In the vast ocean that is the in-store bakery, wholesale manufacturers can have a tough time standing out. Not so for Skinner Baking Co., Omaha, NE, whose J. Skinner-branded gourmet pastries boast imaginative names to lure consumers — and the quality to ensure they come back for more.
The bakery drew inspiration for its creative naming convention from another company known for its indulgent foods. “Nobody’s done it better than Ben & Jerry’s,” said Gary Kyle, Skinner Baking’s vice-president, marketing. “There’s some intrigue. To the consumer, those names prompt a ‘Boy, I wonder what that tastes like’ reaction. ‘It really sounds good and different. I’m going to buy it.’ And then all of a sudden, they’re hooked.”
For its most recent introduction, Perfect for Two pastries, Skinner Baking continued its gourmet momentum. Bavarian Crème Serenade, Cherry Cheese Concerto and Cinnamon
Symphony varieties sing out to potential buyers from the full-color cardboard sleeves wrapped around tamper-evident plastic clamshells that contain microwaveable trays.
A new development for the company, the microwaveable trays came out of its signature in-depth consumer research. “When shoppers buy pastries in the in-store bakery, a pretty good percentage like to microwave them slightly before they consume them,” Mr. Kyle said. “It brings out the best overall taste and mouthfeel.”
The main driver behind the Perfect for Two product launch also came from this consumer research, which found 57% of US households have only one or two members. “When shopping for dessert, these one- and two-member households have pretty much two options,” Mr. Kyle explained. “They either buy too much or not enough. Realizing that these shoppers were limited in their dessert selection, we decided to do something about it.”
With 8- to 10-oz net weights, the Perfect for Two offerings are more manageable for smaller households than the company’s usual 16- to 22-oz strip Danish, cinnamon rolls and other European-style pastries. The pastries carry price tags between $2.99 and $3.29, depending on the retailer’s margin requirements.
Skinner is also exploring moving beyond the in-store bakery and into convenience stores to tap into the on-the-go market. Besides their low price point, what Perfect for Two products have going for them is quality. “[Our pastries are] not the typical belly-fillers that you find in convenience stores,” Mr. Kyle said. “Ours are really upscale, high-quality, European-style pastries that we think consumers are really looking for. We’ve done all the traditional Skinner things.”
Those traditions include painstakingly combining 100 layers of dough for Old World authenticity and featuring higher levels of inclusions such as pecans, raisins and filling than consumers typically expect. “We think Perfect for Two delivers the best of both worlds,” Mr. Kyle said. “They’re indulgent desserts with sensible, yet satisfying, servings.”
Mr. Kyle’s passion for Skinner Baking is clear, as is the company’s penchant for sending more new products down the pipe. “We see this as a line that has legs and has the ability to extend into different flavors and varieties,” he said. “We’re already working in that regard.”
Whatever’s next, it’s sure to be music to consumers’ ears as well as their mouths.