WINNIPEG - An award winning Transcona wing-porium has taken a big step towards becoming a staple of households across the city with a leap into the frozen food section of Sobey's, Safeway, and IGA supermarkets. Representatives from the companies partnered in the venture, and from the Manitoba Government (represented by Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler), attended a product launch on Friday at the Sobey's at 2850 Pembina Hwy. to celebrate the good news.
Alex Goertzen started out 7 years ago with a Little Bones Wings food truck, and entered the restaurant fray 2 years later. Now as General Manager and Chief Food Innovator of Little Bones Wings Inc., Goertzen has perfected unique pre-breaded frozen chicken wings and chicken tenders that have impressed everyone up and down the food development and distribution chain, and especially the business team at Little Bones.
Goertzen said he was proud to create "a clean label recipe, using exclusively Granny’s Poultry chicken, and offer consumers a locally sourced, restaurant-quality wing and tender that provides virtually the same taste and experience they have come to expect at our restaurant.” The popular restaurant location at 123 Regent Ave. East at the Royal George Hotel, is now part of Transcona folklore.
Jason Wortzman is the Director of Product Development and Corporate Chef of Granny’s Poultry Cooperative and was a key member of the team that refined the Little Bones recipes and manufacturing process. “Working with the Little Bones team was a tremendously fun and rewarding experience" he said, noting Granny's ongoing commitment to growing Manitoba's food sector.
Local Business Development Manager for Sobeys, Gary Hughes, came in from Calgary for the event, and he reminded the gathering how “supporting local brands, small businesses and product development is a top priority for Sobeys. We are very excited to welcome these innovative and immensely popular local products to our frozen food selection."
According to Hughes, Little Bones’ wings and tenders will be available in over 20 select Winnipeg Sobeys, Safeway and IGA stores with more stores expected to allot shelf space soon - and Alberta outlets will soon follow suit.
In the photo below are Wortzman and Hughes, flanking Goertzen.
Also involved with the launch event was Mariner Neptune, the exclusive wholesale distributor for Little Bones Wings products into retail stores. They are already delivering LBW products to 25 stores across Manitoba including Brandon, Thompson and Portage la Prairie.
The Manitoba Food Development Centre in Portage la Prairie played an important role to get to this stage. Many hours were spent by the team led by Goertzen, working in the federally-approved kitchen laboratories over the course of 2 years, fine-tuning production line temperatures for the raw wings and chicken tenders, marinade times, breading mixtures, and fryer heat and durations. Their goal was to achieve an ideal - and all local - frozen and fun chicken option to seek consumers' favour and expand the Little Bones Wings brand.