Who hasn't wished at some point that they could predict the future? That they could look into a crystal ball and know exactly what decisions to make to ensure a successful business? But, as my grandmother was fond of saying, be careful what you wish for.
I know, it just might come true, was my response with the requisite eye roll. I failed to see what could possibly go wrong with me marrying Corey Haim. (In my defense, it was the late '80s, I was barely a teenager and he was way cooler than Corey Feldman.)
But lacking the ability to see the future, what do you wish for? Would it be to know what influences were going to have the most effect on your bakery? While we at Modern Baking are hardly fortunetellers, we are going to take a shot at prognostication. In our cover story this month, we take a look at the 10 trends in food that may have the most impact on your bakery business in the coming year.
Some of these trends, such as food safety or the influence of Hispanic cuisine, are hardly new, but are receiving renewed attention due to several factors. For example, in the case of food safety, the wide-ranging peanut recall late last winter emphasized how little we know about the safety of our food supply. Little regulation currently exists for ensuring food safety, and while more governmental control isn't always the answer, bakers should take a look at their own practices to make sure they produce the safest product possible. While the sheer process of baking kills many contaminants, no one wants an outbreak of a food-borne illness traced back to their business.
In the case of the Hispanic influence, we have been hearing about this for several years, but as the Hispanic population continues to grow and expand into new areas of the country, its food also is expanding beyond its own population. We are mentioning this trend as a major influence because Hispanic products are on the cusp of the mainstream, with people of all ethnicities wanting a tres leches cake or conchas.
And, of course marketing on social networking sites burst onto the scene recently, and it doesn't look like consumers' appetite for social networking has any intention of slowing down. Many wonder at the staying power of the trend, but it looks like it has some legs. While the current incarnations, like Facebook or Twitter, might not last, the function these websites provide probably will. In the coming year, bakers should look at how to use these sites to their best advantage.
These are just a sampling of the food trends that will have the largest impact on your bakery businesses. We'll see at this time next year how well we did predicting the future.