How IMCD’s trend-focused expertise sparked innovation for a major bakery brand

From trend presentation to product innovation, this fast-paced project started and ended with a collaborative effort.

IMCD was invited to present to one of North America’s largest commercial bakeries. The trends and innovation presentation was a rare opportunity to get in front of this leading bakery brand. 
In preparation for the meeting, IMCD’s technical and marketing teams curated the latest market insights and trends data, as well as tapped into a supplier partner’s sample library and supporting information. IMCD had one chance to make a strong impression and build trust in its expertise and ability to execute. To maximise the opportunity, the team made sure to gather all the key decision-makers and idea generators in the meeting room. 

As a trend-led company, IMCD shared key trends of importance for the customer’s new product development: clean label goes global, growing greener, and a feast for the senses. Pairing this trend information with three prototype samples — a cookie, muffin, and scone — the presentation successfully highlighted IMCD’s technical and marketing expertise and provided a visual sense of the possibilities.

The Right Match

What came next was an engaging conversation that sparked ideas and laid the foundation for a collaborative partnership with the goal of launching two new co-branded products. The creative energy in the room was a sign of the great match and the success that was to come.

While the large-scale bakery brand positions itself as a future-focused innovator, it recognises IMCD as a trend-forward solution provider. With a mutual focus on innovation, the partnership felt like a natural fit.

“The customer’s R&D team is so innovative. They are committed to making food fun and appealing to consumers with new flavour trends,” says Sherry Raitt, Technical Account Manager for IMCD Food & Nutrition Ontario. “Having their trust was so pivotal to the project’s success.”

Classics with a Twist

Because the bakery’s products are known for their strong visual appeal and flavour impact, it was important to make sure any new products aligned with the customer’s values and branding.  

Typically, new launches offer a familiar, nostalgic feel with some sort of exciting new twist that entices the consumer. 

This project involved a co-branded opportunity, which meant it was even more crucial to get the flavour right. To make a visual impact, the custom inclusions had to be visible to the eye and appealing to the appetite. 

The project timeline also presented a challenge, as it was significantly shorter than the standard lead time for customised ingredient solutions. To satisfy market and retail demands, timelines for the launch were firm. That meant communication between the customer, IMCD, and the supplier had to be seamless and collaborative. There wasn’t any room for delays or missteps.

An Agile and Collaborative Approach

IMCD’s proactive, solution-based approach sets the distributor apart from others. Understanding the importance of involving a principal supplier from the start, IMCD gained early buy-in and set expectations for the volume and scope of the project. The team coordinated trend insights and obtained physical samples for the presentation so the supplier could hit the ground running as soon as needed.

Every step of the way, the IMCD team remained transparent with the customer and supplier and exceeded expectations — from the initial trends presentation and data-based insights to the quick-turnaround modifications and final concept. Together with the customer, IMCD quickly pivoted to modify and reformulate the flavour and ingredients, ultimately producing a customised, cleaner label solution that met all requirements within the tight timeline.

“This project really captured the essence of the customer’s brand — fun, indulgent snacks with a twist,” says Sherry. “We had the opportunity to add immense value as a solutions provider, and we see this project as a springboard for future success.”

With the products’ success and significant buy-in from U.S. customers, volume potential has exploded and additional inclusion projects are in the pipeline. The IMCD team looks forward to expanding this collaborative partnership and contributing their expertise to create a fun twist on more classic bakery treats.

Looking for trend-focused expertise to guide your new product development? Reach out to our IMCD Food & Nutrition team today.