When Brookshire Grocery Co. decided to build up its fresh bakery program a few years ago, offering fresh-cooked fudge wasn’t part of the plan. But that all changed this fall, when the Tyler, Texas-based supermarket chain launched a fudge program in its Willow Park in-store bakery.
“Our focus for the last three or four years has been on fresh made,” says John Rose, Brookshire’s bakery category manager. “So with that mantra in mind, we thought we’d get into the fresh cooked fudge business.”
Brookshire partnered with a New York-based supplier to implement the program. “It’s a turnkey program that provides us with all the training and materials we need,” Rose says. “We are really enjoying it and are putting out a fantastic product.”
Rose hopes to get the fudge program in three to four stores within a year–and ultimately implement some form of the program in every store. The fudge is sold in 4-oz. portions and currently is offered in 15 flavors, including peanut butter, chocolate, amaretto chocolate swirl, caramel chocolate peanut, chewy praline, mint chocolate swirl, rocky road and orange cream. Though the program is new, traditional chocolate and peanut butter are the best sellers so far. To keep things simple, each variety is priced the same.
Brookshire devoted an entire display case to the fudge “to make a strong statement that we are in the fudge business,” Rose says. The stores also are giving away two pieces with the purchase of four to coerce customers into purchasing a pound, Rose adds.
Brookshire will use the coming year to measure the success of the program and make tweaks. “We wanted to get our feet wet before we advance into the seasonal flavors,” Rose says, adding that he’d like to try an eggnog variety, among others. “There’s a huge learning curve as you go through different seasons and times of year. We’ve got at least a one-year curve ahead of us that will be a lot of fun as we go through.”
The program also further differentiates Brookshire from the competition, Rose adds. “We’ve really been wanting to focus on not just being a me-too operator,” he says. “Being fresh baked–in this case, fresh cooked–differentiates us.”