By creating pre-measured packets of brown sugar, Imperial Sugar's Redi-Measure brand gained distribution month over month through 2009 and increased share in multiple markets.

Brown sugar is notorious for clumping and turning rock hard, making the task of portioning out a quarter-cup’s worth from a previously opened package a challenge.

Imperial Sugar Company’s solution, a box of 12 premeasured ¼-cup packets called Redi-Measure, launched in 2009 under two regional brands (Imperial Sugar and Dixie Crystals) and offered a benefit that frustrated consumers readily recognized. By guaranteeing freshness with every packet, the packaging offers consumers better consistency for their baked goods.

The bottom line > With limited marketing support (free-standing insert coupons, end cap displays and some trade media outreach), the company reports that it gained distribution month over month through 2009-leading to a very strong holiday season.

In the Houston and San Antonio markets, where the Imperial Sugar brand is sold, the company gained 14.3 percent share of the branded brown sugar sector for the week ending December 19, 2009; in San Antonio, the brand gained 22 percent. In the Southeast, where the company’s Dixie Crystals brand is sold, Imperial gained 9.2 percent share for that same time period-which falls in the October-November-December timeframe in which the company earns more than 50 percent of its brown sugar sales.

Imperial Sugar says that, after seeing the results, retail customers that hadn’t originally signed on for the new packaging, made outreach to get the Redi-Measure packaging on their shelves.