Interstate Bakeries Bakes Up All-Natural Bread Line

Less than two weeks after coming out of bankruptcy, Interstate Bakeries Corp. on February 16 will introduce a campaign for its new line of 100 percent all-natural bread called Nature’s Pride.

Advertising for Nature’s Pride plays up the bread’s health properties: no trans fat, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial preservatives, flavors and colors. The New York office of WPP’s Grey Group handles.

Nature’s Pride comes in eight premium hard bread varieties (priced $3.69 to $4.29), as well as two traditional soft bread varieties (priced $2.99 to $3.59). The bread, which hit retail stores today, is available nationwide, except in the Pacific Northwest, southern California and Texas—markets where Interstate Bakeries does not have bread bakeries.  

Television, print and online advertising all hark on the natural theme, and so does the packaging, which carries the company’s “Promise” stamp of approval. One TV spot states, “You come into this world totally natural. Absolutely pure,” and shows a woman and her child running through a wheat field.

The new Nature’s Pride line will compete with both store varieties of natural breads, and those sold by popular brands like Pepperidge Farm and Arnold. Nature’s Pride’s point of differentiation, however, is that the brand is completely natural, per the company.

Interstate Bakeries is targeting women ages 25-65, said CMO Rich Seban, because they tend to do most of the grocery shopping. Also, because women are “more concerned with health and wellness than men in general,” Seban said. He added: “We realized there was a gap in what consumers wanted to buy at the grocery store, [so] we started to look at what we could do to fill that niche.”

The new campaign for Nature’s Pride tried to fill the niche by returning to bread’s basic roots, said Bob Sullivan, the Grey executive creative director who worked on the account. “Once upon a time, when people started making sliced bread, they had to put preservatives in the bread because it would go bad,” Sullivan said. “Now, [bread makers like Interstate Bakeries] have gone back to the original dream—really good bread the way you want it.”

Interstate Bakeries is entering a crowded category, especially having endured tough times in the past. The company filed for bankruptcy in September 2004 due to declining sales, consequently closing bakeries and cutting jobs. Last Tuesday, however, it gave control of the company to an investment fund and announced a $600 million financing plan to continue operations. Despite its troubles, the bread company has two advantages on its side, said Mintel senior food analyst Marcia Mogelonsky. Consumers are looking to save money by packing lunch, and mothers are mindful of serving their children healthier foods. Additionally, the bread company—which also owns Wonder Bread and Hostess cupcakes—has a huge distribution network, Mogelonsky said.

Interstate Bakeries did not disclose cost of the campaign, but said it is the biggest marketing launch since the debut of its Wonder Made with Whole Grain White, White Bread Fans and Wonder Kids varieties nearly two years ago. The company spent $8 million on U.S. measured media in 2007, and $11 million through November of last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.