Rainbo Test Markets Bread Produced in Oklahoma City

Article excerpt

Assistant Managing Editor Rainbo Baking Co. is testing a new bread in Oklahoma City which, if successful, could boost production at the local plant by 20 percent.

Metropolitan Oklahoma City is one of five test markets in the nation for IronKids Bread, designed to appeal to children and health-conscious adults. The new product provides the fiber and nutrients of whole wheat bread with the taste and soft texture of white bread.

The one-year market test began last week, said Mike Krafft, president of Rainbo Baking Co. in Oklahoma City. The plant at NW 19th St. and Broadway Ave. produced 15,000 IronKids loaves, with a 47 percent sales rate.

The 20-ounce loaves carry a suggested retail price of $1.09.

"My expectations right now for the Oklahoma City market is about 30,000 loaves a week," said Krafft.

Short-term impact on the plant is negligible. Even if IronKids reaches its sales target of 30,000 loaves a week, it would equal only a third of the total Rainbo white bread produced at the plant.

"That number of loaves of bread doesn't really impact the total manufacturing process," he said. "We produce bread at 165 loaves a minute, so it doesn't take long."

The bakery produces about 1 million pounds of bread every week, he said, generating total product sales of "a little bit over $700,000 a week," or $36.4 million a year.

"We run about a 7 percent stale factor," he said, "93 percent sold."

Long-term impact from the test, however, could be extensive. If IronKids reaches its sales target in each of the five test markets and is taken nationwide, Krafft said he would expect a 20 percent increase in production at the Oklahoma City plant and a 10 percent jump in total sales from products produced at the plant.

"We would probably add a third shift," he said, which due to automation would be limited to about 14 employees. "I would sure like to."

Plant management has already increased employment 10.2 percent, to 312 from 283 a year ago, to meet additional sales and volume demands.

The Oklahoma City plant produces baker products under the labels Rainbo, Grant's Farm and Roman Meal. It also handles the Earth Grain line and Rainbo Break Cakes, which are produced in Rainbo's Paris, Texas, plant.

Service area ranges from Newkirk, Okla. …