Some like it hot
Renfro brothers Bill '56 and Jack '59 spice up the salsa market with new award-winning offerings.
by Rachel Stowe Master '91
Updated: Monday, July 19, 2010
Jack Renfro ’59 and Bill Renfro '56 of Renfro Foods won a Scovie Award for their new pineapple-flavored salsa. The company celebrates its 70th year in 2010. (Photo courtesy InterStar PR)
As Fort Worth-based Renfro Foods Inc. marks its 70th anniversary, CEO Bill Renfro ’56 and COO Jack Renfro ’59 are keeping it fresh.
The secret ingredient to the salsa and condiment maker’s staying power? “We’re innovative and have been able to introduce a variety of flavors at an affordable price,” Bill said.
Last year, the company added three new salsas to its feisty lineup: Pomegranate, Tequila and Pineapple — which landed a 2010 Scovie Award. Pineapple took first place for best fruit salsa in the processed salsa category of the hotly contested gourmet food competition, which recognizes the top “fiery foods” products from across the globe.
Just this month, the company will be begin distributing its salsa in the United Kingdom. In the fall, Renfro Foods will launch its 30th product, Ghost Pepper salsa, made with the world’s hottest pepper, the bhut joloika.
“We’re trying to increase the velocity of Renfro products on the shelves,” Bill said. “We’ve hired a firm to help us think outside of the box and do some guerrilla marketing — salsa is super-competitive and it’s a daily struggle, but we’re pretty much the ‘biggest little guys.’”
Founded by their father in 1940, the company boasts a product line that now includes 29 salsas, sauces and relishes sold at supermarkets, gourmet and gift shops and fruit and vegetable stands in all 50 states, Canada and the Caribbean. It won the 2008 Greater Tarrant Business Ethics Award from TCU’s Neeley School of Business and the 1993 Family Values Award from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.
To celebrate its 70th anniversary, Renfro Foods (www.renfrofoods.com) hosted a recipe contest this summer and received about 350 submissions. Winners have not been selected.
“We have several prize categories but the grand prize winners will receive a free year’s supply of Mrs. Renfro’s salsa and their recipe on the side panel of a jar and on the Web site, among other prizes,” Bill said. “We’re partnering with the Tarrant Area Food Bank who will prepare the recipes for judging.”
A founding member of the Tarrant Area Food Bank, Bill served as its second president and is a past recipient of its Pat Mohler Award. He is also a member of the Texas Food Processors Association Hall of Fame. Jack served on the board of Northside Inter-Church Agency (NICA) and is a deacon at his church.
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