Bakers Journal

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Editor’s Letter: December 2010


November 11, 2010
By Laura Aiken

'Tis the season for holiday baking! If you’re looking to add a new twist to your holiday offerings, you may want to try some different bite-sized goodies. Miniature baked goods are like a sample you can make a sale from, except they can’t resemble chopped up bits of a whole.

'Tis the season for holiday baking! If you’re looking to add a new twist to your holiday offerings, you may want to try some different bite-sized goodies. Miniature baked goods are like a sample you can make a sale from, except they can’t resemble chopped up bits of a whole.

The economic and lower calorie appeal of mini treats makes their popularity easy to see. With weight issues at the fore, small indulgences leave people feeling less guilty. At the same time, savoury items seem to be gaining ground. When you combine the trends towards snacking, minis and savoury baking, the future looks a little like a two-bite pot pie. Enjoying little nibbles of this and that is like hitting a buffet without the heartburn suffered from six plates of lack of discipline. It also fulfils the consumer demand for maximum variety fuelled by the overload of choice at our plugged-in fingertips.

We are living in the age of ultimate personal customization, and consumers want their experiences unique. No niche is too small and we are merely on the cusp of it with food, leaning on the precipice, watching people become more and more particular, yet more adventurous, in what they’ll try. Such niche serving seems poised to usher in an era of specialists, self-proclaimed experts and connoisseurs, if it hasn’t already. What does this mean for bakers? A demand for inventiveness, twists, surprises, and new ways to pair and package unexpected flavour combinations that is only going to increase. This is not to say that old standbys, the institutions of our palates, will be cast aside at mealtime. It likely means that snacking will become more and more of a market, demanding artisanal features in its creativity and processes. There is an opportunity for bakeries to better serve the market of those looking to stop on the run for a snack. There is a follow-up opportunity to capitalize on snack time by allowing a mix and match of different tastes. Imagine leaving a bakery with a sushi-tray like platter of six different bite-sized morsels in pastry cups, all with their own story of origin and inventive touch? It sounds heavenly. It also sounds expensive, but the perceived value is high. Selling by weight may be a trend in food retail we see more of in the future.

People are returning to back-to-basics eating habits of healthier moderation that dictate variety to get the assortment of necessary nutrients, and people will be looking for ways to get a cross-section of foods into their diets – diets which may often be influenced by the special needs or particular fussiness of their loved ones. Sometimes it is nice to have an indulgence that is for you and you alone, one that does not ruin a whole meal, or perhaps do much to the appetite at all except fulfil the craving. Such indulgences are not always sweet, for not every snack need be sweet to satiate. Savoury baking is a category to watch. It offers new ways to diversify your product lines, if you are looking to do so. It’s important to stay focused on your core business and the products at the heart of it, but purging your stable of slow sellers might make room for some new ways to bring tomorrow’s customers through the door. Customization involves time and expense and it’s key to address trends from a business perspective, paying particular attention to whether or not they make sense for your unique business.

Best holiday wishes from all of us at Bakers Journal and we’ll see you in the new year.


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