By Max Jenvey of Oxxygen Marketing Partnership, a strategic business agency, specialising in the bakery, foodservice and convenience retail sectors

Summer is finally here, and even though the sun may not be shining, your customers’ minds are totally focused on that all-important summer holiday. Top of mind is how they are going to fit into their summer wardrobe and look good on the beach or by the pool.

Of course, the gym beckons, the diets start and herein lies your opportunity: what better way to increase your sales of speciality breads and sandwiches than with an emphasis on healthy eating?

Our colleagues at research firm him! tell us that 40% of bakery customers know they want a sandwich, but make their final purchase decision in-store which means the breads and fillings play a huge role in their selection process. So what type of sandwiches are they buying? Him! says that 18% buy traditional sandwiches and rolls, 14% prefer something a little more exotic, such as paninis and speciality breads, with only 3% looking for wraps.

So what are some of the most important considerations for customers when choosing their sandwiches and bread carriers? Top of the list is availability, at 30%; if it ain’t there, they can’t buy it. And interestingly enough, 50% of customers tell him! that, year-on-year, their local bakery or coffee shop has exactly the same range.

One of the UK’s leading Harley Street nutritionists Yvonne Bishop-Weston says: "Between 50% and 98% of nutrients are lost by turning grains into white bread and, of particular interest to women, 76% of iron is lost in the process."

So it’s a well-known fact that brown and seeded breads are better for you, but with stats like these the real question is, ’What are you waiting for?’

Adapt your offer, not only by shouting, ’Viva Wholegrain!’ through your window, but also with seasonal variations on fillings. Remember it’s summer, so keep it light and tasty, not forgetting to promote those nutritional benefits.

Look, for example, at the emphasis food giant Nestlé places on whole grains within its cereal range. If you, as serious bakers and sandwich-makers, take note, the short-term ’grains’ are all to play for!