SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Penn Traffic Co. has completed the last wave of branding in its perishables departments with a rollout of Bakery Fresh and Fresh N' Ready bakery and deli brands, respectively.
The 220-unit chain, which has stores operating in the East under five banners -- Bi-Lo Foods, Quality Markets, Big Bear, Big Bear Plus and P&C Foods -- also launched a number of new products and concepts under those brands when they were unveiled during the first quarter of this year.
"Perishables certainly are an important part of a supermarket. They're the primary reason people go there instead of to a convenience store or to a 'big box' store. And branding helps us communicate that we have the very freshest perishables," said Penn Traffic spokesman Marc Jampole.
The launch of a brand also creates a showcase for the introduction of a number of new products all at once, Jampole explained.
The company began its branding sweep through perishables two years ago in its meat departments with Gold Label meats. Next was produce, with the Garden Fresh brand.
Now, in Penn Traffic's delis, where comfort foods such as barbecued wings and pizza are popular, the company has unveiled a full line of private-label deli meats and cheeses -- under the Gold Label Perfect Choice brand -- and is offering a satisfaction guarantee with those products.
And, just since January, Penn Traffic's stores have given cycle baking -- with a hot bread guarantee program, European-style breads, a line of treats targeting children and a fresh doughnut program -- a send-off under the Bakery Fresh umbrella.
"We believe we can keep our customers and attract more customers with programs like this in perishables, as well as with service and location," Jampole said, adding that the new programs themselves speak of freshness.
"At 7 o'clock in the morning, we're turning out 27 varieties of doughnuts and we're baking bread throughout the day. There's a guarantee of getting a hot loaf of Italian bread between 4 and 6 in the evening. That's new. So are our European-style breads. There are different ryes, some with sun-dried tomatoes. The types of things you would see in an upscale bakery," Jampole said.
Kidz Treats is a newly launched initiative within the Bakery Fresh brand that designates a line of freshly baked products specifically aimed at children. It includes such items as miniature cookies, miniature cupcakes and doughnut holes, Jampole said, explaining that Penn Traffic wants to reach a broad range of customers.
"There are an awful lot of families with young children. We seem to be in the middle of a baby boomlet."
The tide of private-label items throughout all the departments in Penn Traffic stores has swelled in the last couple of years, Jampole said. Just since the beginning of this year, the company has introduced 75 new items in its premium category of store-brand products.