The English poet Robert Browning certainly wasn’t speaking about a particular bread as he espoused, “If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.” But perhaps had he lived in a different century, he would have opined as arduously while enjoying the wonderful tastes and textures afforded by Bridor’s assortment of breads and Viennese pastries.
For Bridor’s penchant for artisan baking transcends boundaries of continents and the blur of centuries in its pursuit of tradition, adapting old-world baking methods to modern industrial processes. This is how the company has attained success and as it continues to expand its offerings across the North American continent, Bridor is winning customers with a wide range of new and exciting products that bring a different dynamic to the palates of bread and pastry lovers everywhere.
As it does this, Bridor greets a new president for Bridor USA, Ron L. Cardey, an industry veteran aligned with the company’s mission to bring not only unique solutions to the consumer but to embrace relationships as well.
“One thing this industry teaches you,” says Cardey, “is that you must listen and understand your customer’s needs, and then design products that will make them successful as opposed to saying, ‘Here’s what we produced today – want to buy it?’”
CAN MAN LIVE BY BREAD ALONE?
Bridor follows a heritage of French baking expertise amidst a world of changes. In a market in which consumers, through a multi-media culture without boundaries, have become savvier than their counterparts of 26 years ago, when Cardey entered the business, one has to continually up the ante. It doesn’t matter that you deliver breads and pastries with the passion of French tradition behind you.
“I’ve been in the business since 1983 when white pan bread ruled the day,” Cardey points out. “Par baked was in its infancy and no one was doing natural or organic breads.”
How times have changed. And yet Bridor remains positioned as a leader and developer in bringing products to market that continually seduce consumers. Currently the company is researching and testing products with unique flavorings and functionalities, such as green tea and mint bread or breads with different pairings: figs and apricots; tumeric and chive and buckwheat and pumpkin seed. New in its lineup are its Signature Artisan Baguette, Mini Rustic Table Loaf and its Garden Sandwich Roll. The company adds these to its existing menu of French baguettes and Parisian breads, sandwich breads, baguettines, dinner rolls, crusty round loaf and specialty breads.
On the Viennese pastry side, new products include Mini Strawberry & Rhubarb danish and Cranberry and Chocolate twist, added to its already wide line of croissants, brioches and danishes, puff pastry and its special chocolatine, a chocolate croissant.
Altogether, Bridor has a full range of 30 types of bread and 150 types of pastry, created through recipes put together by dedicated R&D and marketing teams that continually work with preferred suppliers that partner with them to utilize the highest quality ingredients. “Bridor is successful because of the strong partnerships we have with our ingredients suppliers. Our suppliers are essential to our innovation initiatives,” says Cardey.
And while it invents new flavors the company is also mindful to keep the ingredients list simple. “One of our goals is to have clean labels, with as few ingredients as possible and to take out preservatives,” Cardey says, additionally remarking on the company’s legacy: “What we did was take the true French passion of baking and exported it here; my vice president of operations was born in Normandy and I have people who came here from France specifically to work for us. We have a true passion for excellence in baking.”
Bridor’s true artisan baking heritage mixed with high-speed production enable the company to bring products to market that are higher in value than the rest. The company sells these to a broad customer base in the food service and ISB segments, both in Canada and in United States, and continues to pursue very high quality standards in regards to the service and products it supplies.
Therefore, quality control is a cornerstone of Bridor’s process. From choosing suppliers to shipping finished products, every phase of the Bridor production process ensures that clients receive products that meet or exceed their expectations. Specifications are checked and cross-checked; suppliers are audited and systematic and rigorous controls are executed at all levels.
And as food safety has become an important concern for consumers, Bridor North America continues to achieve great results from regular auditors such as AIB (American Institute of Bakery) and CTPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism). Moreover, the HACCP program is in place in all facilities.
“Our logistic partners are a tremendous help in our ability to achieve our goal of serving customers in a timely manner, though following important safety rules. Logistics and freight are very important parts of our service, and Bridor is proud to work with reliable partners,” reinforces Cardey.
A LONG ROAD WALKED
Bridor North America borrows its legacy from Groupe LeDuff, founded by Louis LeDuff, who crossed the Atlantic in the 1970s to study in Canada. He opened his first boutique in the early 80’s and in 1984 he opened the first bread and Viennese pastry production plant in Boucherville, on Montreal’s South Shore, whereupon he adopted the Bridor name for the industrial division, first in Canada and then in Europe.
More recently, Bridor expanded production to the United States in 2002, with the acquisition of a bakery facility in the industrial town of Vineland, N.J. The facility, which comprises 133,000 square feet on 16 acres, has since added new lines, which has expanded the plant’s capacity by 50 percent. The increased production capacity ensures a significant presence in the United States.
And there is more to come. To give the company better ability to achieve its goals, Bridor recently approved a $20 million expansion of its Boucherville, Quebec, pastry operation to double capacity. The upgrades will help Bridor reach two goals: doubling the Viennese pastry production capacity and complying with the most stringent food safety requirements. “The expansion will allow us to sell more pastries in the U.S. as well,” Cardey says, adding, “Our objective is to grow our footprint in the U.S., and as we do so, we are grateful of the support we get from our equipment suppliers. They bring the best solutions to support that growth.” Complementing this expansion was the merger last December of Bridor and Au Pain Doré, which enables the company to offer an even wider and more varied range of bakery products in North America.
Bridor also plans to proceed with the inauguration of new baking centers in Philadelphia and Washington.
While it continues to address challenges of today’s business world, Bridor will continue pursuit of its passion, perhaps aptly borrowing from the proverb: “With bread and wine you can walk your road.” For Bridor, that road has been delicately hewn with artisan talent.