John Young, national sales manager, Orchard Valley Foods embraces the growing diversity of baking and suggests bakers take advantage of this summer’s sporting events

“We are who we believe ourselves to be, not what someone thinks we should be.”

Misleadingly philosophical thoughts to start my first BB blog with but it’s something that crossed my mind a lot while we were exhibiting at the Food & Drink show in late March.

The food industry is entering a period of unprecedented innovation and desire for difference and uniqueness. Yet there still seems a reluctance from certain parts of the market to really embrace change, add innovation and try something new.

Change and innovation

Solid lines that once separated food categories are blurred beyond recognition and, as a result, cheese blenders are adding caramel inclusions, chocolatiers are incorporating cheese crackers and snack producers are mixing-in anything (not literally, they draw the line at quails’ eggs) to change the texture and challenge their consumers’ taste buds.

To add to the growing diversity, there is a football World Cup about to take place in Brazil, a country very much in the spotlight, with a fast-growing economy and an Olympic Games in 2016.

The FIFA World Cup is the world’s most widely viewed sporting event, an estimated 715 million people watched the final match of 2006 and the 2010 event was broadcast to 204 countries on 245 different channels.* In short, a LOT of people will be influenced by the tournament over the next few weeks. What an ideal time to try something a little bit different.

Embrace Brazilian themes

I’m not suggesting you construct a life-sized model of Wayne Rooney out of cronuts, although that would be eye-catching, but why not add some tournament-themed colour or apply some exotic fruit flavours, such as guava, papaya, passion fruit or pineapple.

These innovative and exciting concoctions might never be the biggest sellers in your range, but it might catch the eye of Mrs Jones when she comes in to buy her daily bloomer and lead her to explore your confectionery with a renewed vigour.

If the thought of Brazil and mojito Caketails doesn’t butter your croissant, we are only a couple of weeks away from the lawn being the focus for the world of tennis. In 2013 Andy Murray became the first British male tennis player to win Wimbledon for 377 years, so the level of interest will be higher than ever this June. The yin to Brazil’s yang this will be all about quintessential British summer flavours and I think even Mrs Jones could be tempted by a doughnut topped with strawberries and cream or a cheeky Pimms cupcake.

*Data taken from FIFA official website