Bakery Operations and the Customer Experience

As we look to the future of our industry, we can rest assured that from the simple staples to the sublimely decadent, consumers across the globe and from all walks of life will always want – and need – delicious baked goods. We should, however, be aware that consumer behaviour will continue to evolve – and we should be prepared to evolve with them, by tweaking our processes and offerings to remain current, viable and valuable.

From an offerings perspective, bakeries of all persuasions are building better-for-you products into their offerings – for example, allergen sensitivities are pervasive and of more concern to a greater number of people each year. While still niche in South Africa, this is something to embrace as consumer awareness grows and our middle class expands. Food and bakery e-commerce has become a significant contributor in first world markets, on the provision that goods arrive fresh and in perfect condition. This not only applies to traditional e-commerce models, but to quick
Mr Delivery. While this may be out of reach for many South Africans, it’s certainly something to consider in the medium to longer term.

While freshness and taste will always result in consumer loyalty, appetite appeal remains a key driver for consumers in all income brackets. There’s no substitute for tantalising, appealing product in beautiful displays that are colourful, neat and fresh-looking. To grow variety, we should consider sampling new bakery items to the consumer to make new lines viable.

The theory is that once consumers have tasted for free, they may consider a deviation from their favourite purchase next time around. This requires persistence and zero ROI on test lines until a saturation point has been reached and the new line can be included in retail at margin.

In an increasingly digital world, we have to contend with losing human contact to communicating via social media, instant messaging and chat bots. Indeed, consumer interaction is easier for some from behind a keyboard – especially when it comes to negative experiences or even complaints. Worse, some may use these channels to complain ‘anonymously’ to receive vouchers and freebies! Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the original FaceTime platform is still our most valuable: Looking a consumer in the eye, responding attentively and with a smile, and ensuring that the consumer experience is holistically excellent. We need to keep our teams educated, motivated and energised to face the very people that
provide our income!

On the subject of the customer experience we need to also remain cognisant of the full experience: Bakeries of any type are multi-sensory and we should be celebrating aromas, taste and visual appeal using texture and colour. Have you considered warmer, more atmospheric lighting, your staff uniforms and even bring the bakery closer to the front of your operation?

Trends in the baking industry are largely product based – keeping abreast of international food trends will drive this for us. We can, however, keep our operations viable by staying versatile, embracing innovation at whatever level we can, all the while staying focused on
service. And of course, you’ll need a partner that delivers consistently outstanding flours and prepared mixes, time after time – so make it Supreme!

Baking and Beyond: Keeping ahead of Baking Trends

In the world of baking, we’ll always need the classics – even in the modern world, consumers simply can’t live without a simple – but excellent – loaf of bread. In South Africa, our more conservative marketplace thrives on tradition and familiarity, but is exposed to increasingly more global flavours and innovations. What does this mean for our industry?

Firstly, we need to embrace this change, and experiment with our existing output in a costeffective and responsible way. As is happening globally, we can bake breads and pastries in new shapes and sizes, change the consumer experience and subvert expectation by moving between sweet and savoury, and even put hybrid bakes out for trial, in the spirit of multiflour breads, cruffins and cronuts!

But beyond that, what is happening internationally in 2019 that we can leverage to our best advantage?

Although still very niche in Europe, vegetable breads are an interesting way for bakers to tap into the burgeoning of positive nutrition. Using brightly coloured veggies, such as carrot or beetroot, makes the vegetable content more tangible and helps to provide an overall flavour boost. Better-for-you bakes are becoming increasingly important as consumers trial diets that require higher intake of proteins and vegetables. As health-related needs are growing, many bread producers are shifting portions of their ranges towards positive nutrition in the hope of connecting with health-conscious consumers. As an example, Hovis has introduced a range of breads in the UK said to contain added wheat protein and fibre, and some commercial bakeries are delivering products with higher wholewheat and fibre content with additional fruit and nuts to appeal to this market, while maintaining their core everyday offering for the mass market.

Among the more innovative trends on the global baking scene is personalisation, in which consumers can design their own perfect bread by choosing their favourite flours or dough mixes, or adding extra ingredients like nuts, fruits or herbs. The baker then bakes this, so the customer can take home his very own freshly baked bread.

How about mini pastries? These bite-sized treats are becoming far more popular than ever before – offering consumers all the taste of their favourites with less guilt, and at a better pricepoint! It’s important to note that these days, even while they’re looking for an authentic sensory experience only a bakery can deliver, most consumers buy their baked goods in a supermarket or similar environment. Remember that freshness and taste are the consumer’s most important factors for repeat purchase – so no matter how you’re innovating and trendsetting, be sure to use Supreme flours and prepared mixes for consistently outstanding results, time after time!

Supreme Testimonial – Sunbake Bread

Supreme Testimonial – Sunbake Bread

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Supreme Testimonial – UitKyk

Supreme Testimonial – UitKyk