This year, the competition will name a national prizewinner and – for the first time in three separate categories – winners in all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
Dawn introduced the Sweetest Bakery contest in 2017 to drum up interest in local bakeries and support innovation. The inaugural year drew 600k votes for more than 1,400 bakeries in the US and Puerto Rico, according to Alexis Gilbert, internal agency leader at Dawn. Three-quarters of entrants reported an increase in sales – some as high as 20% – during the contest period.
Last year’s event tallied 2.1m votes.
Family-owned and operated, Lochel's Bakery outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, won the 'sweetest bakery' contest in 2017 and 2018. The 75-year-old bakery is known for its buttercakes, cookies, Danish and donuts, especially its fastnachts available only on Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday).
Dawn also ran the contest in Canada for the first time last year, and Dooher's Bakery – a full-service shop beloved for its donuts – came out on top. Also family-owned, Dooher's opened in 1949, relocating to its current home in Campbellford, Ontario, (between Toronto and Ottawa) in 1956. The community even planned a neighborhood barbecue after the win.
“Because of the business success realized by participating bakeries, we once again invite bakeries across the country to participate and for consumer to vote for their favorite bakery,” said Gilbert.
For its 2019 competition, Dawn is adding the category winners and ‘greater transparency’ with daily rankings on the contest’s webpage.
“Over the past two years, the Sweetest Bakery in America contest has grown into a key touchpoint for our customers – providing an exciting way to help grow their business and engage with their local communities,” said Dawn’s CMO Angie Goldberg.
“Heading into our third year, we’re expanding the contest to showcase the variety of specialty bakeries throughout the country. With so many ways to win this year, we expect even more bakeries to participate and consumers across the country to take part in the fun.”
US bakeries are invited to register until September 30 in one of the following categories:
- Full-line bakery
- Donut shop
- Cake/cupcake shop
Contestants will then receive a kit to display posters, stickers and window decals in their bakery, encouraging customers to vote either online or via text on their mobiles.
Consumers are not limited to a single vote: Starting July 1, fans can vote through both means once per calendar day for a total of two daily tallies.
Winners will be announced on October 18.
The grand prizewinner will receive a two-day innovation session with Dawn’s executive pastry chef at its innovation studio in Jackson, Michigan, valued at $5k.
Each of the 155 category winners will receive recognition, including pre-designed social media posts and a plaque, and Dawn will also provide an exclusive ‘tips and trends’ webinar with its pastry chef.
“Our focus is on supporting bakeries to help grow their business, drive store traffic and improve loyalty in their local community," added Gilbert.
Cannabis bakeries are not eligible, according to the official contest rules.