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Winter Fancy Food show 2017

Ozery Bakery launches new single-serve pita bread against declining segment sales

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Douglas Yu

By Douglas Yu+

02-Feb-2017
Last updated on 03-Feb-2017 at 12:53 GMT2017-02-03T12:53:03Z

Pita bread has experienced the worst sales decline among the bakery category, according to IRI. Pic: Ozery Bakery
Pita bread has experienced the worst sales decline among the bakery category, according to IRI. Pic: Ozery Bakery

Family-owned Ozery Bakery unveiled its latest single-serve Muesli Morning Rounds at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco this year. 

The portable snack is packed with 5 g of protein per serving and uses naturally-sweet, sulfite-free apples and raisins in addition to a mixture of oats, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and other grains, according to a release from the company.

Other flavors in the Ozery’s Morning Rounds portfolio include cranberry orange, apple cinnamon, cinnamon and raisin, and date and chia. The new Muesli product, Ozery said, is the first of its kind to be offered in a single pack.

“With the growing desire for on-the-go breakfast and snack options, we’re eager to introduce a single-serve Muesli option to give our customers a satisfying and healthy way to quickly curb their appetite,” Ozery’s co-founder, Alon Ozery, said.

From sandwich shop to branded bakery

Before the bakery was launched, the Ozery brothers, Alon and Guy, started as a small sandwich shop in downtown Toronto, making sandwiches with all natural pitas that were baked onsite.

Today, Ozery's supplies distributors, retailers and food service customers in the US and Canada out of its 90,000 square-foot facility located in the greater Toronto area.

Source: Ozery Bakery

“We manufacture fresh-baked goods that are free of GMOs, artificial preservatives, colors and flavors and made with whole grains. Some contain real fruit,” Alon Ozery told BakeryandSnacks.

“Morning Rounds specifically contribute consistently to the overall business.”

Expanding despite sluggish sales

Alon Ozery mentioned that new product development costs are “not extraordinarily high,” and the team has implemented promotional materials and instore demos to familiarize its retail customer base with its wide selection of bread and snacks.

“Our business is currently split somewhat evenly between the US and Canada,” he said.

“However, based on the size of the US market and its consumers looking for clean, innovative non-GMO products, we see a considerable opportunity there.”

According to the latest IRI bakery category data, which includes total US multi-outlets with c-stores for the last 52 weeks ending on December 25, 2016, pita bread has experienced the worst sales decline within the category.

It posted $113,721,426 in sales, a decrease of 4.9% compared to the previous year. Grupo Bimbo’s pita bread also decreased in sales, by 19.6%.

Some exceptional cases in the segment, however, witnessed remarkable growth. For example, Papa Pita Bakery’s sales increased by 17.6%, while Kontos Foods’ pita bread grew by 4.6% during the same period.

In order to compete in the market against the overall in decline, Alon Ozery said: “We look for retailers that want to be partners and recognize that a non DSD (direct-store-delivery) bread product requires extra focus at retail, but the reward is happier customers for the retailer as well as incremental growth.”

Not planning on being a purchase target

The bakery is currently finalizing the formulations on several new products that will be launched at Expo West in Anaheim, California, in March.

However, Alon Ozery acknowledged that one of the pitfalls of not being a large CPG is building awareness. But, he added, Ozery is a family business, and plans to remain that way. He does not see any plans to be acquired by a major CPG company at any time soon.

“We feel there is more to a company’s success than top line sales or a big pay day at the end. Our plan is to use our company to do more good in the world, to help our team members, the communities in which we do business, and the environment.”

The company expects to continue to stay on course and see sustainable growth in 2017.

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