Bakery pushes own brand after years of white-label production

One way to counter the effects of the recession is to start a retail brand. That’s what entrepreneur Karen Trilevsky did.

The founder and CEO of FullBloom Baking Co, a 22-year-old natural foods bakery outside San Francisco, started rolling out her own line of branded snacks in 2008, after years serving as the behind-the-scenes regional baker for big customers like Whole Foods.

Trilevsky, 54, admited it’s been tough to create a market for new products in the crowded natural and organic foods space, which commands premium pricing –- sometimes as much as 50 percent –- over conventional grocery items. With all the belt tightening, she said customers are often reluctant to try new things.

“The grocery stores seem to be much more reticent to make changes,” she said. “There’s no risk taking going on.”

Even so, FullBloom has been able to carve out shelf space for its products, offering up snacks customers can’t find elsewhere in this premium niche of food retailing.

Whole Foods on lookout for emerging brands

A woman shops at a Whole Foods supermarket in New York. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

A woman shops at a Whole Foods supermarket in New York. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Got the next great organic food product? Wondering how to get it into your local Whole Foods store? Then Tom Rich is the guy to talk to.

Rich is the grocery coordinator for the 27-store Rocky Mountain region of the Austin, Texas-based supermarket chain. He works in the health-oriented, food-centric city of Boulder, Colorado, where the company’s recently expanded Pearl Street store is considered a rich testing ground for new concepts.

from Shop Talk:

Social Media for Business


A new report by Inside Facebook discusses some best practices for retailers hoping to set up shop on the popular social networking site.

Some of the recommendations include letting users shop from within Facebook, including even the ability to share product information with friends.  Another suggestion is to have contests, giveaways and sweepstakes.

But what's most interesting is the last suggestion: keep it simple with status updates.