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Sure, cakes and pies represent a substantial portion of the frozen baked goods segment, but there are other items, too, and Norwalk, Conn.-based Pepperidge Farm has seen success with several of these, which consumers are increasingly adapting to fit their individual needs.
"We have found that consumers are thinking of and using our frozen products in different ways than ever before," says Sharon Stenger, the company's business director-frozen. "Pepperidge Farm breads and rolls, such as Stone Baked Artisan Rolls, Texas Toast and [the] new Microwaveable Loaf, continue to be used as meal accompaniments, but consumers are also getting more creative when it comes to these products. For example, instead of following the preparation instructions on the Texas Toast package, consumers are grilling the thick slices or using them as a base to a delicious sandwich or juicy burger."
Pepperidge Farm introduced the Microwaveable Loaf, available in both Garlic and Mozzarella varieties, this past February. "The flavorful loaves brown, crisp, and cook evenly in the microwave with patented QuiltWave technology in just three to four minutes," notes Stenger.
She foresees more products employing such technology, based on consumer demands for quick convenience: "We listened to our consumers and took their insights to leverage packaging innovation to change the game of the frozen bread aisle. For example, we understood that the majority of our consumers are time-constrained eaters. Thanks to [the] Microwaveable Loaf, consumers don't have to preheat an oven and wait over 30 minutes to cook a loaf of bread. They can enjoy warm, crunchy Pepperidge Farm bread in a fraction of the time."
The company also offers 3-Layer Cakes and Puff Pastry and Turnovers in the frozen segment.
Features + Display
Making sure these products sell depends on deploying features and display in concert, according to Stenger. "Features, which are retailer-specific ads, drive awareness before or upon entrance to the shopping trip, so the items are placed on the shoppers' grocery list," she explains. "Display means getting placement in a secondary part of the store, a bit difficult with limited extra space available for frozen brands. When combining feature and display together, a brand can get very strong incremental lifts ... much higher than just a price reduction, or one of the tactics used alone."
Online efforts also play their part. "Many digital shopper marketing tactics can be used to pinpoint those shoppers who are most likely to purchase a given brand and drive them into a particular retailer to buy that brand," asserts Stenger. "This can be useful to increase ROIs of a program."
Noting that a key advantage of offering frozen baked goods is "that the freezer extends the delicious, homemade taste of Pepperidge Farm's breads and rolls – allowing for that fresh-from-the-oven taste at a moment's notice," Stenger reaffirms the company's commitment to the segment: "By offering frozen baked goods, Pepperidge Farm is able to be a part of an important category that is constantly changing to reflect the needs of various consumers. Not only do the annual sales in the category make this a meaningful one, but the ever-evolving perception of frozen and refrigerated foods does as well."
Rolling Out More Dough
In the realm of refrigerated baked goods, Pepperidge Farm has expanded distribution of Pepperidge Farm Refrigerated Dough, originally available only at Walmart, and added three new flavors: Strawberry, Chocolate and Apple Cinnamon.
"These indulgently filled crescents are the perfect sweet treat to serve to your family," observes Sharon Stenger, business director-frozen at Norwalk, Conn.-based Pepperidge Farm. "Additionally, consumers of all ages will enjoy the innovative aspect of rolling out the refrigerated dough, applying the filling packet that is included, and baking these sweet, flaky treats."
Eli's Cheesecake Co. isn't the only one to launch a "cheesecake" without the cheese. Daiya Foods is launching a dairy-, gluten- and soy-free product it's dubbed a "Cheezecake" in four varieties: New York, Key Lime, Chocolate and Strawberry.
"We’re very proud to be a small company that truly listens to its consumers," said Michael Lynch, VP of marketing for Vancouver, British Columbia-based Daiya, "and what we heard loud and clear from them was the need of a dairy-free solution to desserts. Whether you practice an alternative diet or have allergy restrictions, we know our Cheezecakes will delight the taste buds no matter what your lifestyle is."
Featuring creamy, smooth textures; rich fillings; and artisanal gluten-free crusts, the frozen cakes will retail for $8.99 each. Daiya's product lineup also includes dairy-, gluten- and soy-free pizza and nondairy Cream Cheese Style Spreads, Slices, Blocks and Shreds.