Does taste really top the list?

by Dan Malovany
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Wenner Bakery garlic knots
When it comes to purchasing snacks or baked foods, nearly all consumer surveys note that taste tops the list.

When it comes to purchasing snacks or baked foods, nearly all consumer surveys note that taste tops the list. In fact, a 2016 Mintel study on food shopping reported taste (83%) is the over-riding factor when it comes to food shopping followed by freshness (76%), cost (72%) and healthfulness (63%). But according to Ben Rizzitello, retail marketing manager for Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based Wenner Bakery, there may be a more important factor that’s often overlooked and tops the list when shoppers are cruising the bread aisle or through the in-store bakery.

“Many people say the driver is taste, but eye appeal comes first,” Mr. Rizzitello observed. “Consumers look for overall appearance and then flavor and price.”

After they pick up the product, a host of issues — especially clean label — come into play, said Alberto Alvarez, Wenner’s marketing director. That’s why it’s almost mandatory that all Wenner Bakery’s new products live up to the clean label status, and it’s become an attractive sales point for both customers and consumers, especially among millennials.

At the store level, however, that clean label message needs to be put in simpler terms.

“Realistically, as consumers, millennials don’t look for the terminology ‘clean label,’” Mr. Rizzitello said. “Rather, we encourage our customers to suggest to consumers, ‘Did you know our products are made with simple ingredients?’ Once they start pushing that message in the stores, millennials will relate to it more than a clean label phrase. The product becomes more attractive. The ingredients speak for themselves.”

Initially, the beauty of a product and its packaging attracts shoppers, but in the end, it’s what’s inside that counts. 

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