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Lyons, IL—A new cheese-and-salami sandwich designed for health-conscious consumers has hit convenience stores, grocery shelves and refrigerated vending machines across the US.
Headquartered here, Cheesewich offers a carbohydrate- and gluten-free combination of deli horn cheese and salami in 2.5-ounce individual servings.
Lyons-based parent company Registry Steaks & Seafood was first established in 1989, and about 10 years ago, Cheesewich president Tony Migacz, Sr. trademarked the name “Cheesewich.”
“When people actually know what the product is when it goes on the shelf, it moves very well at the grocery stores.”
—Tony Migacz, Sr Cheesewich Factory
“I wanted to start producing, but I couldn’t find anyone to produce for me,” Migacz said.
“About a year ago, I finally decided to start making them myself,” he said.
Production of Cheesewich sandwiches – two slices of cheese with a slice of salami in between – began last March. Cheese varieties include Colby Jack, Pepper Jack and Cheddar, each with a six-month shelf-life.
Consumer demand is really taking off, according to Migacz.
“We’re pleasantly surprised,” he said. “We use high-quality products and we try to keep the prices as low as we can, so we can get it out at a reasonable cost as far as suggested retail.”
Cheesewich has everything – it’s zero percent carbs, gluten free and has 14 to 16 grams of protein, Migacz said.
“It’s also great for dashboard dining,” he said. “If you’re driving down the road and need a fast snack or meal, you’ve got the Cheesewich.”
“If you’re going hunting, fishing, to school or to the office, it’s nice just to pop one in the refrigerator or a cooler, and you’ve got a nice, convenient snack,” Migacz continued.
Cheese Bought Directly From
Guggisberg Deutsch Kase Haus
The Lyons facility is roughly 20,000 square feet and staffs 16 employees.
Cheesewich buys its cheese directly from Guggisberg Deutsch Kase Haus of Middlebury, IN. Salami is purchased from John Morrell & Co. headquartered in Cincinnati, OH.
Cheesewich products are distributed throughout the US via Michigan-based Lipari Food Distributors, LLC, including Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky.
Cheesewich sandwiches are sold at Central Grocers, Inc. in the Chicago area, along with other grocery retail chains.
Vistar, Core-Mark International, Inc. and Farner-Bocken have also taken on Cheesewich for convenience store and mini-mart sales in Washington, Florida, Missouri, California, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
Core-Mark and Farner-Bocken have taken on Cheesewich for vending sales as well. As more consumers become increasingly health-conscious, refrigerated vending machines and the subsequent market for cheese continues to grow, according to Migacz.
As far as foodservice, some area hospitals and universities have started carrying the product, Migacz said, including Ohio State University, Western Illinois University and Iowa State University, among others.
Only Company Using Deli Horns
While competition among cheese and beef competitors is strong, Migacz said Cheesewich is one of the only companies offering products cut from deli horns.
“There are beef sticks and cheese sticks out there, and a lot of it is shelf-stable,” he said. “It’s not as healthy for you as the Cheesewich is.”
“Of course, there’s a lot of competition – people are doing different things with cheese and beef all the time – but our brand and the quality speaks for itself.”
One of the biggest challenges in launching the line was getting consumers to recognize what the product was once it was on the shelf, according to Migacz.
“We came up with door clings and window flyers that show a cut of Cheesewich, so you can see how much salami is in the middle,” he said.
You have two 0.7 ounce slices of cheese with a 1-ounce slice of salami in between, so it does fill the need when you’re hungry, Migacz said.
“When people actually know what the product is when it goes on the shelf, it moves very well at the grocery stores,” he said.
“When people try it right there at the table during demos, it sells out right away.”
If future expansion is on the horizon, Migacz said he already has a few co-packers lined up.
“If it goes that well, naturally we’d probably build our own plant,” he said. “As far as distribution, we’re hooked up with a couple main players right now and hopefully they can take it around to a greater degree once the successes are there.”
“Right now, we’re looking to grow the brand, do the trade shows, do the demos, and do the best we can,” Migacz said.
For more information, visit www.cheesewich.net or contact Tony Migacz at (708) 458-3100.