MINNEAPOLIS -- Lunds/Byerly's is looking to soften the blow to its in-store bakeries with a whole lineup of newly developed items that should get a thumbs-up from low-carb dieters, officials said.
There's no doubt ISBs everywhere are taking a hit as people walk on by with The New Atkins Diet Book stuck in their coat pockets, but this retailer has been hard at work formulating low-carb bakery items that have some appeal.
"The challenge is coming up with good-tasting, low-carb products. Some of the early ones on the market tasted like sawdust at best, so we're formulating our own," said Paul Supplee, director, bakery operations, for the 20-unit independent. "In August, we introduced a couple of sliced breads, a white and a whole grain, and we're about to launch a low-carb bagel and a low-carb hamburger bun."
He added that the trend has "definitely affected our bakery sales," especially bread. "How could it not, with three-quarters of the press just screaming about it and obesity?" Supplee added.
The low-carb breads so far have not sold as well as he had expected, but Supplee said that may be because customers don't see them, even though they have round, purple, "low carb" stickers on them.
"One of the first things we noticed was that they got lost in the display with other breads," Supplee said.
The retailer's strategy to address that problem will be to create a critical mass of products. Then Supplee can give low-carb, baked items their own display. Next up will be a low-carb poppy seed muffin and low-carb chocolate brownies made with sugar substitutes. They'll get a send-off in January with ad support and "telling the story" point-of-sale signs. By mid-January, Lunds/Byerly's plans to have well-designated, low-carb displays, occupying no less than eight linear feet, in all its ISBs.
Like other retailers, Supplee expects the low-carb-diet trend to accelerate even more once the holiday season is over.