- TYING INTO CONSUMER TRENDS: Launched a line of gluten-free breads and sweet items, as well as trendy Red Velvet cakes.
- IN-STORE EXECUTION: Conducted a detailed customer satisfaction study to identify ways to provide more value to its retailer-customers.
FOR RICH PRODUCTS, innovation is the life blood of the company, officials said.
Since the company's inception in 1945, innovation and attention to how new technology can best be put to work has defined Rich's.
“And 2010 has been no exception,” Nick Stambula, Rich's vice president, marketing, in-store bakery, told SN.
This was the year that the company collaborated with Chips Ahoy (a registered trademark of Kraft Foods Global Brands) Cookies to use them in its Cookie Crunch Bettercreme icing, one of several new attention-getters. Its earlier purchase of GLP Free Manufacturing facilitated the development of a line of gluten-free breads, cakes, muffins, pizza dough and tortillas to satisfy growing demand for such products.
Innovation doesn't just end with products, Stambula pointed out. It extends to packaging, for one thing. This year, the company made several changes to reduce plastic use and has improved distribution efficiency with new packaging.
“We also introduced a new product development process to help increase the speed of getting products from the conceptual stage onto the market.”
Retailers and other industry sources praised Rich's for its marketing support, and especially for its close-up support in-store.
The company has a dedicated sales and marketing division that includes a team of technical consultants. Through that division, the company offers cake decorating training and shopper insights, and continuously looks for ways to help out.
“Our goal is to provide our customers with face-to-face time so we can gain an intimate understanding of their particular business, which enables us to more fully meet their needs,” Stambula said.
That's underscored by Rich's retailer-customers.
“Rich's has excellent customer service,” John Chickery, bakery director at Riesbeck's Markets, St. Clairsville, Ohio, told SN.
“On a scale of one to 10, I'd give them a 10. If we have a problem or a question, they're on it right away.”
COMPANY TO WATCH
BAKEMARK USA: In a word, BakeMark has underscored its commitment to serving its customers well, and quickly. The Los Angeles-based supplier has been praised by its customers for keeping quality up and costs down. Recently, “your” was incorporated in the company's identification. That's the way phones are answered and that's how field reps refer to their company. That sends a message to BakeMark's customers, said marketing director Shanshan He. “We don't have a hundred-page operating plan. Our operating plan is simple: We're your BakeMark.”