PARSIPPANY, N.J. -- Kings Super Markets here is displaying a tableful of award-winners in its in-store bakeries -- Dancing Deer Baking Co.'s gourmet cookies.
The 23-unit Kings took on the Boston-based bakery's preservative-free cookie line in May, just before Dancing Deer received its second award for best cookies at the Fancy Food Show last month in New York.
For two years in a row, Dancing Deer has taken first place in the cookie category in competition at the show, which is sponsored by the the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, New York. Chocolate tangerine is the variety that took top honors this year. Last year, it was molasses clove.
The award winners, along with a third variety called sugar cane lime, are carried by Kings chainwide in the ISB. They're sold in cellophane and ribbon-tied packs of nine, displayed on tables in front of the bakery service counter, where they retail for $3.99. According to Trish Karter, a principal in the five-year-old Dancing Deer, molasses clove is the best seller of the three, at Kings and at other retail locations.
Officials at Kings declined to comment, but Karter said Dancing Deer approached Kings earlier this year with the idea that the products would be appropriate for the chain's bakeries. Kings, an upscale retailer operating in upper middle-class communities, was receptive.
"Kings was familiar with our products from seeing them in specialty stores and I know Kings because I used to live in Tenafly [N.J.]. I knew it would be a good fit," Karter said.
Dancing Deer has delivered point-of-purchase materials to the chain that alert customers that the cookies are Fancy Food Show winners.
Dancing Deer also offers a line of traditional cookies, lavender-scented shortbread cookies and Mexican chocolate shortbread. A line of 6-inch bundt cakes, too, is available. One of those -- deep dark gingerbread -- took first prize in the cake category at the Fancy Food Show this year.
A new line -- a larger (3.5 to 4 ounces, depending on the variety) version of the traditional cookie -- got its debut last month. The cookies, in five varieties, are individually packaged in a cellophane wrap with a three-color logo and print. The retail: approximately 79 cents.
"They'll be perfect for the supermarket deli," said Karter, explaining that they could be merchandised alongside self-service salads and sandwiches.
Dancing Deer bakes its products to order and ships them within 48 hours of receiving an order. The cookies, preservative-free and baked with canola oil, are never frozen and are shipped direct, Karter said. The company, which ships nationally, vacuum-packs some items.
Other trade customers, in addition to Kings and Bread & Circus, include Star Markets, Cambridge, Mass.; Nature's Heartland, Bedford, Mass.; and Zagara's, Marlton, N.J.