Grow business with granola

Flour Craft Bakery in San Anselmo, CA sells maple pecan and cranberry almond granola.

Snacking is a normal occurrence in many people’s daily lives. But while some people choose to reach for greasy potato chips when the snack craving strikes, more and more people are opting for healthier snack options. According to a Statista survey of approximately 24,000 American adults from January 2013 to March 2014, some 56.5 percent of American households eat nutritional snacks. Additionally, approximately 16.8 percent of American households eat chewy granola snacks more often than other nutritional snacks, such as fruit.

This data points to a potentially new market to which your retail bakery could appeal: granola. By adding granola to your existing product line, you can easily reach this healthy snacking crowd. Doing so has already paid off for Heather Hardcastle, chef and owner of Flour Craft Bakery in San Anselmo, CA.

Since 2009, Hardcastle has been selling two varieties of granola in her bakery: maple-pecan and cranberry-almond.

“I’ve always loved granola as my daily breakfast and spent many years perfecting the recipe, just for family and friend,” Hardcastle said. “Everyone loved them, so I started selling locally through farmers markets and the product just took off from there.”

Hardcastle now sells her granolas not only at farmers markets, but also in her bakery, via the bakery’s website, and through various retailers, including Whole Foods Markets in Northern California. Flour Craft Bakery doesn’t widely distribute any of its fresh items, but the granola does well on its own. At the bakery, it is often purchased along with other products available for sale, resulting in higher ticket values.

As if distribution, retail sales, and individual online sales weren’t enough, Hardcastle also makes her granola available through subscription.

“You can purchase a three-, six-, or 12-month subscription order that will automatically ship on the first of each month for the specified amount of time,” Hardcastle said. “This ensures that the customer will never run out or find their local store shelf without their favorite flavor. It also makes an excellent gift.”

Hardcastle describes her typical granola customer as “a health-conscious foodie who appreciates the unique flavor profile of our granola and the quality products we use.” And to keep those customers happy, Flour Craft Bakery makes everything in-house.

“Our facility is certified gluten-free so we can best control the integrity of the product we product,” Hardcastle said. “Also, the product is entirely handcrafted, with multiple turns throughout the baking process. By making it ourselves, we can ensure that it comes out perfect every time.”

In addition to a high-quality product, Hardcastle also attributes granola’s longevity to its success as a bakery product.

“I think customers want a product they can take home that embodies the spirit of their bakery experience, but that they can enjoy for many days after,” Hardcastle said. “It’s a bit of a leisurely weekend experience in their daily routine.”

If you are thinking about launching a granola line, Hardcastle offers this advice: “Cereal/granola is a competitive category. Make sure your product stands out in a fundamental way or that your process yields a unique result, as shelf space is limited.”