Supermarket Perimeter - August 2022 - 30

Bakery: Pies
" From a manufacturing standpoint, we've made some decisions over
the past two years to look at our throughput, " Cavanaugh said. " How
can we make more pies, faster. We've had to put some products on
pause, though we intend to go back to those varieties. "
Topped pies and individual pies, more than individual flavors, are
among the products Gardner has cut back on to deal with the current
labor and supply chain issues.
" We're focusing on 9- and 10-inch pies because that's in our
wheelhouse, " Cavanaugh said.
And that could be the case at least through 2023 - Gardner doesn't see
the supply chain and inflation-related issues going away anytime soon.
" If I had to guess right now, I think we'll still be in pause position. "
Gardner has made significant investments in infrastructure just to get
by during this " pause " period. The company used to make pies using a
just-in-time mentality, but Cavanaugh said that's no longer possible.
" You just can't do that now, and I don't think we're ever going back to
just-in-time inventory, if it does occur, it's going to look a little different.
A new tunnel oven for pre-baked pies, other new equipment and
robotics to save labor are among the changes the company has made.
Through this adjustment process, Gardner has had to balance how it
maintains the artistry it's known for with the efficiency demanded by a
customer base that wants what it wants when it wants it.
" One of our core values is quality, and we don't want to lose that in
place of automation, " Cavanaugh said.
Using cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, real fresh fruit
instead of fillers - those are things Gardner won't compromise on,
regardless of the hurdles it has to jump over.
" We're not trying be everything to everybody. We believe our
customer has a certain amount of loyalty and discretionary income. "
Quality and variety
One of Gardner's main differentiators is the quality and variety of fruit
pies it offers. In addition to its traditional Ida red apple pie, for instance,
Gardner offers apple pies made with Honeycrisp and granny smith
varieties and a Country Cinnamon apple pie. Gardner developed its
Honeycrisp pie at the request of a retail partner, Jewel Osco, which saw
a merchandising opportunity with fresh Honeycrisp, Honeycrisp cider
and other products made with the popular variety.
Order now!
One thing the global supply chain and labor situation
has driven home is the importance of retailers getting
their holiday pie orders in - the sooner the better.
" All of our suppliers are extending their lead
times, whether it's because of shortages of wheat
from Ukraine or palm oil from Indonesia, " said Tom
Cavanaugh, vice president of sales and marketing for
West Newbury, Mass.-based Gardner Pie. " We're
telling our customers that there are things coming
out we don't know about. Get your orders in. "
Cavanaugh said he likes to give his customers a
guarantee that their holiday orders will be filled, but in
this environment, he said he'd be lying if he said that.
He said trying to guess where the next supply snafu will
come from is almost impossible. Campbell, for instance,
recently announced it was having trouble sourcing
aluminum for its V8 cans and other products, and beer
manufacturers were reporting similar problems. Well,
that's the same aluminum Gardner sources for its pie tins.
Two things are crucial to keep in mind, Cavanaugh
said, when planning for this year's holidays (or
six, depending how you're counting).
" Communicate, communicate, communicate,
plan, plan, plan, " he said. " Everybody's
working hard to get better at it. "
" They may not be the most exciting, but granny and Honeycrisp sell
very well, " Cavanaugh said. " They're familiar with a twist. Not everybody
can say they have a 100% Honeycrisp or granny. "
Similarly distinctive is Gardner's blueberry pie, which is made
exclusively with wild blueberries, which tend to be smaller and sweeter
than cultivated blueberries.
Gardner's also uses Super Grade A Michigan cherries for its cherry
pies, sources wheat locally when it can and tries to keep a close rein
on its other ingredient sourcing. That can be a hindrance at times,
Cavanaugh said, during the current supply chain problems.
Demand for fruit pies has been high this summer and, as usual,
should trend back to pumpkin, pecan, custard and other heavier pies in
November and December, said Dan Moats, certified master of baking for
Stratas Foods.
While other foods are struggling due to inflation, pies are an
exception, Moats said.
" Pies are perceived as a comfort food and comfort foods tend to do
well in a struggling economy. "
That said, experimentation is definitely on the back burner thanks to
current economic conditions, Moats said.
" I don't see many new trends. It appears that bakeries and companies
are just trying to stay afloat labor wise with existing SKUs. "
30 - AUGUST 2022
supermarketperimeter.com
GARDNER PIE
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Supermarket Perimeter - August 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Supermarket Perimeter - August 2022

Supermarket Perimeter - August 2022 - Intro
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2022 - INLINEa
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2022 - INLINEb
Supermarket Perimeter - August 2022 - 1
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