P.F. Chang’s China Bistro soon will join a list of packaged, retail food products inspired by famous restaurants and manufactured by top food processors.
Unilever’s U.S. operations are developing a premium line of frozen Asian entrees featuring P.F. Chang's name and recipes. Expected products include Chang's Spicy Chicken and Mongolian Beef.
This would be a relatively new category for Unilever. The only frozen entrees it produces are the four-year-old Bertolli Italian skillet dinners.
“This represents a fantastic growth opportunity for our company and allows our brand to reach more people more often,” said Rick Federico, chairman/CEO of the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based national restaurant chain.
Federico was quoted in the Arizona Republic as saying his company for some time had been considering frozen entrees. “Our biggest challenge was finding a partner that could produce a frozen meal that we’d be proud to put our name on. We’ve found that in Unilever,” he said.
“We are excited by the prospect of doing it again, only this time in Asian cuisine,” Unilever Senior Vice President John LeBoutillier said, referring to the success of the Bertolli line. He noted Asian food is the second-most popular ethnic cuisine, after Italian, and that P.F. Chang’s is a recognized favorite in the Asian segment.
Other restaurants with packaged food products include T.G.I.Friday’s and Boston Market, both by H.J. Heinz, Marie Callender’s by ConAgra and California Pizza Kitchen by Kraft.