Executive Summary

Midstate Mills, Inc.Midstate Mills Inc., a family owned and operated manufacturer of flour, corn meal, and baking products was founded in 1935 by G.D. Drum in Newton, North Carolina. The company marketed three main brands – Southern Biscuit Flour, Tenda-Bake corn meal, and Redi-Mix baking mixes. These brands enjoyed tremendous consumer loyalty and sales growth until the 1970’s, when the company transitioned its focus from promoting its retail brands to driving more plant utilization through private label and foodservice endeavors. The result was that the retail brands begin to lose market share, distribution, and consumer loyalty.

Challenge

After averting a financial crisis related to a new plant opening, the Midstate Mills senior management team decided to focus their efforts on their retail branded products. Winsights Marketing was hired to help revitalize the consumer branded business. The Southern Biscuit and Tenda-Bake brands suffered from low brand awareness, declining retail distribution, and outdated packaging & marketing communications. Sales and market share were declining at a precipitous rate.

Solution

Consumer research revealed that Midstate Mill’s unique, 100% soft-wheat flour was considered the “magic pixie dust” of southern baking and transferable to other baking products. Winsights Marketing helped direct a total brand renovation including new brand identity, packaging, and marketing communications. We orchestrated the development of a new, more customer friendly website and social media campaign. Winsights Marketing also spearheaded new product development work on pancake mixes, coatings, and gourmet flours. In addition, we worked closely with the sales team to help them improve key account selling skills, sales forecasting, and better optimize trade promotion spending.

Results

This Midstate Mills’ brand renovation resulted in the introduction of 10 new items, redesigned packaging on 30 SKU’s, and expanded distribution at Food Lion, Walmart, and other regional grocery chains. This resulted in over $1 million in incremental annual sales. Winsights Marketing also implemented performance based trade promotions and aligned sales & production forecasting. Finally, we provided sales training and fact based key account presentations that generated significant increases in merchandising support while saving millions of dollars in trade spending and supply chain costs.

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