Who Invented the Toaster Strudel? (Invention Timeline Explained)

Forty years since it first appeared on the market, Toaster Strudel has become a part of many Americans’ childhood. Made from layers of thin dough sheets with a sweet fruity filling, it has been on the breakfast table or in the meal boxes of kids and families for decades. 

The development of a convenient, easy-to-prepare pastry has amazingly captured the interest of consumers back in the day. Stored in a freezer for days and placed in a toaster for minutes, you have a ready-to-go strudel packed for the day. All these are thanks to the man behind its invention. Who could that man be?

Who invented the Toaster Strudel?

Although General Mills presently owns Toaster Strudel, it was initially marketed under the Pillsbury brand. The credit duly goes to the original product developer Joe Perozzi after responding to the company’s challenge of creating a new product. 

Toaster Strudel key contributors

  • Habsburg Empire
    Strudel became a popular cuisine.

    Throughout the Habsburg Empire in the 18th century, strudels have been a part of Central European, mainly Austrian, cuisines. It is considered a traditional agri-food product in Italy.

  • Joe Perozzi
    The product developer that led to the invention of the product

    The original Pillsbury Company envisioned introducing a new product to the market and asked their research and development team to come up with an idea. In response to Pillsburg’s challenge, Joe Perozzi created and developed the recipe for Toaster Strudel. After then, the company introduced the product to the market and successfully gained traction.

  • General Mills
    The current owner of the Toaster Strudel product line

    Upon purchase of the Pillsbury brand, General Mills further pushed Toasted Strudel to the market and even boosted its foreign branding in the industry.

  • Lacey Chabert
    Iconized the Toaster Strudel

    Lacey Chabert is an actress who played Gretchen Wieners in the 2004 teen comedy film “Mean Girls.” In the movie, she claimed that her father invented the Toaster Strudel. She said that it is where their family got their fortune. The film has undoubtedly made the brand famous.

  • Hans Strudel
    The new face of the Toaster Strudel brand

    Hans Strudel is a fictional brand ambassador of Toaster Strudel. He is presented as a fun, quirky young boy from a mythical island called Breakfürg, a place of happy people where breakfast is served all day long. He encourages people to start mornings right by showing up at houses and giving an extra push to wake people when the alarm clock goes off.The main goal of using him as the face of the campaign is to broaden the brand’s reach by appealing to moms and the millennials in the household.

When was Toaster Strudel invented?

Toaster Strudel’s development origin was traced back to 1979 when Pillsbury company challenged Joe Perozzi to develop a new and unique recipe for the market. Since then, the formula has undergone research and development until the Toaster Strudel product line was officially launched in 1985. 

A brief history of Toaster Strudel

Toaster Strudel traces its start back to 1979. Pillsbury was trying to develop a new product to be introduced to the market. The challenge was accepted by the research and development team, and the Joe Perozzi, the product developer, came up with a new recipe. He made flat pastries and tried to fill them with raspberry preserves. From then on, the fresh pastry was developed from scratch. 

In 1985, Pillsbury first launched the product, calling it Toaster Strudel. The name clicked and has quickly paved its way successfully in the market. Its first flavors included Blueberry, Strawberry, Raspberry, and Cinnamon. Later on, Cherry and Apple flavored strudels were made available. 

The company continued to produce Toaster Strudels not until after three years. Pillsbury decided to accept the death of Toaster Strudel in 1988 due to a plant consolidation to help save money and protect the company. Fortunately, people wanted to bring back Toaster Strudel, and the company saw its marketing potential. In 1990, a complete relaunch of the product was held. The Toaster Strudel brand changed its advertising claim of being a family breakfast food to also being a snack. In 1992, Toaster Strudel was registered as a trademark.

The company stepped up its advertisement further in 1994, launching the brand with the slogan “Something better just popped up.”

In 2001, General Mills purchased the company Pillsbury, thus getting a hand over the Toaster Strudel product line.

In the August of 2013, the company decided to increase Toaster Strudel’s foreign branding. They introduced Hans Strudel, a fictional character in the face of a bubbly German boy, as the brand ambassador. The launch was accompanied by a new message: “Get Zem Göing.” Up to this day, Toaster Strudels are still available in the market, though not as popular as they used to be.

Toaster Strudel timeline

  1. 1980s
    Food manufacturing has undergone innovations

    Due to innovations in the food manufacturing processes, all frozen breakfast foods, such as pancakes, waffles, and yes, Toaster Strudel, have boomed in the 1980s.

