LANDOVER, Md. -- Giant Foods here has had such quick success with photo-image cakes in selected stores that it has quickly moved to expand the program. Sales of the cakes got very brisk this spring after Giant put the cakes in the spotlight with a full-page, full-color ad that ran in the Washington Post and other daily newspapers, said officials at the 176-unit Mid Atlantic-area chain.
"These cakes have been tremendously successful, very popular, especially as we approached graduation season. Our initial plan was to put them in 74 of our stores, but we [now] have them in 75 and we'll expand the program to more as the needs justify it," said Melanie Gness, public affairs manager at Giant.
The chain has in-store bakeries in 147 of its stores, but which ones would get the equipment to produce edible-image, PhotoCakes, will depend on a number of factors, officials said. The cost of such computerized equipment can be $6,000 to $8,000 per store, bakery industry sources have told SN. And then there's the expense of all the different colored edible inks that are used in the photo-imaging process.
The newspaper ad that heralded the cakes at Giant is headlined, "Your favorite photo is now the icing on the cake."
A large, color photo of a red-bordered cake with a picture of a little girl on it occupies more than half the page. Shown adjacent to the cake are the trappings of a birthday celebration: party hats, noise makers, and snapshots.
Underneath the photo is this message, in large type: "A picture may be worth a thousand words, but when your birthday girl sees her baby picture on a cake, she'll be speechless. At Giant, we've taken the pastime of photography and combined it with one of America's other favorite hobbies: food. Introducing PhotoCakes in our bakery. Just bring in your special snapshot, diploma, marriage certificate, you name it."
Elsewhere on the page is a smaller photo of a blue-bordered cake with a picture of a Little League team on it. The accompanying blurb says, "Team PhotoCakes. Our PhotoCakes are the perfect way to reward a season of hard work. From soccer leagues to company softball teams, you can get your team photos turned into a sweet dessert for that end-of-season party."
While no retail prices are stated in the ad, store-level sources said Giant's ISBs are retailing quarter-sheet PhotoCakes for $19.99. A toll-free number is included in the ad and a notation suggests consumers call to locate the Giant unit nearest them that offers the cakes.
This spring's full-page ad was the first one that Giant had devoted to PhotoCakes, but from time to time, it has run such ads focusing on other in-store bakery items, such as its Old World Breads and its Home-Style Muffins, Gness said.