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

As you know, when the sun shines our sales are often negatively affected. So, in order to protect ourselves what factor sun-screen do we need to slap on?

The answer is simple: keep it light, healthy and above all appetising. These rules apply to our entire range of products, from breads and sandwiches to cakes and pastries, sweet treats and snacks.

What do our market research specialists at him! say? They told us that 22% of customers entering our shops intend to purchase a bakery product. The reality is that 25% of café customers, that’s a quarter of your market, actually purchase pastry items (FTG report 2009). Interestingly 72% of the market is made up of food-to-go customers the real question is how do we maximise this selling opportunity?

Let’s explore some ’weather friendly’ alternatives to capture sales. With temperatures rising, most of us are looking for something fresh, light and if at all possible healthy. So why not combine fresh fruit with delicious cakes and pastries? A summer berry cake not only tastes good but also taps into people’s perceptions of five a day.

Have you noticed how popular cupcakes are at present? Develop a ’sun-sational’ range of two or three new cupcakes. Think mandarin oranges, plump blueberries or why not try a raspberry ripple. Alternatively try fig, kiwi and dates. If all else fails use pineapple for an upside down cupcake! Remember to bundle up for link sales & promotions.

Sun-sational offers should extend into your sandwich range too; who can resist a seeded roll, granary or wholemeal bread with a mozzarella, tomato and basil filling, drizzled with an extra virgin olive oil & balsamic dressing we even please the veggies with this one! Play with your sun-sational theme with the introduction of freshly squeezed juices or smoothies.

Display and customer communications are key; your displays and front counter should shout about what delights are in-store for your customers.

Turn down the heat on your coffee offer with iced lattes and frappes as we know coffee is still the number one destination purchase for morning commuters and travelling public (him! coffee report).

Remember small is beautiful so merchandise sweet indulgent mini bites, cakes and pasties for sharing ideal for grab and go customers in multi bags near the till. This is your sun-sational sales season!