Turn wedding cakes upside down
As more couples look to make their weddings unique, offer a different take on the wedding cake by turning it upside down, literally. Decorate the tiers right side up, ensuring the icing has dried completely before you begin to assemble the cake. Use a modified single separator support system to assemble the cake. Drill holes in the center of each plate to allow a support rod to pass through the entire cake. Drill a hole at the top and bottom of the support rod. Use a dowel or pin through the hole in the bottom to support the first tier’s cake plate. Place the smallest tier upside down on a plate of the same size with the support rod running through the center. Dowel the tier as you would an ordinary cake, and place the next largest tier on top. Continue stacking the tiers, and when you get to the last tier, place a cake board slightly larger than the tier on top. Place a pin or hook through the top of the rod to hang the cake.
It’s what’s inside that counts
More than one-third of visits to the fresh bakery occur because something caught the consumer’s eye, according to a survey of more than 3,000 consumers by Datassential. Turn customers’ heads with uniquely doubled up products. Split crispy rice squares horizontally and layer thinly sliced brownie pieces inside. Shape sugar cookie dough around a crème-filled sandwich cookie, or bake a peanut butter cup inside peanut butter cookies. Or, go over the top by placing a baked apple pie inside heavy chocolate cake batter and baking, or split an 8- or 10-in. round cake horizontally and layer with donut holes. Slice some of the products in the display case so customers can see what’s inside. Enhance the display with eye-catching signage that celebrates the decadence and uniqueness of two products in one.
Throw a garden party
Terra cotta pots aren’t just for planting daisies anymore. Inspired by the open-air flower stalls at Boroughs Gardens in London, potted baked products evoke the easy luxury of a garden party. Merchandise baguettes, rolls, croissants, quick bread and yeast bread (both of which can be baked in the pot), cake pops as well as iced cookies on lollipop sticks. Display products in a garden cart out on the floor. Use pots in an assortment of sizes and colors to create height and visual interest. Add extra elements like birdcages and flowers made from gumpaste or fondant. Use leftover pots to create a vertical display by running a steel rod through the hole in the bottom of the pots and then filling the pots with more baked products.
Convenience goes to Europe
Convenience is still king in the supermarket–it’s the number two reason shoppers opt for the commercial aisle over deli/bakery, according to Datassential. So what better way to appeal to on-the-go consumers than with self-contained croissant sandwiches? Inspired by the European tradition of wrapping bread or pastry dough around savory fillings, the self-contained croissant sandwich appeals to refined palates while also satisfying the desire for quick and easy meal solutions. Frozen croissant or biscuit dough can be rolled around fillings ranging from pickles to cooked sausages with mustard to ham and cheese and baked for an attractive meal solution that offers time savings to the customer. Consider offering high-end fillings, such as goat cheese and fig jam or Manchego cheese and prosciutto, to appeal to sophisticated consumer tastes. Merchandise a few of the sandwiches sliced in half, so customers can see what’s inside. Several varieties also can be grouped on a tray for a party pack that satisfies a range of tastes.
Party with ‘cake’tails
The craft of making cocktails is staging a comeback and bakeries don’t need to be left out. Create your own cocktail hour by offering a variety of caketails merchandised in traditional barware. These are a step up from the dessert shots that hit the scene a few years ago. A margarita features a glass rimmed in sanding sugar and filled with Jell-O (lime or any flavor that is colored yellow) topped with a thin layer of cake. Finish the “drink” with swirls of whipped topping and a pineapple garnish. You also can make tequila sunrise in a mug with a bottom layer of red velvet cake topped with mango and lemon filling and garnished with a cherry and orange slice.
Desserts with pop
Push pops are traditionally thought of as a frozen treat, but the plastic containers can be repurposed for easy-to-serve desserts. Sell them singly or as a party tray. Create colorful desserts with alternating layers of different-colored cake and icing, or individual sizes of popular treats such as strawberry shortcake with layers of shortcake, whipped cream and strawberries. Or even layer the same dessert to create easy-to-eat brownies, for example. Another option is to fill the containers with spreads or butters, such as asiago parsley, cheddar jalapeño or garlic spread and merchandise next to a bread display.
Hold the pepperoni pizzas
Why let pizza chains corner the market on dessert pizzas? Make your own with any type of bread dough and toppings ranging from fruit to candy. For a fruit version, spread the dough with fruit filling, top with streusel, bake and drizzle with icing. You also can create a candy variety by spreading melted chocolate, peanut butter or hazelnut spread on the dough and topping it with crushed candy bars or other types of candy. Then, drizzle with more chocolate or caramel.
This to that
Offering the same product in several sizes is nothing new in the baking world, but you can take it one step further by also altering how you decorate the products. A single layer chocolate cake can be decorated simply for a customer to take home to her family, or you can elaborately decorate that same cake as a double layer with chocolate cigarettes around the outside and topped with additional chocolate ribbons if the customer needs dessert for a party. Or you can offer a mousse cake simply decorated for a lower price point and punch up the decorations to get a higher retail price for the same product. Playing with the decorations can significantly increase the price without adding a lot of labor.
IDDBA’s Show and Sell Center at the recent Dairy-Deli-Bake expo offered new merchandising techniques and the latest product trends. Here are some of the most notable examples.