KROGER FINDING SUCCESS WITH KRISPY KREME

CINCINNATI -- Kroger Co. is carrying branded doughnuts made by an outside manufacturer in a number of its in-store bakeries in Ohio, in some cases supplanting the frozen dough and thaw-and-sell products they had been selling.The doughnuts are made by Krispy Kreme, a 110-unit doughnut chain based in Winston-Salem, N.C., that is well-known in the South for its fresh-made doughnuts sold hot at its own

CINCINNATI -- Kroger Co. is carrying branded doughnuts made by an outside manufacturer in a number of its in-store bakeries in Ohio, in some cases supplanting the frozen dough and thaw-and-sell products they had been selling.

The doughnuts are made by Krispy Kreme, a 110-unit doughnut chain based in Winston-Salem, N.C., that is well-known in the South for its fresh-made doughnuts sold hot at its own stores. The Krispy Kreme name has been making its way North in recent months.

Kroger put Krispy Kreme doughnuts in three of its in-store bakeries here last month. The supermarket chain began selling the doughnuts in four in-store bakeries in the Columbus, Ohio, market earlier this spring.

Krispy Kreme entered the Cincinnati market last year with two freestanding stores, and it recently added a third. The doughnuts are made fresh at the freestanding Krispy Kreme stores and then are delivered twice daily to the Kroger units.

Officials at Kroger's corporate offices here could not be reached for comment on the link-up with Krispy Kreme. Krispy Kreme officials declined to talk about their relationship with Kroger.

In a Kroger supermarket on Wooster Road here, a store-level source told SN the Krispy Kreme products have completely replaced the frozen dough and thaw-and-sell doughnuts it had been offering.

Krispy Kreme doughnuts are also edging out the frozen dough and thaw-and-sell varieties in the in-store bakery at another Kroger store, in Hamilton, Ohio, an associate told SN.

"We've just about completely replaced our doughnuts with Krispy Kreme's at this store, and people are swarming in to buy them," said the source at the Hamilton store. "They're familiar with the Krispy Kreme name. They tell us they've had them in Florida or North Carolina and they're delighted that they can get them at Kroger."

At the Hamilton store, Krispy Kreme delivers fresh doughnuts at 5 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. Any doughnuts left over at the end of the day are thrown away, the source said.

Prices are 50 cents each for Krispy Kreme's traditional glazed doughnut, which is its best-seller; and 55 cents each for other Krispy Kreme varieties. A dozen glazed doughnuts are $3.49, while other varieties are priced at $3.69. A sign in the in-store bakery calls customers' attention to the Krispy Kreme name.