ATLANTA — Foodservice bagel giant Einstein Bros. is finding an eager audience for its products in the retail channel.
At the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association’s annual show held earlier this month in Atlanta, Einstein’s Andrew Heald said the company’s goal in branching out into grocery over the past 12 months was to give the brand’s fans the opportunity to enjoy Einstein’s every day at their convenience.
“Maybe they don’t live near an Einstein’s, or it’s closed,” Mr. Heald said. “We want to serve our customers wherever they shop. It’s been a challenging launch, but we’re really excited.”
Some retailers are stocking Einstein’s bagels in their instore departments, some in the bread aisle, Mr. Heald said. And Publix has a store-within-a-store concept where Einstein’s bagels are baked on site. Earlier this year, Einstein added its Take & Toast Bagels to shelves of Walmart in more than 3,500 locations nationwide.
For now, Einstein’s retail product is available in four flavors: plain, everything, cinnamon raisin and asiago. Those four account for 80% of the chain’s foodservice sales, Mr. Heald said.
Einstein sees strong demand for a better bagel at retail, he added.“Thirty percent of customers say that grocery bagels are not that fresh,” he noted.