- Texas-based Central Market has scored a deal with New York City-based cult-favorite Levain Bakery, known for its massive cookies that are both chewy and crisp, Bloomberg reported. Levain will launch its frozen cookie business at Central Market in Texas.
- The cookies will be available in four flavors: chocolate chip walnut, two-chip chocolate chip, dark chocolate peanut butter and oatmeal raisin. A box of eight 2-ounce cookies will cost about $8. The cookie company is also in talks with other supermarkets about carrying its goods.
- Levain will only make 20,000 a day to start, Bloomberg reported. But in the next two years, the company expects frozen cookies to make up 10% to 15% of its overall business.
Central Market is supermarket H-E-B’s gourmet shop and is known for its upscale shopping experience, making it a good fit to carry Levain's cookies. Its small footprint allows Levain to test its new product with a targeted audience and without having to commit to producing a large number of cookies.
Stocking Levain cookies gives Central Market shoppers in Texas a taste of the beloved cookies without having to travel to New York City. Central Market is the first and so far only grocer to carry this product in-store, which could lead to more exclusive product deals in the future.
This product also highlights a category Central Market seems to be more focused on these days — frozen foods. The frozen food category fuels growth for the broader center store category, according to Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president with IRI. Guy Chandonnet, business development manager for frozen foods and dairy at Central Market, told Bloomberg that the frozen cookie category has room for growth and that he is "pushing customers out of refrigerated and into frozen foods in general, because that’s where the quality is."
Levain’s chief marketing officer, Rachel Porges, explained to Bloomberg that frozen cookies are able to replicate the texture that can be found in the restaurant better than more commonly found refrigerated cookies.
The frozen food industry is working toward shifting away from the unhealthy and low-quality image that persists with many shoppers today. Some manufacturers have even invested in quick-freeze technology in an effort to better preserve nutrients and flavor. While the category is still growing, millennials are among the frozen foods industry's biggest targets as they’re more willing to experiment with new categories in the frozen section, like cookies for example.