instore - January 2018 - 30

Insight Insider

too large, for instance, c-stores run the risk
of ending up with a lot of stale product on
hand. As a result, Prairie City's packs are
four-count, not 12-count like those of many
of its competitors. "We pack them how they
use them," Skeens says. "The right place, the
right time, and not too much of it."
Prairie City also has a good handle on customers' logistical needs, Skeens says. Few
c-stores, he points out, are willing to pay
an individual vendor $80 for baked goods
every morning of the week. And if even if
they were, how could that vendor ensure
delivery to multiple locations every day by
5 in the morning?
The solution for Prairie City is flash freezing. As soon as the company's products are
baked, they're frozen and shipped frozen to
their final destinations. C-stores thaw only
what they think they'll need in a given day,
and if demand is greater than expected, they
can always thaw more. "If ten guys come in
and wipe you out, you can go to the freezer
and bake some more."
While it does do some grocery business, Prairie City's retail focus is c-stores. The company's unwrapped bulk foodservice program
for c-stores features a full line of cinnamon
rolls (three varieties), muffins (four), donuts
(five each in two categories: premium and
classic), Danish (two) and butter cake.
Wrapped products include cinnamon rolls,
Danish, strudel, bear claws, muffins, pound
cake, butter cake, cookies, brownies, fudge,
donut holes and pretzel sticks.
Prairie City's Dulce Pradera (Spanish for
"sweet prairie") program features a full line
of Mexican bakery favorites, including conchas, danes cuernos, puerquitos, galletas,
mantecadas and cuernitos.
In addition to coffee-shop quality, another
key to Prairie City's success has been its
adoption of a WYSIWYG (what you see is
what you get) approach to packaging. The
company's philosophy, Skeens says, is to
have as little as possible separating the
consumer from the product. "We supply the
cookies at the Chicago Cubs games, and
people always ask me: 'Why don't you put
your name on the front of the cookie?' And
I tell them, 'People aren't buying the name.'"
Seeing as much of the product as possible is
the first step in the selling process. Once the

30 * JANUARY 2018 * instore

eyes are engaged, Skeens says, the feel takes
over. Prairie City counts on the softness of
its products to also get consumers' attention. "From day one, we've had a one-word
slogan - 'Wow!' - and people actually do
pick up our products, feel them, and say 'Oh,
wow.'" If the feel test leads to a purchase,
the wows multiply, Skeens says, and there's
a good chance Prairie City has found a return customer.
Most of Prairie City's c-store offerings are
packed under the Prairie City brand, but
some of the company's customers opt for private label packaging, Skeens says.
And while much of Prairie City's
lineup is merchandised in individual packaging, bulk to-go is another
popular option for both coffee shops
and instore bakeries. Muffins sold
in tulip-style cups, premium donuts
and butter cakes are among the examples of instore-targeted items that
provide the illusion of being made
on site.

One-stop shop service
Another thing that separates Prairie City
from its competitors, Skeens says, is a
thorough understanding of its customers'
inventory-related needs. When packs are

As for the quality of flash-frozen baked goods
once they're thawed? "It's really almost fresher than a fresh product," Skeens says.
Prairie City's combination of technology,
inventory control and product variety gives
c-stores the option of filling an entire bakery case with one supplier and not having
to worry about product going stale, Skeens
says. "Convenience stores want a one-stop
shop, and we provide it."
Another part of being a one-stop
shop is providing c-store



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of instore - January 2018

instore - January 2018
Editor's Note - Another wild (and fun) ride
CONTENTS
News - Need to Know
Spotlight - By the numbers: Prepared entrees
Product Knowledge - CATEGORY UPDATE: Snacking cheese
Cover Story - Downtown treasure
Industry Perspective - Label limbo
Merchandising - ON DISPLAY: Grab ‘n Go Dips
Feature - Cleaning the instore label
Commissary Insider
Insight Insider: Prairie City Bakery
Food Safety: Tamper-evident packaging
Equipment: Sanitation strategies for ready-to-eat products
R&D: How hot should you go?
Product Category Spotlight: Breakfast sandwiches
Equipment & Packaging - LATEST INNOVATION: Rapid-cook ovens
Product Trends - FIRST TO MARKET
AD INDEX
instore - January 2018 - instore - January 2018
instore - January 2018 - instore - January 2018
instore - January 2018 - 2
instore - January 2018 - Editor's Note - Another wild (and fun) ride
instore - January 2018 - 4
instore - January 2018 - 5
instore - January 2018 - CONTENTS
instore - January 2018 - 7
instore - January 2018 - News - Need to Know
instore - January 2018 - 9
instore - January 2018 - Spotlight - By the numbers: Prepared entrees
instore - January 2018 - 11
instore - January 2018 - Product Knowledge - CATEGORY UPDATE: Snacking cheese
instore - January 2018 - 13
instore - January 2018 - Cover Story - Downtown treasure
instore - January 2018 - 15
instore - January 2018 - 16
instore - January 2018 - 17
instore - January 2018 - 18
instore - January 2018 - 19
instore - January 2018 - Industry Perspective - Label limbo
instore - January 2018 - 21
instore - January 2018 - 22
instore - January 2018 - 23
instore - January 2018 - Merchandising - ON DISPLAY: Grab ‘n Go Dips
instore - January 2018 - 25
instore - January 2018 - Feature - Cleaning the instore label
instore - January 2018 - 27
instore - January 2018 - 28
instore - January 2018 - Insight Insider: Prairie City Bakery
instore - January 2018 - 30
instore - January 2018 - 31
instore - January 2018 - 32
instore - January 2018 - 33
instore - January 2018 - Food Safety: Tamper-evident packaging
instore - January 2018 - Equipment: Sanitation strategies for ready-to-eat products
instore - January 2018 - R&D: How hot should you go?
instore - January 2018 - 37
instore - January 2018 - Product Category Spotlight: Breakfast sandwiches
instore - January 2018 - 39
instore - January 2018 - Equipment & Packaging - LATEST INNOVATION: Rapid-cook ovens
instore - January 2018 - Product Trends - FIRST TO MARKET
instore - January 2018 - AD INDEX
instore - January 2018 - 43
instore - January 2018 - 44
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