Consumers scaling back on premium purchases in the supermarket can still take home a loaf of artisan breads, according to retailers.
“It's hard for people to get away from bread,” said Kevin Schuk, vice president of Breadsmith, a baked-goods company. “There are so many things you eat or use in preparing food that are related to bread, or bread products, so it's hard to stop eating bread altogether.”
There's been some pullback by customers at V. Richard's Market, which sources its artisan line from Breadsmith. In response, the store is adjusting pricing and promotions.
“The way the economy is right now, the direction is back towards value,” said Mike Peplinski, the store's bakery production manager. “The way things are right now, people aren't always willing to pay $5 for a loaf of bread.
At Marsh Supermarkets in Indianapolis, consumers are moving more to the chain's everyday line of ISB breads, according to Kent Tapley, the retailer's vice president of deli-bakery-foodservice.
“We're heading into the best selling season of the year, but customers are shopping like the rest of the year, looking at staples,” he said. Promotion of the 104-store chain's Marsh Signature private label remains a focus, however. Among the new items for Thanksgiving will be two premium pies, cranberry-apple and wildberry.
Schnucks executive Bill Mihu believes consumers are willing to accept a certain amount of cost pass-alongs — so long as the product retains its value. In the case of artisan breads, it's wise to remind consumers that a good, healthful bread is essential to any table.
“Even with the price increases, I think people look at bread as a staple,” he said.