Progressive Grocer

SEP 2016

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Bakery Fresh Food T he weather outside may not be anywhere near frightful yet, but grocers are already dreaming of year-end holiday sales in the in-store bakery. "During the fall and winter, the baker- ies become the destination within the store," affirms Gaston Luna, director of bakery for Lubbock, Texas-based United Supermarkets, noting the sections' "specialty items, classic sweets and holiday bakery items that are of- fered exclusively for that time period. Guests await the season and [the] overall experience of a sweets wonderland." With that the case, Luna asserts: "Our plan is to exceed guests' expectations, surprise them through selection, taste and overall shopping experience, truly making it a holiday destination." How does United, which operates 42 stores throughout the Lone Star State, go about creating that sense of destination? "By making an [event] out of merchandis- ing displays, with engaging signage, life- style, delicious images [that show texture] and educational pieces [on] 'why these items are so special,'" Luna says, adding as an example, "We will be having a pecan pie event during the holidays, showcasing different varieties and tastes." When it comes to what other products to stock, he observes that United is "always researching trending opportunities. For the holiday season, specialty breads, rolls and baked pies are the main drivers; those items bring people together to share a meal. … Taking this to the next step, we will be offering a variety of specialty pies that will entice guests." The Right Stuff Reinforcing anecdotal reports from stores, research shows that the holidays represent a sizable selling opportunity in the department. "In-store bakery sales typically peak at the holiday season, as the demand for cakes, pies, cookies and other specialty desserts experi- ences triple-digit lifts versus off-peak, every- day item sales," says Julie Dunmire, director of marketing-frozen at Jackson, Mich.-based Dawn Foods, citing Nielsen data. "While Christmas is the biggest driver of sales in the in-store bakery, optimizing product assortment in key categories at Halloween and anksgiving also can pay off." Among Dawn's holiday offerings are Mousse Tortes, Waterfall Dessert Cakes and Triple Layer Dessert Cakes, as well as seasonal brownies and other items in festive flavors. It's important to know what's popular at what time, of course. "Key bakery categories tend to overindex during certain holidays throughout the year," says Jill Poulemanos, senior channel marketing manager at Sandy Rolling in Holiday Dough Grocers can maximize sales of seasonally appropriate baked goods. By Bridget Goldschmidt 124 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | September 2016

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