Frosting Creations helps awake ‘sleepy’ baking category

by Eric Schroeder
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PARSIPPANY, N.J. — The Frosting Creations line has helped the Duncan Hines brand of Pinnacle Foods Inc. attract attention to what otherwise has been “a sleepy” baking category with regard to innovation over the past few years, said Bob Gamgort, chief executive officer of Pinnacle Foods.

Introduced early last year, Duncan Hines Frosting Creations is a frosting system that works by pouring one of 12 Frosting Creations flavor combination mixes into a frosting starter. As a result, bakers may develop multiple frosting flavors, including: cinnamon roll, cotton candy, chocolate mint, strawberry shortcake, chocolate almond, bubble gum, orange crème, mocha, chocolate marshmallow, white chocolate raspberry, cherry vanilla and caramel.

The frosting starters range from $1.70 to $1.99, and the flavor mix ranges from 89c to 99c.

In a May 15 conference call to discuss first-quarter financials, Mr. Gamgort elaborated on the impact Frosting Creations have had during their first year on the market.

“Frosting Creations tapped into an insight of customization, but also unique flavors and unique colors,” he said. “Flavors and colors you couldn’t get anywhere else. So the competitive response has been to introduce a number of unique flavors and colors, but not in a system format, in a full format, a full can.”

Mr. Gamgort said competitors’ full format products are getting a lot of trial because of the “novelty and variety factor” that is evident in the baking category, and it’s impossible to tell which of the formats — Frosting Creations’ “system format” or competitors’ full can format — is going to stick long term.

“The good news is that there is a lot of excitement in the category and the baking category was up sharply in the first quarter, which is really nice to see,” he said. “And it is all driven by innovation. I think you’re going to see a lot more innovation out of the baking category because what we are able to show with Frosting Creations is it works. It not only delivers brand growth, but the retailers were really happy with the category growth and, importantly, the profit growth that they got from that.”

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