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It's in the can.

For half a century, Red Gold Inc. has supplied America's home and restaurant kitchens with homegrown Indiana tomatoes and tomato products. But it still is striving to get the word out about the high quality of its products.

During the past couple of years, Red Gold, now with the assistance of the Indianapolis advertising firm Young & Laramore, has been expanding its product lines and upgrading its packaging. The latest Red Gold retail product is picante salsa. It's packaged in a 17-ounce, pop-top can--white-lined to protect the flavor--and it's ideal for dipping tortilla chips. Distributed in institutional-sized containers for years, Red Gold's picante salsa will arrive soon on grocery shelves in hot, medium and mild flavors. Another new product, diced tomatoes Italian (with garlic, olive oil and basil added), was launched in November.

While Red Gold products have always been of superior quality, their packaging wasn't fancy and their lower prices may have led some shoppers to believe Red Gold was an off-brand. The new labels and advertising campaigns are spreading the word that the company's products are as good as, if not better than, those of competing national brands.

Red Gold has always used tomatoes graded as "fancy," which by industry standards means they're top of the line. But to suit the company's own standards, the tomatoes need to be not only fancy, but the reddest tomatoes available. Hence one advertising slogan, "Indiana Tomatoes are Better." In fact, the tomatoes the company uses are all planted, grown and harvested within a 150-mile radius of the canning operations in Orestes and Elwood.

Red Gold is keenly aware that customers want more than just canned tomatoes these days, and strives to keep up with market trends. Thus, its current products include diced, whole, crushed and stewed tomatoes; ketchup; chili and seafood cocktail sauces; marinara, spaghetti, tomato and pizza sauces; and vegetable and tomato juices. Italian and Mexican-style products are offered.

In 1991, Red Gold--which is a supplier to Campbell Soup Co. operations in Ohio, North Carolina and Maryland--was lauded for reaching the highest level of participation in Campbell's "Select Supplier" quality-assurance program. Only 3 percent of Campbell's 4,000 suppliers worldwide achieved this status. And many retail shoppers swear by Red Gold's tomato juice, which unlike most tomato juices is packaged fresh, rather than from concentrate.

While many Hoosiers may be accustomed to seeing Red Gold-brand products on their grocery shelves, they may not be aware that Red Gold products are behind various other labels. Red Gold services more than 200 private labels. And the company's products are on the menu anonymously at plenty of restaurants.

A family-owned and-operated business started by the Reichart family in 1943 as Orestes Canning Co., Red Gold was primarily involved in canning whole tomatoes for retail sale until 1976.

Chairman Ernie Reichart and his wife, Fran, the former owners, directed the company's growth and diversification.

Today, under the direction of current owner and President Brian Reichart, a third-generation tomato processor, the company's annual volume exceeds 9 million cases of tomato products. About 250 employees work year-round, and additional staff is added during the canning season.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Red Gold Inc.
Author:Faris, Charlene
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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