Flatev, a startup company that plans to revolutionize the way consumers prepare a wide variety of flatbreads will be establishing its first worldwide manufacturing operation at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center business incubator facility in Bridgeton, NJ.
The company, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, met with officials from Choose New Jersey, Inc., the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, and other business leaders today, and demonstrated their Flatev Artisan Baking System. The system gives consumers the ability to produce freshly baked, tasty, and nutritious artisanal flatbreads with the push of a button.
“We are very pleased that Flatev has chosen to establish their first global operation within our FDA and USDA inspected facility in Bridgeton, New Jersey,” said Lou Cooperhouse, Executive Director of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center. “There is a clear consumer trend in conveniently packaged products that are freshly prepared at home, and away from home, and Flatev is pioneering this trend in a category where freshness is extremely important. The global kitchen appliance market also is expected to grow significantly in the years ahead, and we believe that Flatev’s growth can be quite substantial in both retail and foodservice markets.”
The Flatev Artisan Baking System is a table-top household appliance that makes fresh tortillas, pita, roti, and other flatbreads, as well as cookies, with a single-serve dough portion, that is as consistent and easy-to-use as a single-serve coffee maker.
The Flatev dough single-serve pods will be produced at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center during the fall of 2017. The appliance and single-serve portions will be sold to a limited number of service hotels, offices, and to consumers shortly thereafter.
“The business began as a result of my interest in producing authentic, healthy tortillas, just like my mother made for me when I was a child growing up in Mexico,” said Carlos Ruiz, Founder, CEO and Chairman of Flatev. “Our Artisan Baking System produces organic, all natural tortillas and flatbreads, which are non-GMO and contain no artificial preservatives or additives. The hot just-baked tortillas, which are ready in less than two minutes, are scrumptious, fresh, and carry an amazing aroma.”
In our article from 2014, where Flatev made their debut at the Internaional Home + Housewares Show, we highlighted the overall features of the machine. It has gone through some design improvements that build on the aesthetic look and feel, but I assume the product quality has remained the same.
I recall that the tortillas from the Flatev machine were delicious and tasted handmade. While they were in town for the show, the Flatev team tested their tortillas against what are considered the best handmade tortillas in Chicago at La Casa de Samuel. The restaurant hosted a tortilla battle where Flatev was lauded for its accomplishments in taste, variety, and convenience.
As you can see in this video, people do love the tortillas:
Flatev raised almost $5 million in its initial round of funding, which enabled the company to complete all of its appliance engineering and dough product development, finalize its prototypes, gain patents on its process, and build a team in both Switzerland and the United States.
We first wrote about their debut in North America in 2014; it has been three years since that successful showing and they are just now ready to mass produce a product to be sold to business and consumers. To give potential inventors a clue as to how long it takes to get from concept, to design, to prototype, demonstrating at a trade show, to serious operating capital, just look at Flatev – nearly seven years of constant hustling, long hours, minor tweaks, major adjustments and above of all, unwavering commitment.
While I am happy for Flatev, their journey is far from over. Even after the first machines show up in restaurants or hotels, convincing consumers to love it enough to want to own one is another task altogether.