Instore - August 2018 - 30
"We're happy to be active in all those situations," he says. "One thing that is easily forgotten: at the end of the day, for us, we're
always trying to manage and curb our enthusiasm of offering something new. We want
to take our time. We want to make sure that
before we offer it, before it graduates out of
our kitchen, that the product performs."
In the tortilla category, that means the
product doesn't break and will hold ingredients well. "At the end of the day, the tortilla is a carrier," Montemayor says. "We take it
very seriously. It's important to test the product and make sure it has a very high ability
of holding the ingredients for the most common recipes."
Harbar maintains side-by-side production
facilities, with the main building encompassing 80,000 square feet of state-of-theart equipment.
"We had some room for growth and we
are very happy with the infrastructure we
have," Montemayor says. "We're always trying to develop our partnership on the distribution side."
The goal, he says, is to widen the company's
geographic reach. Harbar's products do
have a presence all the way from the company's home in Massachusetts to the West
Coast, but Montemayor thinks that can be
improved upon in the next year.
"We are quite active in the Northeast while
very actively looking at partnerships that
can allow us to efficiently and effectively
have nationwide distribution," he says.
While Harbar can be viewed as a commissary of sorts - producing fresh food for use
in supermarket prepared foods departments
- Montemayor says part of the company's
growth strategy is targeting commissaries
that are making wraps, burritos and other
tortilla-based foods for those same retailers.
This means a continued focus on R&D.
"This is where you're trying to branch out
into new products," Montemayor says.
"Whether you're looking into either a blue
corn tortilla or a sprouted-grain tortilla or a
gluten-free tortilla, it all requires quite a bit
of research and development. We are happy
to have a team of food technologists. They
interact with our marketing team and our
sales team and our culinary team to come
up with prototypes in the kitchen and in the
lab and, finally, in the plant."
The R&D department is also tasked with
improving the company's established products, whether that' s improving on the oils
and flours used to produce the tortillas or
finding new ways to ensure more consistency in size.
"In general, we want to stay on top of the
trend of making sure the product is as fresh
as possible. That's what supermarkets are
looking for," Montemayor says. "We are very
intrigued in developing our partnerships so
that we can get to the consumer with a fresh
wrap or a fresh sandwich or burrito and
grow that consumer audience wider."
Tortillas vs. bread
While traditional bread is a staple in
the American diet, tortillas ﬁll that
spot on Hispanic tables. And, just
like bread, tortillas are being looked
at more closely when it comes to
"Consumers will continue to ask for
improved nutritionals," says Harbar
CEO Cheque Montemayor.
This includes more specialty grains,
calorie content, carbohydrate
content, and of course, the glutenfree evolution.
"Gluten-free is pretty established
in this market, but I think it still
has room for reinvention and
growth in the next ﬁve years or
so," Montemayor says. "We like to
say internally that we want to make
sure we can bring goodness into a
As the popularity of the tortilla
widens, Montemayor says it will
command even more space in the
Harbar manufactures its tortillas in an 80,000-square-foot facility. Photo: Harbar
30 * AUGUST 2018 * commissary INSIDER
"It's an exciting time for tortillas. The
industry is close to being one of the
most signiﬁcant parts of the bread
category in the U.S.," he says. "I think
it's bringing a lot of dynamism to the
supermarket and we are very excited
to be in that space."