Managing director, BFP Wholesale
Over the past few weeks, economic sentiment expressed in the media would suggest we are all becoming home-birds terrified to step outside in case we should be tempted to spend some money.
Is this really true for the bakery sector? Current market research suggests that an indulgent treat is a very popular way to spend money in a weak economic environment and that bakeries are well-placed to benefit from this trend.
Visiting some of our customers up and down the country, there is clearly a trend for the more expensive treats, such as injected muffins, cream-filled doughnuts, gourmet cookies or the most luxurious cupcakes, to be on display in the brightest shops. Craft bakeries have the flexibility and the skills to produce hand-crafted luxury items, sold at premium prices and they must use every opportunity to promote them in their shops or on their websites.
The higher-priced products will be critical, as the increase in commodity prices does not seem to be abating, although there does seem to be a plateauing of prices in some areas, except sugar and wheat. As input prices have risen and continue to rise, it is critical that craft bakers are able to keep pace and attract as many customers into their shops as possible. Shouting about their skills, the local heritage, the wide range of hand-crafted products, including the special indulgent treats, must be part of their strategy.
What is certain is that 2011 will be a challenge, but then isn't every year?