Stephen Ross, Staff Writer
Castroville News Bulletin, December 11, 2014
Lori and Benny Krieger’s business Taste Elevated will soon be based out of Castroville.
“We started the company on fig chutney made from fruit growing in our backyard,” Lori Krieger said. “I grew up in Castroville and my mom used to make preserves. We always had our pantries full, but everyone grew tired of it. I wanted to do something different so I started fig chutney.”
The market for specialty food products is saturated and difficult to break into but Krieger’s background in marketing and public relations helped find their company niche.
“I had some skills in my back pocket that I knew would be beneficial for the company,” Krieger said. “I knew I had to have at least six products that were going to be very different from any other product on the shelf.”
The Kriegers first broke into the market after a San Antonio Central Market Rep read about Taste Elevated on a local blog. He asked Krieger to give a presentation about their product and the meeting went well.
“Central Market picked up our products in San Antonio,” Krieger said. “I am a very persistent person and that has a lot to do with where we are today. I went to every Central Market in Texas and begged for meetings – when I got one I went all out and presented my food in the best possible way to the management.”
Thanks to their motivated persistence, Taste Elevated’s success doesn’t end with a Central Market deal. Three months ago, the Kriegers reached a deal with the southwest region of Whole Foods and will launch their products in all 40 stores. Krieger has since quit her job as a marketing rep to focus on their business full-time.
“We have finally decided to start manufacturing everything ourselves,” Krieger said. “Taste Elevated will be based and operate here in Castroville – I was born and raised here and we want to keep the business in the city.”
The Kriegers have begun renovations on their downtown rental property and hope to have the business up and running by spring.
“This is exciting and terrifying at the same time,” Krieger said. “But we’re happy for Taste Elevated to be back in Castroville.”