PEPPERIDGE ADDS CATEGORY PLANS

NORWALK, Conn. -- Pepperidge Farm here is rolling out two leading-edge category-management programs developed in-house. They are designed to support retailer efforts to widen the cookie/cracker, fresh bread and rolls, crouton and stuffing mix categories.Pepperidge Farm, the premium biscuit and bakery division of The Campbell Soup Co., Camden, N.J., aims to use the programs to build total category

NORWALK, Conn. -- Pepperidge Farm here is rolling out two leading-edge category-management programs developed in-house. They are designed to support retailer efforts to widen the cookie/cracker, fresh bread and rolls, crouton and stuffing mix categories.

Pepperidge Farm, the premium biscuit and bakery division of The Campbell Soup Co., Camden, N.J., aims to use the programs to build total category sales as well as to strengthen its own position in those key retail categories. Its products are distributed through an elaborate direct-store-delivery system of 2,500 routes, supported by a 300-person sales force.

The bakery program is called Fresh Success and has been well received by partner retailers, according to the company. Program development of Fresh Success was ran over a several month period and was led by Ralph DeVito, vice president of sales at Pepperidge Farm.

Pepperidge Farm worked with over 40 accounts and conducted extensive research to identify methods to drive category sales. It conducted numerous pilots and tests in the area of item optimization, promotion merchandising and DSD technology to help the retailers better understand the complexities of the bakery category.

Bob Kraft, director of category management and trade marketing for the Bakery Division, said, "Fresh Success provides our customers with a vision for this bellwether category. By utilizing our case study data and in-market tests, we can help drive category profits."

Kraft added that a major upside of the program is helping to expand sales in the bakery aisle -- the third-largest supermarket category. He said Pepperidge Farm is the only bakery company in the United States with the capability and critical mass to support category-management opportunities in the fresh bread, stuffing and crouton areas.

In the biscuit division, Mick Sidari, vice president of sales, developed Premium Exchange, a program that focuses on the premium segment of the cookie and cracker category, and is now being rolled out. Premium Exchange is being used primarily to support and upgrade the category-development skills of the account management team. It also shows retailers the importance of the premium cookie segment by looking closely at consumers and how they buy the products.

"In order to take on a leadership role, we must demonstrate our expertise and capabilities," Sidari said.

"The focus in understanding the category begins and ends with the consumer. It is important to understand how the consumer shops the category, which is dominated by mainstream players. Once you can determine the differences between mainstream and premium consumers, the retailer can leverage the profitable premium segment to drive higher ticket rings and increase purchase frequency," Sidari said. Sarah Rogers, director of marketing services at MossWarner Communications -- the Hartford, Conn.-based firm which helped package both programs -- said the programs are unique because they were developed in-house by Pepperidge Farm staff.