Innovation and research have allowed the Barilla Group, owner of Harrys, resist own brands on the shelves.

For the third time in ten years, the Barilla Group (Italy), owner of Harrys brand, expanding its specialized in bread without crust factory located near Lyon (France). Guido Barilla, chairman of the Italian group, came in person to launch the production line on June 4. This investment of € 14 million will enable the brand leader of bread in France, producing 24 million packages per year of what has become the fastest growing segment of the market: “100% crumb” whose sales rose 15% last year. “Whenever we have increased our production capacity we quickly saturated,” says Giovanni Palopoli, director of operations for Barilla Western Europe.

Technical prowess

The story is like a fairy tale business. In 2005, when redeemed Harrys Barilla brand, created in 1960 by a baker from Châteauroux (Indre, France), the idea of ​​bread without crust was like a joke. A bit like Emmental without holes. But the Italian really believed, because “this was already a success in the Spanish market,” says Miloud Benaouda, CEO of Barilla France. Better, it could allow the brand to take advantage of packaged breads sold under white labels and low price, which nibbled the French market.
Remained in control in manufacturing, because this seemingly innocuous innovation required technical prowess. Indeed, once removed the crust, bread, less rigid, it becomes difficult to decide on the production line. Hence the idea – protected by a patent – to reduce sharply the temperature of the bread after it leaves the oven to stiffen, to better decide.

Success was quick, worn by children, used to cut the strip of fat around the ham or remove the rind before eating. The bread seemed designed for them, and television campaigns, putting children on stage, was confirmed. The brand also invests heavily in communication: it generates for 80% of advertising spending in its market.

Harrys did not stay alone for long in this segment is booming. Jacquet (Limagrain Group, France) has released its free crust, called “Bloody Mie”, which uses a different method of manufacture. “This is a unique process, says does one competitor in the Harrys, without removing the crust and thus without waste. Patent of this invention is applied globally. Helps reduce material losses and the first cooking time. ” The challenger uses a steaming which avoids the formation of a brown crust. For connoisseurs, the “Bloody Mie” Jacquet has a white crust well and can not be considered without a crust. Difficult to decide.

Successful segmentation

To keep ahead in the race for innovation, Harrys under-segmented bread without crust market by launching the 100% brioche bread, wholemeal bread, bread pudding, 7-grain, long shelf … A fee activism: industrial holds its competitors and white labels at a distance and keep the consumer preference. While the French market classical sandwich bread rose by only 2.4% and is dominated by white labels (44.5%), that of “no crust” grew 15% in volume in twelve months, and Harrys dominates, with nearly 60% of sales.

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