  2. 1979
    The start of Toaster Strudel’s development

    Pillsbury challenged its research and development team, under Joe Perozzi, the  product developer to come up with something new. In response, he used raspberry preserves to fill the tiny flat pastries, and the recipe was developed. 

  3. 1985-1988
    Rise and fall of Toaster Strudel

    The brand was born officially in 1985. The first flavors of Toaster Strudel were out in the market, which included Blueberry, Strawberry, Raspberry, and Cinnamon.In 1988, the company consolidated to give up the Toaster Strudel product line due to the need to save money and protect the company.

  4. 1990-1994
    Relaunch of the Toaster Strudel

    The complete relaunch of the product was carried out in 1990 and was registered as a trademark in 1992.It was initially intended to be a breakfast goodie but advertising it as a snack brought much marketing potential.Toaster Strudel underwent a brand revolution in 1994 and advertised the product with the slogan “Something better just popped up.”

  5. 2001
    General Mills acquired the product line.

    General Mills purchased Pillsbury, therefore taking over the Toaster Strudel product line up to this day.

  6. 2013
    A dreamed-up character was launched as the brand ambassador, and the slogan was changed. 

    In August 2013, the company introduced a German character named Hans Strudel as their brand ambassador. The brand’s new catchphrase, “Get Zem Göing,” was also born, increasing their foreign branding.

Where was Toaster Strudel invented?

Toaster Strudel was officially invented in the United States. It was marketed under the Pillsbury brand and later under General Mills with its purchase of Pillsbury. 

Why do people love Toaster Strudel?

  • It is portable

    With its size and simplicity, you can grab a toasted strudel and go. Perfect for eating anywhere at any time.

  • It is convenient and easy to prepare

    Toaster Strudels are prepared in minutes by simply heating them in a toaster and spreading the icing in its packaging.

  • It was a breakfast favorite

    The sweetness and tastiness of Toaster Strudels made their way to the breakfast table. They were enjoyed by families, especially kids, in the mornings.

Toaster Strudel by the numbers

  • 12Toaster Strudel has 12 different varieties available. The original flavors are Strawberry, Blueberry, Cinnamon, and Raspberry. Meanwhile, other varieties include Apple, Cherry, Cream Cheese, Wildberry, Boston cream pie, Chocolate, and Golden Grahams.
  • 2Toaster Strudels come in two packaging quantities: 6 ct. and 12 ct.
  • 37Since 1985, who would have thought that the famous Toaster Strudels are presently 37 years in the market?
  • 350It’s the total calories per serving size of 2 pastries with icing (110g), as written in the product’s nutrition facts.
  • $2.32The current price of a 6 ct. 11.7 oz Strawberry Toaster Pastries Pillsbury Toaster Strudel

Five facts about Toaster Strudel

  • In competition with Pop Tarts

    Under the Pillsbury brand, the Toaster Strudel brand found its way to success since launched in 1985 and has been a competitor of Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts, a brand of non-frozen toaster pastries.

  • Mean Girls Toaster Strudel existed

    Pillsbury launched a limited-edition of Mean Girls Toaster Strudel after Lacey Chabert iconized the Toaster Strudel in the said film.

  • It is Rachel McAdams’ favorite

    At the 2014 Sundance festival, Rachel McAdams mentioned that the Toaster Strudel was among her favorites.

  • Historically notable as a frozen pastry

    During the 1980s, at the height of innovations in food manufacturing, the brand has been notable for being a frozen good, giving a different impression of quality.

  • Not only for toasters

    Toaster Strudels do not only belong in the toaster. Still, they can also be heated using a microwave for about a minute or less.

Toaster Strudel invention FAQs

  • What happens if you leave a Toaster Strudel out overnight?

    Toaster Strudels must be kept in the freezer until ready to consume. Otherwise, they can be deemed unfit for consumption if left outside after 12 hours.

  • How long should a Toaster Strudel be in a toaster?

    As the toasting instruction states, frozen Toaster Strudels must be placed on a toaster and toast on low or medium heat. It should be done on each side for eight to ten minutes until a golden-brown colored crust is achieved.

  • Can you eat Toaster Strudels raw?

    Toaster Strudels are not sold pre-cooked. Since the pastry is entirely raw, it would be best if cooked, although it will not cause food poisoning when eaten as it is.

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