“We’re a 230-year-old company, so certainly a change to our name and a rebranding is a big deal for us,” Tine told FoodNavigator-USA.
The rebranding was years in the making, said Tine, and 18 months ago the company fully-committed to the creative process of modernizing its logo, name, and market positioning.
The new logo features a red and gold wheat crown – replacing the brand’s widely-recognized image of a horse-backed King Arthur – encircled by its new name, King Arthur Baking Company, printed in bold and modernized sans serif font.
“I think there’s a little bit of visual history that anybody would need to get used to, but our brand is not about King Arthur riding a horse, and so we like the idea of how any baker can wear a crown and how that feels more inclusive,” said Tine.
A company of bakers
Part of the company’s main objective in its first major rebranding is to build and support a growing community of bakers of all skill levels and solidify its identity as a company of bakers.
“We felt that the best thing we could do is to be really clear to our consumers that we are bakers, and that’s what we’re focused on,” said Tine.
“Fortunately, through our research and our connection to our consumers, we continually felt that baking is going to be a strong trend moving forward, in the sense that it’s a little bit of a counter trend as people look to more convenience and move faster and life itself gets more complicated, while baking is a way to step back from that.”
Baking has become a popular household activity for many consumers during the months of home confinement during the coronavirus pandemic.
In March, King Arthur sold more flour than it previously had for any other month in 2018. The strong sales continued into June 2020 (usually a time when at-home baking slows with the warmer summer temperatures) when the company saw a 271% increase in the number of pounds of flour sold compared to June 2019.
The sales have been reminiscent of some of the company’s record holiday sales in November and December months, said Tine.
Consumer questions to King Arthur’s Baker’s Hotline, where consumers can call or connect with a professional baker online to get their baking questions answered, began to pour in as well. Between March and May 2020, the hotline received triple the amount inquiries from home bakers compared to the same three months in 2019, said Tine.
According to Tine, the company received more than 150,000 questions over the course of three months from novice bakers looking to learn the basics to professionals with more technical questions about sourdough starter and crumb structure.
Engagement with its online content also exploded leading to the creation of “The Isolation Baking Show” series featuring professional bakers at home in their kitchens baking everything from German pretzels and pavlova to brioche and delicate choux pastry.
“We produced more than a dozen episodes of Isolation Baking Show, and that was an hour long food show that reached a 100,000 people, almost every episode which I think is really unique for a CPG company to have that type of a media platform,” said Tine.
Expanded footprint into the baking aisle
Part of taking a more proactive approach to engaging with its consumer base has been through new product innovation, which respond to current consumer trends and needs.
“Our consumers will see us expanding our footprint in the baking aisle,” Tine said, adding that customers will still be able to find King Arthur's traditional paper-packaged flour products in 5lb quantities in the baking aisle where they will display the brand's refreshed logo.
This year, King Arthur Baking Company has launched and expanded the availability of a number of products previously only available online, including its Neapolitan-style pizza dough, organic rye flour, a new baking sugar alternative (a blend of dietary fiber and erythritol), and keto wheat flour.
“We are rapidly expanding the sale of some of our spices and flavors like espresso powder and Vietnamese cinnamon,” he added.
Consumers can expect to see King Arthur Baking Company’s refreshed logo, packaging, and products rolling at major retailers stores nationwide over the coming months.
“I think they’ll see a very familiar brand, but a more modern brand that looks more inclusive to all bakers,” said.