SCHAUMBURG, ILL. — Gonnella Baking Co., a baker of Italian- and French-style bread operating primarily in the Chicago area, is shifting its focus toward its rapidly growing frozen baked bread business.

To accommodate the transition, Gonnella said it will no longer distribute “fresh bread” to restaurants and other food service outlets in the Chicago area. Tom Marcucci, vice-president of sales and marketing at Gonnella, said “fresh bread” in this case refers to bread baked in the last 12 to 18 hours.

“We did this so we can grow, because we’re transitioning to full frozen baked bread manufacturing,” Mr. Marcucci said. “The (fresh bread) routes business was legacy and over time had become smaller. It just became time to focus on the greatest potential.”

Mr. Marcucci said Gonnella is not closing any baking plants or shutting any production lines. He said fresh bread accounted for only about 4% to 5% of total production at the Aurora, Ill., plant, and most of the fresh stock-keeping units that have been phased out are still being baked and distributed in a frozen format.

Approximately 40 employees will be affected by the transition. Mr. Marcucci said many of those impacted have found other employment or have been offered other opportunities within Gonnella.

“Our business is growing vigorously,” Mr. Marcucci said. “Natural frozen baked lines are experiencing explosive growth, and this has presented us another opportunity to engage our national partners is a more serious way.”

Founded in 1886, Gonnella Baking operates three locations: the baking plant in Aurora and two frozen dough facilities in Schaumburg and Hazle Township, Pa. The company’s products include French bread and sub rolls, hot dog and hamburger buns, pretzel bread bun and rolls, table and specialty bread, ciabatta bread, and dinner rolls and breadsticks.