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Savoie’s Sausage and Food Products Inc.: Spicing up the Dinner Table with Cajun Culture
Savoie’s Sausage and Food Products Inc. (Savoie’s) has remained a family-owned and -operated company since 1955. Founded by the husband-and-wife team of Tom and Eula Savoie, the Louisiana-based company delivers the best of Cajun culture through specialty meats and food products.
Farm to Large-scale Manufacturer
The operation started out as a hog farm and small, specialty grocery store in 1949, which Tom and Eula owned. When hog sales began to decline in the mid-1950s, the couple started making and packaging meat products with a Cajun flare. To their surprise, these new products launched with great success; the rest is history.
Two factors allowed the newfound business to originally survive; one being location. “At that time the couple’s store was situated on main thoroughfare between Houston and New Orleans during a huge oil boom which increased traffic,” explains Freddie Lafleur, executive vice president at Savoie’s. “This location was really strategic and a huge help for the new enterprise.”
The other contributing factor was good, quality recipes resulting in the finest homemade products. “We’ve been in this area since Tom and Eula founded the company in 1955,” details Lafleur. “All of our products are specific to this region. Over the years, we’ve remained traditional; we’re not trying to be something we’re not. It’s important to us to stick to our roots and the original recipes.”
Lafleur, who’s been with the company since 1983, jumped right into the industry out of college and has since made it his lifelong career. “I’ve been dedicated to this company for over 30 years,” he adds.
The company stays grounded in its heritage, despite significant growth and business all over the southeast. Today, Savoie’s operates out of a manufacturing plant in Opelousas, La., and a distribution center in New Iberia, La. The company’s other location is in Church Point, La., allowing Savoie’s to service customers as far west as Houston and east to the Gulf shores of Alabama and Florida.
Although Savoie’s is able to cover a lot of ground and has expanded significantly since the early years, the team sticks to what it knows best: traditional Cajun foods. Savoie’s stocks a consistent and beloved profile of products, which includes such traditional Cajun staples as smoked andouille sausage, tasso, dressing mix and roux.
The company prides itself in delivering food products that are as much of a family tradition as delicious. Savoie’s specializes in smoked sausages, dressing mix (for dirty rice) and roux (a gumbo base). Also, in 2001 the company launched a line of frozen entrees, which includes chicken and sausage gumbo, shrimp etouffee and pork stew.
Savoie’s particularly specializes in smoked meats and sausages utilizing the same recipes that have been handed down and perfected for over 58 years. “We tend to stick with the same ingredients and recipes, because we know it makes for a consistent product,” admits Lafleur. “We work with the same suppliers when purchasing ingredients. After you’ve developed that relationship with someone, you trust them; we trust they are consistently giving us quality ingredients.”
Although Savoie’s sticks to traditions when it comes to food products, the company is always looking to expand. “We’ve focused our product line primarily on the retail market in chain grocers and smaller independent stores, but our goal is to develop more of an online presence,” shares Lafleur. “We’re currently updating our website [Savoiesfoods.com] to make sure it is more accessible and allows for online orders.” The company is also working on packaging options and widening its distribution range to reach new customers, as well as additional restaurants.
The team at Savoie’s has fought to compete in a tough market during the recession through expansion and SQF-certifying its plants. “We want to expand into new markets and provide to more customers, but we’re really not looking to increase sales at any cost to the product,” stresses Lafleur. “We’ve been in this region, doing this business for over half a century. We stick to what we know and deliver a great product, every time.”
Lafleur admits the economy has thrown some challenges at the company. “It’s made it so we can’t really plan on growth, because no one knows how it’s [the economy] going to do,” explains Lafleur. “Because of this uncertainty we just need to batten down the hatches and be a little more conservative than usual. We just keep doing what we know and what we do best.”
The company understands it’s this tradition that has carried the business through 58 successful, reputation-building years. The company continues to uphold the Cajun culture and products Savoie’s Sausage and Food Products Inc. is so beloved and known for.