Manufacturers of branded bakery products seek to meet both changing consumer perceptions and the needs of the retailers they supply.
Food is complicated, and in its many forms and iterations, it has the power to inspire feelings, emotions, and opinions. As consumers seek products that provide them with what they want and think they need, it puts retailers and manufacturers in a dichotomy. What are the best ways to attract consumers with desirable products while meeting the needs of retailers who need variety and extended shelf life?
It’s no secret the in-store bakery has weathered its fair share of bumps. Despite this, the department remains one of the most attractive areas of the perimeter. Attracting shoppers with scents of rising yeast and warming sugar, it’s easier than ever for consumers to have their cake and eat it too (pun intended). In part, this is due to manufacturers’ continued efforts to offer a line of branded baked goods that consider forgiveness, allergens, clean labels, and durability.
Calls for such hosting are driven by a new generation of buyers, Millennials and Gen Z, who now account for a quarter of all CPG buyers and a third of CPG spend. Smart, demanding and influential, they are leading the charge for products made with better-for-you ingredients, no ingredients, packaged with sustainability in mind.
While there are still burning issues for consumers, there is still a fair balance between what the consumer wants and what the retailer wants when it comes to ingredients, warns David Skinner, marketing director for J. Skinner Baking, based in Omaha, Neb. a supplier of authentic Danish pasta and sweet pasta to thaw and sell.
“Consumers will bend a bit when it comes to the panel of ingredients for a sweet pastry, but it’s always a plus to incorporate a high-level attribute that softens the self-imposed guilt,” he said. he declares. “While it is ideal for us to meet the needs of the consumer in this regard, many retailers demand reasonably stable products. Plus, when you start swapping ingredients, you potentially sacrifice the flavors and textures the consumer has grown to love and associate with the brand.
Getting to know the customer
Changing consumer demographics and changing dietary wants / needs indicate that knowing who is consuming the products you are developing is critical. In this vein, J. Skinner Baking dives deep into the analysis to improve insight into its buying demographics.
Using Martech, or marketing technology, the company searches for relevant and clean data by omitting anomalies and redundancies that can skew the data. The ability to look at information from different points of view involves being aware of survival bias so that you don’t miss out on the real reasons why things work the way they do.
Armed with data and identification of its audience, the company can pivot towards understanding the audience identified through psychographic data, considered the fourth wall when it comes to identifying a target. J. Skinner Baking uses data to generate creative products and calls to action, and is developing an internal Consumer Data Platform (CDP) to link its data silos to paint a more accurate picture of the consumer.
As millennials and millennials continue to demonstrate their willingness to pay for what matters to them, this further pushes manufacturers to meet demands for clean labels, takeout in smaller formats, and focused ingredients. health. Attributes that continue to gain popularity include 100% Natural, Organic, Multigrain, Omega DHA, No HFCS, No Artificial Flavors or Colors, No Artificial Preservatives, No GMOs, No Dairy, Low Carb, and Plant Based. . According to the IDDBA’s “What’s In Store 2020” report, USDA organic and non-GMO products are the main attributes of products sold.
Finding new ways to differentiate themselves could also help manufacturers cope with the massive influx of private label brands into stores. The growing acceptance of private label products by retailers such as Trader Joe’s, Aldi and Costco has set the stage for changing the mindset of consumers, seeing private label products as at least on par with brands. traditional.
“Now you don’t see just a private label alternative, but multiple private label brands with quality and / or health attribute levels,” Skinner said. “This multi-front approach makes it more difficult, but certainly not impossible, for brands to thrive in in-store baking. “
Thrive versus survive
This includes introducing consumers to new ways of seeing traditional baked goods. Launched in 2012, St Pierre Groupe, Manchester, UK, offers a portfolio of products centered around brioche. The range includes traditional sliced brioche buns, buns, hamburger buns and baguettes, as well as decadent buns and buns to share, which are swirled with vanilla custard and chocolate chips.
