RIDGEFIELD, NJ — In 2020, Harry Toufayan, founder of Toufayan Bakeries was inducted into the Baking Hall of Fame by the American Society of Baking. Mr. Toufayan has been widely recognized for taking pita and flatbreads of Middle East to mainstream popularity across the U.S, through tireless innovative commercialization in baking and marketing.
“For 2021, the Baking Hall of Fame committee selected innovators who have earned the respect of their customers, suppliers, communities and industry,” said Rowdy Brixey, chair of the A.S.B. Baking Hall of Fame Evaluation Committee and president of Brixey Engineering, Inc., Holt, Mo. “It is our honor, to recognize individuals who have contributed strongly to the industry and gratifying to see consumers drawn to baked goods during these stressful times.”
The Toufayan family has been baking since 1926, initially in Egypt, where the family lived before immigrating to America in the 1960s. Harry and his father began in a bakery below their two-bedroom apartment baking the pitas and other products by hand. One day, while standing in line at a supermarket deli counter in New Jersey, Harry Toufayan realized American consumers might love the pocketed pita bread his family had been making for decades. He packed up some fresh pitas and began the task of introducing deli, supermarket and health food store buyers to stock this new, previously unknown bread, changing the baked breads category in the process. And as demand grew Harry thrived at working with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to design and build never-before built equipment to automate the process of making bread of his childhood in order to keep up with demand.“We are beyond proud of our father and what he has accomplished,” said Greg, Kristine and Karen Toufayan who head Operations, Finance and Marketing within the organization. “He has taught us the value of hard work, the true meaning of integrity and everything we know and love about bread. Of course, we still have a lot to learn, which is just fine, because Harry is still very much at work every day still striving for perfection in all the products we bake. We are thrilled to celebrate this honor with him, the entire team at Toufayan, and our cherished retail and restaurant partners nationwide.”
Mr. Toufayan built and continues his support for dozens of Armenian institutions in both America and Armenia, such as Armenian schools in NJ and NY, Churches in NJ and NY from both Diocese and prelacy, children’s centers, music schools, and veteran rehab center in Armenia. He is a proud American citizen and philanthropist as well. He regularly supports many local non-profits, schools, and local charities and steps up to help fellow Americans when the need is unexpected. For example, in April 2020, instead of applying for PPP, Toufayan continued to work, in-person, baking bread along with dedicated staff. He donated $100,000 to food banks each in NJ and Florida communities where the bakeries are located, as thanks he still had a business and to help those facing job loss and worse during COVID-19.
“The Toufayan family’s been baking breads with quality and care since the beginning. Still family-owned over 90 years later, we’re one of the largest, privately-held specialty bakeries in the United States, filling lunch bags, toasters and tummies with our fresh flatbreads, pitas, bagels and snack-time yummies. Toufayan® Bakeries produces over 100 varieties of baked goods daily, including product options and innovations created to meet a variety of specific consumer needs, such as Low Carb Bagels and Gluten-Free Wraps.”