Before Skinner Baking Co. rolled out its branded line, the executives at the Omaha, NE-based company wondered how its major in-store bakery customers would respond to replacing their private-label baked sweet goods with the J. Skinner brand. To respond to this tricky proposition, the company came out with its “Our Brand Means Business” trade marketing campaign, which included full-page color ads in national trade and bakery publications. At the same time, consumer advertising including point-of-sale materials, table displays and, in selected markets, radio broadcasts, digital outdoor advertising and major event sponsorships got underway.

Now, it has the numbers to back up its initiative. According to Symphony/IRI scanner data released by the company, Skinner Baking experienced 13.4% sales growth in the mature Pastry/Danish/Cake category, which saw overall sales decline 0.5% for the 52 weeks ending Feb. 20, 2011.

While private label still remains a significant part of its business, the company’s growth now comes from the branded side. “The retail trade has responded favorably to our strategy as they see us bringing new consumers into this important category for the in-store bakery,” noted Gary Kyle, vice-president of marketing.

Major accounts with more than 60% of the national all-commodity volume have already converted their Danish offerings in the in-store bakery from private label to the new J. Skinner brand. As a result, its customers who made the switch to branded products are seeing year-over-year dollar sales increases in the range of 15 to 30%, according to Mr. Kyle.