The Untold Truth Of Edwards Frozen Pies

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There's a real appeal to frozen pies: They're convenient, you don't have to make them yourself, and they're often delicious. At least that's the case with Edwards Frozen Pies, which are produced by their parent company, Schwan Food Co. Edwards was founded in Atlanta, Georgia, where it has a rich 70-year history and where its factory remains to this day, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Edwards' treats are available as whole pies as well as individual slices at a multitude of grocers in the U.S. The Edwards website currently features 12 flavors of frozen pies, among them Lemon Crème, Chocolate Whipped Cheesecake, Strawberry Crème, and the brand's famous Key Lime Pie. The Chocolate Crème Pie in particular has gained attention and popularity in more recent times, as many chocolate lovers have noted it's incredibly similar to Burger King's Hershey's Sundae Pie (per reviews on Amazon), and it does contain many of the same ingredients, as seen on the BK website.

While the history is interesting, fair warning: A look into the nostalgia, current production, and booming sales of Edwards Frozen Pies might just leave you craving something sweet.

Edwards Frozen Pies have a rich history and the company hasn't stopped growing

Edwards was founded in 1950 as The Edwards Baking Company, a bakery located in Atlanta, Georgia (via the official website). Owned by Tom Edwards, it was a boutique family business that found itself often delivering its products — mostly pies — to area businesses and institutions. Edwards shifted the bakery's focus completely to pies in no short order, and in the 1960s, the company's first frozen pies were introduced and sold in stores. About a decade later, the brand also started packaging individual slices of pie to be sold in stores.

Schwan Food Co. acquired The Edwards Baking Company in 2001 and rebranded it simply as Edwards, per the company website. In 2014, Schwan's pushed to expand the territory in which Edwards Frozen Pies were sold and enjoyed — while they had a popular following in the eastern U.S., supply on the western side of the country was lacking. In an interview with Baking Business, Schwan Food Co. Vice President of Desserts and Meals Jon Wiersum looked toward the expansion optimistically.

"Edwards has a unique product and a distinctive proposition," Wiersum said. "It is the fastest growing brand of cream pie in the country."

Edwards takes dessert lovers on a trip back through time

Edwards Frozen Pies are reminiscent of a bygone era when icebox sweets and family dinners always followed by dessert were common — and the company has used that perception to its advantage in many ways. A 2013 article published by Dairy Foods states that three new pies, Salted Caramel, Mounds Coconut Crème, and Banana Crème were released that year, with each "focused on nostalgia and indulgence." The Mounds Coconut Crème Pie was reminiscent of the company's original coconut cream pie and the Salted Caramel pick was influenced by dessert trends of yesteryear.

"There are a number of different trends... but I would say nostalgic flavors are big. So the things you remember from your youth, whether it's candy bar flavors, or s'mores, or banana split," said Schwan Food Co. Vice President of Desserts and Meals Jon Wiersum, as quoted in the Dairy Foods article.

But where does Edwards find out what flavors of pies consumers are looking for? Wiersum said the information comes through a combination of public surveys, employee surveys, and evaluations by on-staff chefs who assess dessert fads to come up with flavors that consumers want to enjoy.

A neighborhood in Atlanta smells like Edwards Frozen Pies

Lucky for some people in Atlanta, there's a strong scent of pie in the section of town where the Edwards factory still remains — and those who live near it or pass by love getting the chance to take in the great smells.

"I mostly notice it in the morning," one local resident told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It's this wafting aroma of sweetness that makes you really, really hungry."

The factory, now owned by Schwan's, produces both Edwards and Mrs. Smith's pies, and its staff makes an awful lot of them. About 140,000 pies a day, in fact, which adds up to about 42 million pies per year, per the article.

The production center is pretty cool inside, too, with multiple conveyor belts headed in just as many directions, all moving around different flavors of pies at different stages of assembly as the desserts move from oven to freezer to box, according to the article. Over in another area, cookies for the crust of the pies are made, baked, and crushed into crunchy crumbles to devour. No matter what gets made here, it's always good.

Edwards Frozen Pies are award-winning

In 2007, at the American Pie Council's National Pie Championship, Edwards' Key Lime Pie, Turtle Pie, Banana Crème Pie, and Crème Pie Slices with Reese's Peanut Butter all took home first place prizes in various categories, according to a press release on Cision. In fact, Edwards' Key Lime Pie is often mentioned as one of the brand's top award-winners, including in a frozen pie competition, as noted by the Tampa Bay Times. The judges rated the pie 88 out of 100 points, and all said they would buy one, describing the filling as 'cheesecake-like' and noting the flavor of the graham cracker crust was 'buttery.' One judge commented that the pie would be ideal for a picnic, while another said, "This is cool, yummy with a gentle, lime taste."

Bob Trombino, senior director of marketing and category leadership at Schwan's Consumer Brands, said the pies not only taste good, they also look amazing. "Edwards always looks great — with or without the table linens ... it has the taste [that] can't be beat," he's noted as saying in the press release.

Sales of Edwards Frozen Pies are exploding

Fans of Edwards Frozen Pies are multiplying, and the brand isn't going anywhere any time soon. In fact, Schwan Food Co. Vice President of Desserts and Meals Jon Wiersum says the brand is growing quickly, which Dairy Foods attributes to "its focus on easy indulgence and sticking with tradition."

When selling a dessert, it may seem like an obvious decision to place an emphasis on indulgence, however, Edwards goes above and beyond with house-made cookie crusts, layered flavors, and attention to detail that other frozen pie manufacturers might be lacking.

"There is time and effort put into each pie that consumers don't always associate with a frozen dessert," Wiersum said in the article. When it comes to tradition, Wiersum not only notes the brand's classic pie flavors, but also small details all the way down to the packaging. Edwards Frozen Pies come in an octagon box, which is updated periodically with new photographs of the products. "...[F]or the most part, our brand look has stayed pretty constant over the years," Wiersum added.

Another selling point for the pies is that they are made with quality ingredients, including real Washington apples, Georgia pecans, and Hershey's chocolate (via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). After hearing all this, if you want a slice, it's as easy as heading down to your local grocery store.