Product development has always been a part of Klosterman Baking Co.’s DNA.

“We’re very proud of our service, but also we’re proud of our creativity,” said Kim Klosterman, chairman and chief executive officer of the bakery. “We come from a long line of people with interesting, creative thoughts. We think outside of the box and always have. Those two things make us really unique.”

Throughout its storied history, the Cincinnati-based bakery has made many “firsts” in the area, such as the first sliced bread, brown ’n serve rolls, hamburger buns, Coney buns and buns packaged in plastic wrap. After seeing half-loaves in Europe more than a decade ago, Klosterman even rolled out 12-oz half-loaf bread that has seen a resurgence in popularity over the past two years as companies cater to smaller families and single households.

“We started our half-loaf in the 1990s and reintroduced it again in 2009,” said Chip Klosterman, president, Klosterman. “We were a little early in the first round, but our timing was right the second time around.”

The company also rolled out some of the first commercial flatbreads and sandwich thins in the country. R.&D. is an ongoing endeavor, Mr. Klosterman said, especially in serving the food service channel.

“Our quick response to customer needs has opened doors for the company by way of product development opportunities,” he noted. “Because we are a private, family-owned business, we are able to more easily respond to customer requests and align with our customers’ interests and brand development.”

To build the Klosterman brand from a retail packaging perspective, the company focuses on partnerships with organizations that focus on families. Not surprisingly, the bakery is a longtime partner with the Cincinnati Reds, promoting Family Sundays with 24-oz 100% Whole Wheat Bread, said Amy Schmitz, director of marketing.

The 2019 marketing program includes promoting membership at the Cincinnati Zoo, discount admission to Kings Island amusement park, single game tickets for FC Cincinnati soccer, a Beach Waterpark giveaway and 50% off adoption fees from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“This initiative has really ramped up over the last few years as we have seen the power of these partnerships at work,” Ms. Schmitz said. “It started with a promotional strip on a bag and now it has grown beyond just the packaging. Each of these partnerships is a golden opportunity for social media for the partner and our company.”

“We come from a long line of people with interesting, creative thoughts. We think outside of the box and always have. Those two things make us really unique.”

Kim Klosterman, Klosterman Baking Co.

Klosterman also teams up with several not-for-profit organizations. The company relies on packaging, media relations, social media, traditional marketing billboards and radio commercials to tell consumers a story about the value of its nonprofit partners.

“We believe wholeheartedly in the mission of each of these organizations, so we not only support them but also find ways to help them spread their message and awareness to allow them to grow beyond a simple monetary gift,” Ms. Schmitz explained.

This year the bakery’s partnered with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden to highlight the importance of pollinators.

“It’s a perfect fit for our honey product line as bees are an essential pollinator and essential to our product,” Ms. Schmitz explained. “We were able to raise $10,000 for the Cincinnati Zoo’s Pollen Nation program, dedicated to supporting bees and other pollinators in our region.”

For Klosterman, she added, family is synonymous with community.

“Consumers want to feel a sense of community, even when it comes to what bread they’re purchasing at the grocery store each week,” Ms. Schmitz said. “They want to feel they are a part of something.”

The company also teams up with Folds of Honor in the summer to raise funds and awareness of their critical mission to support the children and spouses of fallen military and those disabled in the line of duty. So far this year, the bakery committed $50,000 to support scholarships for those families throughout Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. In the fall, the bakery will support Pink Ribbon Girls, a nonprofit that provides meals, housecleaning, transportation and peer support to individuals diagnosed with breast and women’s reproductive cancers.

“Our goal is to raise $10,000 to $15,000 for them this year through product sales and support from the community,” Ms. Schmitz said.

This article is an excerpt from the August 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Klosterman Baking Co., click here.