COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Borden's North American Pasta Products group here is easing the distribution process of its new upscale Classico brand of imported dry pasta for retailers by tagging orders to those for its established mainstream products.
"This is a specialty niche item. We are not going to run truckload sales of this product," said Russ Mentzer, president of North American Pasta Products. "This product ships to all the retailers with all of our mainstream pastas and our pasta sauces."
The Classico brand is distributed by International Gourmet Specialties, a division of North American Pasta Products. The division is the unit of Borden Inc. that produces Creamette, the nation's third-best selling brand of dry pasta, according to Information Resources, along with Prince, Anthony's, Luxury and R F brands of dry pasta and Aunt Millie's pasta sauce.
Classico pasta has been introduced in only five markets in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland and the District of Columbia that were targeted for their strong distribution of Classico sauces.
Borden aims to expand distribution of Classico pastas to other markets on both coasts next year, Mentzer said. He is hopeful the brand will continue to grow following Borden's acquisition by investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, New York.
"We have to be careful about where we take the product because we're not interested in just getting it in distribution. We're interested in building this brand and that requires a marketing emphasis," he said.
If projected on a national basis, Mentzer said, the marketing budget for the new product would total $10 million, making it the largest in Classico history. It includes advertising and consumer and trade promotions, a freestanding insert drop and display activity in the distribution areas.
In addition, the company is using purchase-triggered electronic coupons from Catalina Marketing, St. Petersburg, Fla. Continued success with the brand may lead the company to develop new products bearing the Classico name, further extending brand equity.