Rarely is insomnia a good thing, and even more rarely does it actually help me with my job. However, a few weeks ago, I was watching an early morning news program on one of the national networks (I honestly can’t remember which one, it was 3 a.m. for goodness sake), and the anchors teased an upcoming segment on how to shop the supermarket smarter. The teaser included a snippet on why you should avoid the in-store bakery. Now I knew I wasn’t going back to sleep until I watched it.
While the segment had several suggestions for money savings, the gist of the bakery portion was that since all in-store bakeries use frozen product, consumers are better off skipping them entirely and buying either mixes or frozen products from the commercial aisles to bake off at home. Hold up!
“I’d like to see someone try to make donuts at home,” was my first snide thought. (I did once, and it wasn’t pretty.) Then, I had to acknowledge that yes, many in-store bakeries do use frozen, par-baked and thaw-and-sell products, but many of those are high-quality products and shouldn’t be dismissed simply because the bakeries didn’t make them from scratch. Frozen and par-baked products have made great strides in recent years, and some can even match scratch products in flavor and quality. But advising consumers to dismiss the in-store bakery as a whole is a grave disservice.
The good news is now you know what you’re up against. You have to get the word out that the products you offer are of high quality.
If your in-store bakery does make products from scratch/mix, you especially need to stress that fact. Make sure your customers know it. It is easy to take for granted that they do, especially if you have an open production area, but that’s not always the case. I was chatting with Roland Krueger, Buehler Food Market, and this is something he is very aware of. “We tout that we make and bake products fresh in store. Everybody is concerned about where it’s made, and we make it right in the building where they’re shopping,” he said. “As an organization, we basically overlooked that fact for awhile, but we have to let customers know that we make it right here.”
No matter if you buy frozen or make products from scratch, make sure your customers know that you are offering a quality product that is worth spending their food dollars on. Be proud and be loud.