Food Business News - April 19, 2016 - (Page 12)

'Premiumization' opportunities abound Wal-Mart, Wendy's executives discuss baking innovations that upgrade product quality PHOENIX - Bakers willing to notch up their game to create differentiated products will find opportunities for success. That was the message of executives from leading retailers and a quick-service restaurant chain speaking at the annual meeting of the American Bakers Association. Representatives of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Wendy's Quality Supply Chain Co-op, Inc. (Q.S.C.C.) offered examples of major successes attributable to taking generic products and enhancing them in ways that captured the imagination of consumers. Emblematic of this success has been what Wal-Mart has experienced with its Patti LaBelle sweet potato pie, an extraordinary hit for the company, said Kerry Robinson, vicepresident, bakery and deli. A critique by a Wal-Mart employee of the retailer's existing pie prompted the company to explore a reformulation, Ms. Robinson said. Kinna Thomas, a new Wal-Mart employee, in March 2015 baked a sweet potato pie based on her family's recipe to demonstrate her point that Wal-Mart could improve its product. Ms. Robinson had suppliers try to recreate the recipe and also partnered with Patti LaBelle, who added personal touches such as cinnamon and a thicker crust. An expletive laced but very enthusiastic on-line video endorsement of the pie by the singer James Wright Chanel was credited with driving sales and made supplies of the pie difficult to find at stores for a lengthy period. As Wal-Mart looks to raise the quality bar of its product selection, a mindset change may be needed from suppliers, Ms. Robinson said. A raw nerve is struck when customers pitch the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer with products would-be sellers describe to Ms. Robinson as "suitable for your customers." "We want your best product," Ms. Robinson said. "We'll figure out the right price - maybe a premium price." FOODBUSINESS NEWS ® truly were widely willing to pay a higher price for organic products. "Again, it's our responsibility to educate consumers," he said. Innovation through collaboration The change toward 100% premium was made fairly Making the bun the star At Wendy's, the bun represents an opportunity for offering consumers a premium, differentiated product, said Joe Schechinger, vice-president of non-protein foods, Wendy's Q.S.C.C. The company operates 23 baking plants in the United States and Canada, producing fresh and frozen fresh with a mix of direct-store delivery and channel delivery. Depending on location, stores may receive fresh baked product deliveries five days per week or frozen fresh deliveries every 7 to 18 days. The company bakes about 1.6 billion buns per year. Historically, the company's mix of buns had been what Mr. Schechinger described as "value" (60%) and "premium" (40%). "We just had a few small changes in the basic bun over the years," he said. Driven in part by successful limited-time offers (L.T.O.s), the company is moving to 100% premium with a new formula for a glazed 4-inch bun with what he called "a very different formula." "We've seen a great result Wal-Mart's Patti LaBelle sweet potato pie has been an extraordinary hit for the company, said Kerry Robinson, vice-president, bakery and deli. 12 from the change," he said. "It's the first thing you see when you open the package, it has a great appearance. Our bakery partners went over and above to get it done in such a short time frame." The L.T.O. sandwiches have featured a range of Kerry Robinson, left, vice-president of bakery and deli, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., with Mark Baum, senior vice-president of industry relations and chief collaboration officer, the Food Marketing Institute. baked products, including a "true brioche bun," featuring cheese, butter, eggs, glazed imprinted and incorporating ghost peppers and jalapeño. The latter ingredients create particular challenges for bakers as did demand, which was nearly twice as great as projected, Mr. Schechinger said. Other varieties for L.T.O. sandwiches have included ciabatta, pretzel and an eight grains and quinoa bun. "Consumers are very excited about inclusions and more challenging ingredients," Mr. Schechinger said. "When we look at ancient grains, quinoa, sprouted grains, the sophistication of the consumer at retail and quick-service restaurants continues to be elevated." Discussing the clean label movement, Mr. Schechinger said consumers care about ingredient origins and sustainability but warned that the food industry must educate consumers not to become fearful of polysyllabic words on food labels. "We should be driving that," he said. Similarly, he questioned whether consumers abruptly but reflected gradual changes in consumers tastes, Mr. Schechinger said. "For years it was 'This is our bun, and we're going to put in a different protein with a different sauce with a different cheese,'" he said. "We reached out and gave our consumers a little more credit. We realized that 25 years ago Julia Child's was the only cooking show on television - PBS every other week. Now there are multiple channels devoted to food. People are seeing these challenging ingredients, and they want to try it. It's all across the country. So matching the bread character to the protein to the sauces makes it a more holistic experience. It's visually impactful. It gives you a lot to talk about." Mr. Schechinger said the greatest successes Wendy's has achieved with its sandwiches (and buns) have been the result of supplier collaboration. The products aren't developed in a vacuum, and the commercialization challenges are daunting. "We need to give our customers the same eating experience in over 6,200 restaurants," he said. "When our partner April 19, 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Business News - April 19, 2016

Food Business News - April 19, 2016
Fresh, authentic a focus for Unilever
Clash over child nutrition programs may lie ahead
Dairy Business News - Dairy flavors grow ever more creative
Table of Contents
Web Contents
Editorial - Growth of organic category suggests still greater attention ahead
Monogram Foods acquires appetizer company
‘Premiumization’ opportunities abound
Preferred Popcorn picks up organic popcorn maker
Wal-Mart to transition to cage-free eggs by 2025
AdvancePierre Foods files for i.p.o.
Dr Pepper Snapple increases sports nutrition stake
Hormel Foods launches clean label effort
Identifying the X-factor in food startups
Food service operators betting big on buns
ConAgra Foods earnings reflect focus on execution
Mondelez to partner with e-commerce firm Alibaba
Modern Table planting the seeds of a trend
Market Insight - Dairy still under pressure
Company Profile - Flowers focused on improved margins
Flavor Trends - The next level for dressings, sauces and marinades
Ingredient Innovations - Fiber's global reach
Ingredient suppliers emphasize specialized fibers
Algae venture to invest in or buy food companies
New Food Products
Ingredient Market Trends - Large supplies will weigh on grain and oilseeds prices into next year
Ingredient Markets
Supplier Innovations and News
Ad Index
Food Business in the News

Food Business News - April 19, 2016