Inside King Arthur Flour

But as soon as a truckload of 8,600 bags were unloaded at the company’s fulfillment centers, they were flying out the doors to customers, leaving the company out of stock until the next truck came in. It was the same pattern at grocery stores. As far as most consumers could tell, there was no flour anywhere, at any time, even though about half a million bags a week were being sold. ‘A shipment of product would come in the morning and be gone in a few hours,’ says Underwood. ‘If your trip to the store or your visit to the website didn’t line up exactly with those short times, you’d never see any.’

Pressed to produce more, the company formed a crisis response team, which met via video chat three times a day, every day, for the first several weeks after the initial surge in demand. ‘The first thing we had to do was agree on what we could accomplish,’ says Colberg. ‘During a crisis there are a lot of problems to solve, and you won’t be able to solve them all. We decided the one we had to solve was how to get more all-purpose flour to consumers.’

Inside King Arthur Flour, the Company Supplying America’s Sudden Baking Obsession, David H. Freedman in Marker