Dave’s Killer Bread outlines national ambitions

by Dan Malovany
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MILWAUKIE, ORE. – To serve its ever-growing geographic market — as well as provide deeper market penetration in territories such as California — Dave’s Killer Bread (DKB) now partners with two co-manufacturers and is looking possibly to link up with others as it takes its regional brand to a national level, said John Tucker, president and chief executive officer of the Milwaukie-based company.

Additionally, he noted the company is keeping its options open and also may explore building a bakery to better serve the eastern half of the nation.

“The key to expansion from an operations standpoint is finding good co-manufacturers with a willingness to deliver the quality of products that we produce in our facility,” Mr. Tucker explained.

Today, Mr. Tucker said, the brand is sold in select markets in 17 states throughout the West and Northwest, and the brand should branch out coast-to-coast, starting by the end of this year.

To raise retailer awareness, the $70 million company attended the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery trade show held this past June in Denver where its black, white and red “Baked Boldly” message plastered the booth.

Earlier this year, Michelle Hunt, vice-president of marketing, noted, DKB “assaulted” Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., for the second time, and more than 400 voting members of the media named the company’s 21 Whole Grain and Seeds bread as one of the “Best of West” at the show.

However, because the nutritionally power-packed loaves sell for about $5 a loaf, going national does not mean the brand will blanket the country or be sold in every retailer or every market.

Rather, Mr. Tucker noted the company is analyzing consumer trends and compiling demographic, household consumption and supermarket scanning data to highlight opportunities and identify what he calls “white spaces” in the market.

In some cases, Ms. Hunt suggested, expanding the bakery’s geographic footprint will involve a retailer-by-retailer approach. The key is “seeding the market,” which allows DKB to selectively collaborate with potential customers who identify most strongly with the brand.

“It all starts with our retail partners,” she said. “The bread needs to be a perfect match, and we need to work with our retail partners to help us find the right consumers.”

In the future, look for Dave’s Killer Bread to go beyond the 12 varieties of bread it currently offers, Ms. Hunt predicted.
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