the biggies, but we're not going to take a back seat. We're going to do it all the way," said President Tomaras. Some $3.5 million has been budgeted for advertising over the next few years.

From Pizza to Taco

Here's a rundown on the Pitaria line:

. The Gyros PitaStuffs is a traditional Greek sandwich that has been popular in many U.S. markets for more than a decade. Its meat filling is a combination of slow-cooked beef and lamb, to which ethnic seasonings, sauteed onions, green peppers and cheese are added.

. The Pizza Sandwich features thinly sliced pepperoni, along with mozzarella, provolone and romano cheese in California tomato-based pizza sauce.

. The Ham N'Swiss contains thinly sliced imported ham and Swiss cheese topped with mustard sauce.

. Taco PitaStuffs are made with ground beef, colby and Monterey Jack cheeses, picante sauce, onions and chiles.

Currently available in 18 states from Vermont to California, plans call for geographical distribution to double in the second quarter of 1989. The product retails in supermarkets for $2.29 to $2.59 per two-sandwich (12 oz.) package. PitaStuffs are sold for $1.50 to $1.75 each in convenience stores, where single unit packaging utilizes clear cellophane wrappers to stimulate impulse buying. Also featured is a paperboard holder to facilitate microwave oven preparation and on-the-run eating.

PHOTO : The PitaStuffs holder is designed to aid point-of-sale attraction for convenience stores

PHOTO : and vending, and is an extension of supermarket package graphics.
COPYRIGHT 1989 E.W. Williams Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Apr 1, 1989
Words:372
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