Each year, research firm IRI releases its “New Product Pacesetters” report describing successful CPG product launches. In the Top 10 Pacesetters for Food and Beverage are product launches from well-known brands like McCafe, Oscar Meyer Deli Fresh BOLD and Cheerios Protein. But among these brands is nestled a surprise winner at #9: Cobblestone Bread Co., with $60.2M in sales.
The brand’s signature product, Million Dollar White Bread, perhaps was named for its immediate financial success as much as for its taste! Released by Flowers Foods, Inc., makers of Nature’s Own, Wonder and Tastykake, this new bread brand is described as:
“Cobblestone Bread Co. is a premium brand of specialty breads and rolls with interesting flavors and textures capable of creating incredible sandwich possibilities! We know great bread - it's our middle name after all - and we've been perfecting the art of making bread since we opened our very first bakery. We are a passionate group of food enthusiasts who adore sandwiches, and we're committed to only baking bread we'd proudly serve our friends and family. That's why we say each CBC product is ‘crafted with care, better when shared.’ It's the CBC way.”
How ‘Just Another Brand’ of Bread Became a New Product Pacesetter
Flowers Foods crafted a careful, comprehensive market strategy aimed at Millennial consumers. Bradley K. Alexander, President of Flowers Bakeries/D.S.D. Segment describes how Cobblestone Bread targets the Millennial market:
“Sandwiches represent the No. 1 eating occasion with consumers because they are convenient, portable, economical and versatile. With Millennials in mind and recognizing that sandwiches are part of so many of our meals, we have developed a new concept and a new brand. Cobblestone Bread Co. embraces all lifestyles to enjoy flavorful bread sandwiches that will help consumers with simple recipes and on pack shopping lists for each item in the line. Flowers will use its food service expertise to help Millennials satisfy their interest in exploring unique flavors. Also on trend will be mobile-friendly how-to videos and access to other recipes and support. We are catering to a generation that wants to do more than make a plain sandwich. They want easy access to the tools.”
The company implemented several elements to achieve their market strategy with Millennials, such as:
- “Everyday Artisan” high-quality taste at a mid-premium price point
- Smaller-than-conventional loaf sizes to suit smaller Millennial household sizes and preference for experiencing different varieties of bread
- Relationship-building with active food bloggers to develop sandwich recipes and promote the brand to their networks
- Development of interactive social media marketing strategies, with recipes, videos and photos that inspire product purchase and experimentation
Along with Product Development, Cobblestone’s Marketing Strategy Shows an Understanding of Millennial Consumers
Cobblestone deployed a comprehensive social media marketing strategy through Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. The strategy taps into consumers’ affinity for sharing “food brag” photos and encourages them to show off their sandwich creations. The brand has over 23,000 Instagram followers and over 100,000 Facebook followers.
IRI describes one way that Cobblestone is engaging consumers through social media:
“In addition to providing positive (or negative) feedback, social media conversations can also serve to stimulate product usage ideas, which can drive incremental purchase behavior and even inspire the next wave of new product innovation. The Cobblestone Bread Company is encouraging social media discussions with a hashtag, #CBCbreakfast. Through this hashtag, consumers are sharing a variety of recipes, including spinach and cheese bagel strata, rise and shine breakfast melts and more.”
A great approach to sparking social media conversation and picture-sharing is through developing relationships with influencers. In an AOL recipe slideshow, 21 food bloggers share sandwich recipes featuring Cobblestone Bread Co. bread, along with delectable pictures. Here are just a few:
"I have always loved Cobblestone Bread, but this Million Dollar White Bread is for sure my new obsession. The "right sized" loaf is just PERFECT for our household. It's hard for the two of us to devour a loaf before it goes bad, so the smaller size is right up our alley. Isn't that just the best?" - Becky, The Cookie Rookie
"So we’ve updated and interpreted green eggs and ham for a more adult palate: specifically, a cured Italian ham, bright green pesto, crunchy arugula, and smooth white cheddar--all on two perfectly-sized slices of sweet and soft Million Dollar White Bread. The bread crisps up perfectly on a buttered griddle, and it really holds up to the weight of the fried egg, basil pesto, plenty of gooey cheese, ham, and arugula." - Kaitlin, The Woks of Life
"One of the most important aspects of any sandwich is the bread. For me, bread should be used to complement the rest of the sandwich with its flavor and its ability to stay intact no matter what you put on it. There is nothing worse than sandwich bread that falls apart, nothing! I can always count on Cobblestone Bread Co. to deliver superior taste and quality while being strong enough to handle even the manliest of sandwiches I want to create." - Billy, Billy Parisi
Flowers Foods expresses satisfaction with the launch of Cobblestone Bread Co. Allen L. Shiver, President and CEO of Flowers Foods, Inc. says:
“After the successful test, we have rolled out C.B.C. right size items across our D.S.D. (direct-store delivery) network, and the response from consumers has been great. According to I.R.I., Cobblestone had the greatest unit increase in the specialty premium category during the third quarter. Between our organic bread offerings and C.B.C., we have a sound strategy to grow our share of the specialty premium category.”
Cobblestone Bread Co. is yet another CPG example of spot-on consumer insights informing a brand launch from product development through marketing implementation. This smart market strategy and deployment provides a road map for any brand considering a new product launch.