Bimbo Boo-boos

No, this isn’t mistakes by ladies of the night.

Bimbo Bread, which used to be based in Mexico, has been quietly buying up a lot of old line bakery names, such as Orowheat, Thomas (English muffins), Boboli (pizza flats), Enteman’s (pastries) and even Sara Lee. These are all much-loved brand names in their segments.

The biggest problem I’d forsee is that Bimbo has too many brands at this point, and doesn’t have distinct brand identities for them.

Another major problem is, I think they’re destroying the brand equity that they bought in all those well loved brands. They’re not even using Bimbo bread as their low price leader, which it used to be in Mexico.

Case in point: Orowheat, which goes back to the 1930s in San Francisco and has earned an excellent reputation for high quality, if pricey, bread. $4.99 a loaf here in Arizona.

The problem is, in addition to lack of quality control (poor wrapping), a major change in the recipe (took out the sugar and a few other things they’re not talking about), thereby changing the taste and texture,  and tinkering with the distribution.

We can’t even find Orowheat Honey Wheat Berry in Maricopa County, which is the fifth most populous county in the US. Bimbo admits that it withdrew HWB, which makes no sense. How they can justify this in this market is odd. It’s been hard to find anywhere around here, close to being sold out when you do find it.

Now, if Bimbo wants to contact us, I’ve had private bakers who have been marketing clients, and I’m sure they’d love to bake the bread under contract, on the old recipe.

Our advice to Bimbo is to go back to the old recipe, fire the QC people in charge of Orowheat, and do a relaunch in our area. They could probably even get major grocery chains to foot part of the bill.

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