Exclusive interview: Dave’s Killer Bread on consumer bread perceptions and the national rollout
Dave’s Killer Bread recently conducted a survey to help the brand better understand today’s bread consumers, particularly our understanding of the benefits of consuming whole grains. The results provide some keen insight into today’s bread consumers.
Better-for-you bread brands like Dave’s Killer Bread continue to gain momentum. For the 52 weeks ending April 17, 2016, per IRI, Dave’s Killer Bread grew by up 32.43 percent in dollar sales to $94.7 million (for our complete State of the Industry analysis of the fresh breads category, see “State of the Industry 2016: Bright spots in bread point to the future”).
Flowers Foods purchased the Dave’s Killer Bread business last year, completing the transaction in September 2015. Now, as Flowers Foods brings the Dave’s Killer Bread brand to a national audience, understanding how consumers feel about bread and overall health becomes increasingly vital.
In order to catch up with Dave’s Killer Bread, we reached out to Dan Letchinger, vice president of marketing at the brand.
Douglas J. Peckenpaugh: What were the details of the recent survey conducted by Dave’s Killer Bread?
Dan Letchinger: This survey was conducted by polling 1,020 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over located across the United States.
DJP: What were some of the top takeaways from the survey results?
DL: Our findings showed that:
- Bread continues to be a staple in most kitchens with 66 million Americans eating bread on a daily basis
- Three-quarters of Americans underestimate the number of whole grains they should consume daily
- Ninety-nine percent don’t know that the Dietary Guidelines recommend eating 48 grams of whole grains every day
- Just over one-third of Americans can name three whole grains
DJP: Did you find any surprises in the survey results in terms of perception of whole grains?
DL: Yes, we were surprised to learn that roughly 75 percent of Americans underestimate the recommended amount of 48 grams of whole of grains. Especially since the benefits of whole grains have been reported widely and have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
DJP: Do you feel like more people today are looking for more whole-grain breads?
DL: We’ve seen that people are looking for different things; some consumers prefer breads that deliver high protein, while others prefer less sugar or more fiber. This is why we provide a variety of breads for different tastes and preferences. From DKB’s Powerseed—sweetened only with organic fruit juices—to White Bread Done Right—packing in a whopping 10 whole grains per slice—there’s something in the Dave’s Killer Bread lineup for everyone. As more people start to learn the health benefits of whole grains, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more consumers adding whole-grain bread to their grocery lists, too. The good news is that for people looking to eat more whole grains, it could be as easy as eating a sandwich on Dave’s Killer Bread, which have between 10 to 22 whole grains per slice.
DJP: How are products like Dave’s Killer Bread helping grow the U.S. bread market?
DL: From the beginning, Dave’s Killer Bread has strived to create the cleanest label in the bread aisle, never compromising on USDA organic and Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients. We pioneered the organic seeded bread category over 10 years ago and are continuing to innovate with new varieties, such as our Thin-Sliced loaves and White Bread Done Right. People can count on Dave’s Killer Bread to deliver loaves high in protein, fiber, omega-3s and whole grains.
DJP: The Dave’s Killer Bread brand has seen nice growth over the years. Why do people find Dave’s Killer Bread products so appealing?
DL: We think it’s a combination of things, including what DKB delivers: killer taste and texture, and powerful nutrition in each slice—and what it doesn’t: no high-fructose corn syrup, no artificial ingredients, no artificial preservatives, and no fillers or additives. All loaves are certified USDA organic, Non-GMO Project Verified and loaded with the highest-quality ingredients. Our fans (whom we affectionately refer to as “BreadHead Nation”) are over 665,000 strong and counting. From their morning toast to their midnight snack, our BreadHeads are passionate about Dave’s Killer Bread and are also attracted to the brand’s commitment to Second Chance Employment: hiring people with criminal backgrounds. This is the company’s legacy, and it’s baked into everything we do.
DJP: How does Dave’s Killer Bread get the word out about the nutritional benefits of whole grains?
DL: First and foremost, we put the amount of whole grains in each loaf right on the front of the bag, alongside protein, fiber and omega-3s, to show that we pack our breads with powerful nutrition. Another way we communicate our breads’ nutritionals is via our social media channels and website. And, of course, the survey results showing that most Americans underestimate the number of whole grains they should consume daily was a big eye-opener for us and, ultimately, why we wanted to share the results with you.
DJP: Do you face any challenges in sourcing specific organic whole grains or other ingredients for use in Dave’s Killer Bread products?
DL: We have longstanding relationships with our suppliers. We’ve also been active in fostering sustainable agriculture practices and organic farming by supporting organic seed development, funding research and trials, and providing financial support for organic farmers and conferences. In addition, we’ve co-sponsored workshops and apprenticeship training to help grow the next generation of organic farmers.
DJP: How will Flowers Foods help support growth of the Dave’s Killer Bread brand?
DL: Flowers Foods is a baking company with nearly a century of experience, 49 bakeries and a direct-store-delivery network that reaches about 85 percent of the U.S. population. Flowers loves what we’re doing at Dave’s Killer Bread and is helping us bake and deliver more of our organic loaves to more store shelves across the country.
DJP: How is the national rollout of Dave’s Killer Bread products coming along?
DL: The response has been nothing short of phenomenal. We now have broad national distribution for six Dave’s Killer Bread varieties: four wide-pan breads—21 Whole Grains and Seeds, Powerseed, Good Seed, and White Bread Done Right—and two smaller loaves—21 Whole Grains and Seeds Thin-Sliced and Good Seed Thin-Sliced. Since April 2016, these varieties have been available in over 9,000 stores nationwide, including: Kroger, Publix, HEB, Safeway, Fresh Market and Target.
DJP: What’s next for Dave’s Killer Bread? Any new products in development that you can talk about?
DL: White Bread Done Right was our big new product launch this year. It’s our version of the classic sandwich bread, but packed with killer nutrition, including 3 grams of protein, 10 grams of whole grains and 120 milligrams of omega-3 per slice.