Five quick tips for bakers to remain competitive during the cost-of-living crisis

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Only 1 in 5 consumers haven't cut spending during the cost-of-living crisis, meaning bakers need to tailor their offerings to stay afloat. Pic: GettyImages/Mar Dufresne
Only 1 in 5 consumers haven't cut spending during the cost-of-living crisis, meaning bakers need to tailor their offerings to stay afloat. Pic: GettyImages/Mar Dufresne

Related tags Baker & Baker cost of living crisis Sweet bakery Bakers Inflation Food waste

Baker & Baker has developed guidance aimed at bakeries, food service operators and retailers in order to keep heads above water during these exceedingly challenging times.

In January, Baker & Baker released its sweet bakery cost-of-living report,​ indicating that it is no longer ‘business as usual’ for bakers.

According to Helen Sinclair, UK marketing manager of Baker & Baker, only 1 in 5 consumers feel their spending hasn’t changed, despite the cost-of-living crisis.

Developed in partnership with Sapio Research, Jane Hales, director of London-based market researcher opened the report with the word ‘permacrisis’, chosen as Collins’s 2022 word of the year and defined as an ‘extended period of instability and insecurity’.

“No area of society currently remains untouched by the permacrisis, both consumers and businesses alike,” ​she wrote.

“It is not surprising to see that the majority of consumers have seen their budget for sweet-baked goods reduced and, as a result, are purchasing their favourite sweet treats less often.”

Guidance from Baker & Baker

Baker & Baker top tips

Demand-led baking

Batch baking from scratch means a fixed number of products must be baked regardless of consumer demand.

Baking from frozen pucks or part-baked products – or supplementing with thaw and serve goods – means only the number required are defrosted and baked, helping to reduce waste while keeping an eye on the bottom line.

Turn waste into wow

According to Baker & Baker, this is often a missed opportunity.

Using offcuts in other recipes – such as toppings for doughnuts, brownies and cookies or – or incorporated into desserts or milkshakes (such as brownies in sundaes) can really create the wow factor and help products standout in store.

Get creative

Use products in different ways so less SKUs need to be held. This ultimately helps to  protect margins.

For example, a cookie puck can be baked off as a traditional cookie or included as part of a hot ice cream dessert.

Sacrifice size rather than quality

Reducing the product size to hit price point so quality can be retained is an option worth considering.

Stay familiar

Keep to familiar flavours, or twists on the familiar.

When money is limited, people are less prepared to try new products or flavours for fear they might not like them and they will have wasted their money.

As such, sticking with chocolate could be a wise decision. According to Barry Callebaut, one of the world's largest chocolate manufacturers, chocolate is a gift from nature and a multisensorial product, appealing all five senses (think snap, mouthfeel, aroma, and so forth).

“The research indicated that it can no longer be business as usual for bakeries, food service operators and retailers,” ​added Sinclair.

“The top tips are a mixture of quick-wins and longer-term considerations to help operators remain competitive during these challenging times.”

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