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    EDITOR’S NOTE: Mix it Up

    There’s plenty cooking in the retail bakery industry of late. From major deals to wide-ranging sustainability plans to a bold foray into the better-for-you business to a brand-new must-attend show, bakery has been making some decisive moves that are bound to be reflected in supermarkets across the country.

    First off, Sara Lee has agreed to sell its profitable North American refrigerated dough business to Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products Inc. in a multimillion-dollar transaction that will enable Sara Lee to focus on its branded meats and frozen desserts, while Ralcorp looks forward to private-brand baked goods leadership and significant value for its shareholders.

    Chabaso Bakery’s “Chabaso Green” program, which encompasses such elements as the use of energy-efficient light bulbs, enthusiastically embraced employee health initiatives, company-vendor collaborations on recycling and sustainable packaging, and even a way to recycle heat from its ovens for winter use in a community greenhouse garden, has proved not only to be a winner for the environment, but also for the New Haven, Conn.-based company’s bottom line. And further green of both types is apparently in the offing. As Chabaso COO Tom Lowenthal says, “The Chabaso Green program is a reflection of our products and business philosophy in ways that foreshadow continued success.”

    Health-and-wellness trends have begun to influence bakery offerings as well, so Baker’s Pride made the savvy decision to hire an expert to expand its reach into the better-for-you products segment. As the company’s newly minted VP of sales and marketing, former Kraft Foods exec Louis Mastriano will guide Baker’s Pride to “effectively position [such] products in the marketplace,” in the words of CEO Ron Danko Sr.

    And the inaugural All Things Baking, scheduled for early October in Chicago, promises to generate buzz among attendees from all sectors looking to grow their businesses. This all-new reincarnation of the Retail Bakers show is a joint development of the Retail Bakers of America, the American Bakers Association and BEMA.

    Even over in the center store baking aisle, Duncan Hines is continuing to raise its profile by providing unique baked treats at Primetime Emmy events for the second year in a row, and making the exclusive recipes available for fans of the iconic Pinnacle Foods brand to whip up at home.

    With all of this activity and innovation, supermarkets can expect a lot of good changes where it counts -- in the quality and sales of their baked goods products and related items.

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