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It’s funny how life works out sometimes. Amy’s Kitchen never set out to become one of the world’s leading purveyors of prepared frozen organic foods, but here they are. The only thing Amy’s really wanted to do was provide busy people on the go with convenient food options that were healthier than typical TV dinners, and maybe make a decent amount of money in the process. Almost 30 years and millions of dollars in sales later, it’s safe to say that Amy’s Kitchen has succeeded far beyond their wildest expectations.
How Amy’s Kitchen got started
Rachel and Andy Berliner are like many people, and like most people who had just returned from a long grueling day of work, cooking was the last thing on their minds. They tried pre-cooked frozen foods but found them disappointing because of their weak cardboard flavors and unhealthy amounts of sodium, sugar, and chemical additives. Rachel and Andy thought a better way needed to exist, so they made one themselves and soon Amy’s Kitchen was born in the year of 1988. But to get the company started, they needed to sell some personal items and secured a bank loan to reach about $20,000, and with a lot of determination and support they were able to achieve their goal! Curious to know where the name Amy’s Kitchen came from? Well, it was named after Rachel and Andy’s then newborn child, Amy.
Amy’s Kitchen humble vegetable pot pie
With a new company off the ground what would be the first thing Amy’s would come out with? At the time, pot pies were the most popular pre-cooked frozen food on the market, so the first thing Amy’s Kitchen did was create their now iconic Amy’s Vegetable Pot Pie! You may recognize it from your favorite store with its organic carrots, organic peas, and organic potatoes all simmered in a well seasoned brothy sauce and enclosed in a delicious flaky butter crust. What you may not know about it, however, is that took a lot of work to make those first few pies. Rachel and Andy Berliner spent countless hours in the small cramped kitchen of their home making over 100 vegetable pot pies by hand so they could be shown at a nearby health food show in San Francisco.
Their hard work paid off—the batch of vegetable pot pies sold out and several prominent health food vendors placed orders for more! Word of Amy’s Vegetable Pot Pie spread quickly around California and more orders began flooding in. But to keep up with increasing demand, Rachel and Andy Berliner sought out farmers of organic vegetables and partnered with a local bakery to bake the pies.
The steady rise of Amy’s Kitchen
Amy’s Kitchen slowly grew in the years that followed, gaining a significantly large following. Soon the company outgrew the bakery they partnered with and had to hire a crew of workers to keep up with the ever increasing demand. The product line began to grow beyond Amy’s Vegetable Pot Pie and soon had an extensive line of healthy pre-cooked frozen organic foods made up of burritos, noodles, tofu and veggie bowls, pizza, indian curry bowls, breakfast scrambles, and so much more.
Amy’s Kitchen thrived as a mid-tier company with a passionate following until the late 90s, but then major grocers like Kroger came calling to stock their products. Seemingly overnight, sales increased dramatically. According to CNN, sales increased by 73% in 1998, skyrocketing to 32 million dollars. That amount has steadily increased ever since, and as of 2013 Amy’s Kitchen is selling roughly 380 million dollars worth of product each year.
Amy’s Kitchen may have gone mainstream, but their ideals remain unchanged by promoting non-GMO and organic foods. To this day they remain a privately held, family-owned business that makes their food at hand, but the only difference now is that they’re working in a much larger kitchen.
Rachel Berliner is currently the company’s Head of Marketing while Andy Berliner is the CEO. But what about their daughter, Amy? Amy Berliner is grown up now and in her mid 20s. She is currently her father’s apprentice, preparing to one day run the company that bears her name.
Tell me about the food that Amy’s Kitchen sells
Amy’s Kitchen is renowned for their exceptional line of healthy, pre-cooked, frozen, organic foods. Whether looking for a pizza, some soup, a tasty burrito, or a freshly baked pot pie, Amy’s Kitchen is known to have it all.
Dishes from Amy’s Kitchen are made with simple ingredients, similar to what you probably have somewhere in your kitchen. There are no chemical additives, artificial colors or flavors, and no preservatives. Just wholesome goodness and ingredients you can pronounce.
Amy’s is partnered with some the best farmers in the country and use only the freshest organic vegetables that have been grown without the use of pesticides and are entirely free of GMOs. They also hold their dairy products to the same impeccably high standards, only using cows that have been certified as hormone-free.
Amy’s Kitchen believes in the humanity of food—this is why everything they make is done with care by real people, not machines. For example, their mashed potatoes are mashed by hand and mixed by hand, but it doesn't end there! Their sauces and gravies are made with a hand crafted roux, and loving hands shape their pie crusts.
What are some of the things that Amy’s Kitchen sells
Everything that Amy’s Kitchen makes is vegetarian friendly. Fish, meat, and eggs are not used in any of their products. But what are food products that Amy’s sells? Let’s take a peak at some of their bestsellers:
- Bean & cheese burritos
- Broccoli cauliflower and cheddar cheese sauce
- Broccoli cheddar soup
- California veggie burger
- Corn & potato chowder frozen soup
- Meatless veggie meatballs
- Mushroom bisque with porcini
- Organic hearty minestrone with vegetables
- Organic quinoa, kale and red lentil soup
- Organic vegan chunky tomato bisque
- Rice crust pesto pizza
- Rice crust spinach cheese pizza
- Single serve rice crust cheese pizza
- Sonoma veggie burger
- Veggie sausages
Amy’s Kitchen cares
Amy’s Kitchen believes in humanity and are also champions of equality in the workplace. They even use their position to provide a helping hand to the less fortunate whenever possible, donating resources to organizations such as the American Red Cross as well as food banks and patients at hospitals around the world.