Since most American consumers didn’t grow up eating brioche, St Pierre Groupe sees an opportunity to educate and show how to use brioche every day, according to Paul Baker, co-founder of St Pierre. Group. Changing perceptions allow the brioche with its rich, tender crumb to be seen as an everyday bakery staple rather than just the occasional treat. Its products strive to be as clean as possible, avoiding soy, HFCS, trans fats and GMO ingredients. The company also offers authentic French croissants and crêpes and traditional Liège-style Belgian waffles.
“We’re seeing more creativity around the flavor and ingredients used in traditional baked goods,” Baker said. “It’s an exciting time for a manufacturer. Americans are much more open to trying new things and looking for new, innovative approaches for familiar formats. “
Skinner Baking and St. Pierre Group are working on new ways to present their products outside of the traditional day. This includes the development of new flavors to bridge the gap between daily slices and the introduction of convenient take-out formats with individually wrapped products in larger packages. St Pierre Groupe’s On the Go range offers individually wrapped pancakes and waffles – perfect for snacks, packed lunches and on-the-go meals. Its brioche waffles and full-size croissants are individually wrapped but sold in a multipack.
When it comes to sizes, Skinner Baking seeks to meet its highest indexing demographics. Still, the company knows it will need to re-evaluate the number and size of products to target new customers. One advantage is that smaller package sizes with individual servings can encourage sales of forgiving products. Smaller individual servings reduce the degree of guilt a consumer experiences when purchasing an indulgent product.
Consumer guilt can manifest itself in many ways, such as the use and consumption of packaging. Recognizing the environmental issues associated with the use of plastics to package its products, Skinner Baking has set out to analyze its packaging from a full life cycle perspective. The first step was logistics, as the company was looking for a closer supplier. The change moved the packaging approximately 1,500 miles away to less than a mile from its facility, essentially eliminating C02 emissions derived from inbound transportation.
The company also avoids the use of virgin plastics for its packaging, using 100% post-consumer recycled PET plastics made from water bottles. To continuously recycle these transparent plastics, Skinner Baking is partnering with How2Recycle, the creator of a standardized labeling system that communicates to the public which parts can be recycled and how best to recycle them.
A better understanding of the how and what of recycling became more important when China decided to stop accepting recyclable materials from the international community in January 2018. Previously, China absorbed 70% of the world’s recyclable materials. Seeking to make their own recycling efforts more efficient, Skinner Baking has teamed up with D6, Inc., a supplier that is tackling this problem with new technology.
“Manufacturing waste is not only an enemy of the bottom line, but also of the environment,” Skinner said. “As we seek to improve our processes, we make sure that the partners who help us automate certain functions work closely with our packaging suppliers. Groups exchange ideas and improvements on each other to minimize waste.
Although consumers continually rank freshness as their most desirable attribute when it comes to food, home kitchens are one of the biggest sources of food waste. While baking without packaging has an advantage in terms of perceived freshness, baking without packaging can be a difficult tactic to implement when you consider the overhead required by the retailer, according to Skinner. Even if the unpackaged baked goods were made in the store or arrived frozen in a bulk tray, display methods imply that the product has been baked in the back.
“Consumers probably assume unpackaged products are fresher, but that’s not always the case,” Baker said. “All of our products are freshly prepared and immediately frozen to ensure freshness and a longer shelf life. They ship frozen to retailers, so they stay very fresh when they hit the shelves.
Overcoming the perceptions of freshness associated with what appears to be a more sustainable option (aka no packaging) will be an ongoing challenge for in-store bakery manufacturers. In such a fast-paced environment, brands must find new ways to connect with consumers through sampling and tasting, promoting brand awareness, and applying technology to determine who buys products.
“It’s going to be tough, but certainly not insurmountable, for in-store bakery brands. For brands to be successful, it will be crucial to market directly to the consumer using the latest marketing technologies, ”concluded Skinner. “The current universe of marketing technology and its respective capabilities are unprecedented, so I suggest taking advantage of it. “