Instead of developing new products from scratch, several international bakeries simply import some of their most popular products from Europe to see if they would play in the North American market.

In many ways, these companies are stealing a page out of the playbook of many US bakeries that brought over their favorite families’ formulas from their homelands or new products they discovered while traveling overseas.

For instance, Premier Foods, St. Albans, UK, introduced its top-selling cake brand, Mr Kipling, at the recent International Dairy Deli Bakery Association’s (IDDBA) annual show. The individually wrapped, single-serve, frosted sponge cakes are sold in six packs and come in chocolate, vanilla, lemon and salted caramel varieties.

Helen Pike, business manager, Canada, noted the products have an 18-month shelf life when shipped frozen from the UK and 31 to 39 days after they’re slacked out. Like many international companies, the initial goal is to establish a brand presence in North America with the possibility of building a bakery if the volume warrants it.

Meanwhile, Lantmannen Unibake USA tested sweet goods concepts at IDDBA 2022 from its European bakeries. The company, which operates a specialty bread bakery in St. Petersburg, Fla., featured a Red Velvet Swirl from its UK bakery that combines its flaky, European-style, laminated Danish dough filled with a cake batter.

“When you eat the product, you get layers of Danish and cake,” noted Scott Rosenberg, director of marketing for the Lisle, Ill.-based company. “Our products are unique and higher quality than the domestically made products that you find in the market. American Danish is laminated at a higher rate, so it ends up being a ‘breadier’ product, and our dough, when you test it with consumers, compares to croissant-style dough.”

From its Denmark bakery, Lantmannen Unibake featured a large-format, shareable Danish in a festive star shape filled with cinnamon and apples with a streusel topping. The pre-proofed, freezer-to-oven product can be baked off in 20 minutes.

“In Europe, they use this product as a Christmas item, but in the United States, we think it’s relevant year around,” Mr. Rosenberg noted.

At IDDBA 2022, Ditsch USA tested individually wrapped, microwaveable, sweet and savory pretzel sticks that come filled with cream cheese, chocolate or salted caramel as well as various flavored butter and cheese varieties. Gary Gottenbusch, president of the Cincinnati-based company, noted the filled sticks were developed with US collaboration and imported from fellow bakeries in Germany.

“German products sell because they are made there, especially when it comes to pretzels,” he said. “People believe in that authenticity, and that’s fantastic.”

The US pretzel bakery also produces pretzel sticks, twists and slider buns, and recently rolled out its popular bites with blueberry-flavored inclusions and a cinnamon sugar pack.

“We’re giving people opportunities to eat our products for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Mr. Gottenbusch explained. “We’re trying to get them to focus on eating pretzels 24 hours a day.”

Marijampole, Lithuania-based Mantinga, UAB, which exports to 35 countries, featured a colorful array of donuts filled with creamy chocolate, caramel and fruit fillings. Arnas Valiukas, chief manager for export sales, mentioned the bakery also offers 120 different products ranging from artisan breads and pizza dough to calzones, handheld pastries and mini-tarts with a variety of vegetable, cheese and meat fillings.

Research indicates that authenticity is key with retailers and consumers when it comes to the St. Pierre Bakery brand, noted David Wagstaff, vice president of North America, for the Manchester, UK-based business.

For 18 years, the company imported its line of French baked goods from its manufacturing partner in France. Four years ago, to shorten the supply chain and improve customer service, the partnership also opened two additional bakeries in Canada.

During the past few years, Mr. Wagstaff said, St. Pierre Bakery has invested $10 million in its supply chain, bolstering warehouse and inventory capacity for serving the US market during peak cycles. The company is looking to introduce additional, French-inspired items early next year.

“The fact that our product is imported resonates with retailers and shoppers because we really do cut no corners with our products,” Mr. Wagstaff said. “The bakeries are run by French personnel. They work with French recipes so the authenticity remains. We’re just making it cost-effective because we’re not shipping it all the way from France, where the lead times have doubled and the cost has doubled.” 

This article is an excerpt from the August 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on In-Store Bakery, click here.