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Let them eat cake: Grocer takes dessert offerings to new level with imports

Publix has struck a deal with a Canadian maker of premium cakes.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. August 16, 2019
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  • Coffee Talk
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In lieu of Coffee Talk this week, we bring you Cake Talk.

Publix Super Markets Inc. has struck a deal that will see the Lakeland-based grocer import premium, handmade cakes from Canada. Specifically, cakes made by La Rocca Creative Cakes, a company that dates back to 1955, when it was founded in Naples, Italy. In 1986, the La Rocca family expanded across the pond and opened a facility in Richmond Hill, a suburb of Toronto.

According to a news release, all 1,295 Publix grocery stores throughout the southeast now offer three varieties of La Rocca cakes: truffle royale, cookie dough and chocolate truffle. The cakes typically carry a price tag of around $24.99 each, though prices vary from store to store.

La Rocca President Michael Givens tells Coffee — er, Cake — Talk that, like many Canadians, he has visited Florida on numerous occasions and become familiar with Publix.

“We have always admired Publix — their dedication to customer service and satisfaction and how they run their stores and treat their employees,” he says. “They’re known in Canada as a very reputable company, and being a small manufacturer, we are wary about who we do business with. You can’t just get involved with anybody.”

The cake deal has been up and running for just a month, so it’s too soon for La Rocca to tell whether sales will meet long-term projections, but so far, so good. “The initial orders were fantastic, and we hear phenomenal feedback from the stores,” Givens says.

As a premium-category product, Givens adds, La Rocca’s cakes are meant to complement, not compete with, the offerings of Publix’s in-store bakeries. “It’s something special for people who want a special celebration,” he says. “We’re not an everyday product. We’re not there to take over the bakery section but [to] enhance it.”


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