Paying attention to trends
Trends come and go, and the word trend itself means that there’s a chance it will fall out of favor at some point. However if you catch them early and capitalize on them, trends serve to make your bakery a very busy place.
Having a signature item or items extends a bakeries popularity indefinitely, but keeping up with current trends reminds customers that your bakery is not only a destination, but also a place where they can shop for the latest items that consumers talk about.
Keeping up on trends also allows the bakery to weed out those products that might have once sold well, but are beginning to lose popularity. By keeping up on the latest trends, bakeries get a sense of the shifts in desirability of products that they offer.
Where to Look
Industry websites, blogs, Twitter feeds, trade and consumer magazines within the baking industry provide a plethora of information about the goings on in baking. Even if you visit and follow outlets outside of retail baking, plenty of information exists that with a little interpretation will benefit the retail bakery. Associations and events are another resource that bakeries can tap into for what’s new and what matters.
Trends happen outside of your bakery. While your regular customers will give you valuable information, other locations that provide the same or similar type products to yours need you to frequent them. Not only will visiting bakeries help you in your inquiry as to what’s trending, but places like convenience stores, supermarkets and restaurants are great places to go and look around. Also, try to develop relationships with your competitors and share information with them, as well.
Pay attention to the trends that happen outside of the retail baking environment. Fashions, gaming, etc., all provide insight into cultural trends that you can apply to your bakery products. Listen to what family and friends talk about in every day conversation. Think about the different ways to apply societal and cultural trends to your production in the kitchen. You can relate fashion trends to cake decorating through colors and patterns. Gaming trends might help you with creating one off products through characterization.
Look to global hot spots for the latest happenings in the food world. Places like New York and Los Angeles are usually ahead of the trends throughout the rest of the United States. London, Paris and Tokyo are usually way ahead of trends in the US and may have fun things going on that are different and attractive. Keep track of Asian and European trends across all categories.
All trends produce counter trends. For every consumer who wants something related to a current trend there is a consumer who would prefer the exact opposite. See what your competition does that sells well and figure out a product that they are not offering that consumers would enjoy.
Demographics play a large role in trends. What might be trending for baby boomers will differ significantly for millennials. Try to keep up on what trends apply to which generations and adjust your products accordingly. Also, if your client base favors one generational demographic to another, adjust inventory to reflect that weighting.