Beyond just ‘a loaf of bread’

by Dan Malovany
Share This:
B.B.U.’s premium bread business — specifically its Arnold, Brownberry and Oroweat brands — remains solid.

Executives at Bimbo Bakeries USA (B.B.U.) recently made some astute observations during a conference call with analysts. They noted the overall bread category is trending down 2% to 3% — it varies on different geographic areas — and described the market as “a soft consumption category.” Specifically, private label and mainstream branded bread — often referred to as “commodity” items — are taking it on the chin while B.B.U.’s premium bread business — specifically its Arnold, Brownberry and Oroweat brands — remains solid.

Some pundits may blame the challenges in the bread aisle on gluten-free and other dietary headwinds, but if so, why do B.B.U.’s sweet baked goods continue to perform well? Perhaps it’s not so much the health-and-wellness movement as consumers’ perception of packaged sandwich bread against a backdrop of more fresh, relevant alternatives offered within in-store bakeries and throughout the perimeter of the store.

Likewise, packaged bread finds increased competition from food service establishments, where specialty bread and rolls are positioned as higher-end components of the overall convenient, on-the-go sandwich eating occasion. Look at how even quick-service restaurants now rely on brioche and pretzel rolls — just to name two popular trending sandwich carriers — to reposition, refresh and enhance their menu selections.

Maybe it’s a marketing issue. Sandwich bread producers need to steal a page from the food service industry and position their products as key components of a broader eating experience. They need to find a way to go beyond just selling a “loaf of bread” and engage consumers in a way that is more relevant to today’s consumption preferences and changing lifestyles.

Comment on this Article
We welcome your thoughtful comments. Please comply with our Community rules.

The views expressed in the comments section of Baking Business News do not reflect those of Baking Business News or its parent company, Sosland Publishing Co., Kansas City, Mo. Concern regarding a specific comment may be registered with the Editor by clicking the Report Abuse link.