The decadent journey of Sugar Foods: innovating the culinary landscape 

From humble beginnings in the busy streets of late 1940s Brooklyn, Sugar Foods Ltd has grown significantly. Initially selling sugar bags to local diners, the company has become a major player in the industry, offering a wide range of condiments, toppings, and snacks across America. Its brand portfolio includes Fresh Gourmet, N’Joy, and many more. Under the leadership of President Andrea Brule, the company is known for its creativity and delicious products found in many homes and restaurants.  

Andrea talks us through Sugar Foods’ evolution. “Having recently celebrated our 75th year in business, last year also marked the achievement of another

Andrea Brule
Andrea Brule,President

remarkable milestone. Indeed, it was found that Sugar Foods’ products are consumed an average of 1250 times per second (or 100 million times a day) across the entire US market, encompassing restaurants, cafes, drive-throughs, stores, offices, and households. Our journey began in Brooklyn, New York, where one of our founders, Donald Tober, sold 50-pound bags of sugar to luncheonettes. From there, the business expanded into nationwide distribution of sugar packets and other sweeteners to restaurants, marking the true inception of Sugar Foods as we know it. Despite increasing our product categories, customer segments, number of employees, and manufacturing technology, our commitment to delivering the best products and services to our customers has remained unchanged since day one. What started as a small family business has evolved in size and complexity, yet we have retained the entrepreneurial spirit and customer-centric culture that sets us apart.” 

In 2023, Sugar Foods was purchased by a private equity business, making a tremendous impact on the company’s operations. “Our acquisition by Pritzker Private Capital (Pritzker) has been a catalyst for unlocking our growth potential, as they have proven to be a truly ideal partner for entrepreneur-owned and family-owned companies alike. With Pritzker’s support, we have expanded our capabilities through the recent acquisition of Concord Foods (Concord) and made substantial investments in our manufacturing facilities to enhance our capacity. Moreover, they bring us considerable resources in talent, expertise, and networks which we have tapped into to accelerate progress on multiple fronts and better serve our customers,” she explains.  

Product innovation 

Today, Sugar Foods boasts an extensive product portfolio which empowers it to cater to all segments of the food marketplace. “We are very active within the foodservice, retail, and specialty sectors, as well as within quick-service outlets. Sugar Foods serves these industries through its signature brands Fresh Gourmet, Mrs. Cubbison’s, and N’Joy, and through private or exclusive brands and licensed products. Some of our core specialties include crunchy toppings, croutons, beverage enhancements, baking mixes, confectionary ingredients, pizza toppings, and many more products cherished by consumers and relied upon by culinary menu development teams. As a testament to our relentless efforts, we have won numerous industry awards for product innovation, operational excellence, and customer service. Our ultimate goal is to drive our customers’ sales by providing insights, culinary expertise, merchandising tools, and the appropriate complementary products to enable their businesses to shine,” Andrea elaborates. 

Among this wide range of sectors, Sugar Foods is experiencing equally high demand in both food retail and foodservice/food away from home segments. Andrea sheds light on how the company adapts its operations to cater to this growing customer base. “To support our growth, Sugar Foods constantly reinvests in enhancing its business capabilities. In spring 2024, we completed the largest acquisition in our history when we purchased Concord. This strategic move opened new market development opportunities across each of our business segments. For instance, the addition of Concord’s retail Fresh Success line of produce-enhancing seasoning packets, ready-to-use lemon and lime juice, and fruit-forward baking mixes complements Fresh Gourmet’s efforts to drive sales in the produce department through cross promotions and effective merchandising tools. Retailers will enjoy streamlined logistics and vendor management, along with improved merchandising and marketing support for ancillary produce categories. On the other hand, our foodservice distributor and chain customers will benefit from an enhanced network which offers custom and stock beverage syrups, caramels, toppings, variegates, flavor bases, baking mixes, breaders, and batters.”  

To facilitate service delivery across these segments, Sugar Foods has made significant investments in expanding its geographical footprint. “Alongside our widespread coverage within the US, we have strengthened our presence in Mexico and Canada. With manufacturing and distribution plants in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Mexico, Sugar Foods is strategically positioned to serve our North American customers efficiently. Furthermore, our facilities’ proximity to major ports enables us to expand our reach into international markets,” enlightens Andrea. 

Customer commitment 

On a more personal note, Andrea tells us more about her own career journey and what led her to join the company. “It is incredible that my internship with Sugar Foods many years ago has paved the way for growth opportunities within the company. When I first joined, we were about a quarter of the size we are today. Initially, there wasn’t a clearly defined role for me, but rather an opportunity to dive in and see where my contributions could be valuable. Starting in a marketing and sales position within the foodservice business, I eventually transitioned into a role focused on operations and integration as Sugar Foods expanded its capabilities, notably with the addition of a new frying facility to our network. Over time, I held various commercial leadership positions, supporting strategy and execution across sales channels, product categories, marketing, pricing, R&D, and more. I believe my journey exemplifies Sugar Foods’ dedication to taking chances and fostering curiosity. Above all, it underscores our philosophy of hiring individuals rather than simply filling positions. We actively encourage our employees to explore different avenues and learn, which has not only contributed to my personal development but that of many others at Sugar Foods,” she reveals. 

Looking ahead, Andrea expresses her aspirations for the business in five years’ time. “Sugar Foods will always be focused on customer relationships and live up to its motto, ‘The Customer is King.’ In line with this customer-centric approach, we aim to enhance our capabilities across various product categories, guaranteeing that we meet their requirements. Thus, our growth initiatives are guided by our customers’ vision for their own future, as we strive to be their trusted partner in long-term projects. If history is a reliable indicator of the future, this approach will guide us down paths that we cannot yet fathom. However, one thing we are certain of is that we will continue to assist our customers with selling more of their products. Put simply, our vision is to focus on relentlessly improving our operations, which will organically bring about further growth,” she ends. 

Through its unwavering dedication to innovation, Sugar Foods is poised to elevate its partners’ portfolios to even greater heights in years to come.