Savvy baking companies seize opportunity in bread

by Dan Malovany
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A snapshot of retail bread sales shows that the category remains flat, but several bakers had a banner year in the wake of the collapse of old Hostess Brands and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that changed hands in its aftermath.

Overall, dollar sales for the bread category rose 0.4% to $8.93 billion while units declined by 1.4% for the 52-week period that ended Dec. 1, according to I.R.I., a Chicago-based market research firm. However, the data show double-digit gains for several of the Top 20 brands, including Nature’s Own (19.7%), Sunbeam (25.1%), Pepperidge Farm (22.8%), Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse (15.3%), Bimbo (27.9%), Aunt Millie’s (22.2%), Bunny (15.2%) and Franz (10.6%). Several others posted nice single-digit increases.

In addition to filling the vacuum left by Wonder, Home Pride, Merita and other old Hostess brands in the bread aisle, it seems several savvy baking companies seized a golden opportunity to expand their brands geographically and with new and existing customers.

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