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PG Web Extra: Bread for the Holidays, and More


The way La Brea Bakery sees it, the in-store bakery offers a prime opportunity to be creative.

As Jon Davis, SVP innovation at Los Angeles-based Aryzta LLC, La Brea Bakery’s parent company, notes, the section "has a coveted spot on the perimeter of the store and is well positioned to give consumers the experience consumers are searching for. I mean, who doesn’t like the smell of bread baking?"

Adds Davis: "There is also more opportunity to do things differently than the breads in center store. The in-store bakery has become an area for discovery for consumers, so there is an opportunity to try out new varieties as well as unique formats. The breads and rolls set is never 'stale,' so consumers can always expect to find something new. La Brea Bakery always keeps this in mind as we continue to innovate within our artisan bread portfolio."

To that end, the baker provides in-store bakeries throughout the country with unique items.

"Every year, we have fun with a new set of limited-time Holiday Breads, which are on shelves across the U.S. now," says Davis. "Back by popular demand is our Cranberry Walnut Loaf, which has rich, nutty and sweet notes. My favorite loaf we launched has got to be the Holiday Stuffing Loaf, which [has] the flavors of Thanksgiving stuffing baked into [the] bread. I love watching people try it, because they always come back and tell us, 'It tastes like Thanksgiving.' It is pretty cool to have developed a loaf that can trigger a memory."

Also available are recently introduced La Brea Bakery Gluten Free Breads. "Many of the gluten-free bread options on the market don't taste very good," observes Davis. "We wanted to create a gluten-free bread that was delicious by being moist and flavorful, and fill a void consumers currently experience in the marketplace by giving them bread that is true to what bread should taste like. Our gluten-free bread is made with only the highest-quality ingredients and created with the same dedication to the artisan traditions and uncompromising standards that La Brea Bakery has held constant for 25 years. Currently, it is available in two flavors: Multigrain Artisan Sandwich Bread and White Artisan Sandwich Bread."

Asked how grocers can draw more shoppers to the section, Davis points out: "There is a huge amount of opportunity to leverage the brands that are in your in-store bakery to drive traffic. La Brea Bakery just launched a national campaign called #AlwaysEnough, where we will donate a portion of each loaf sold to No Kid Hungry during the months of October through December, with the goal of donating 1 million meals. We've partnered with our retailers to tell consumers about the campaign using merchandising materials at the point of purchase to provide everyone an easy way to participate and give back during the holiday season."

Additionally, La Brea Bakery enabled consumers to express gratitude to loved ones who have to work on Thanksgiving with a surprise gift: festive meals brought directly to their workplaces. Through the #ThanksgivingHero campaign on the company's Facebook page, people could nominate their own personal heroes through Nov. 15 by uploading an essay of 100 words or fewer and a photo. On Nov. 17, consumers across the nation had the opportunity to vote for their favorite hero, with five winners to be selected from across the United States to receive the Turkey Day feasts.

As for what the department's future holds, Davis foresees "an increase in whole grain selections as well as a focus on specialized ingredients and flavors. There is a resurgence in grains that we haven't seen in years to provide health and nutrition to loaves. But at the end of the day, the loaves still have to taste good!"

He also believes that "[p]ackaging continues to evolve both in materials and formats aimed toward convenience."

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