Baker Rants

Source: Olson, Saturday Evening Post

By John Stricker

Being in the baking industry all my life, I’ve observed much during the years…fad diets that label bakery products as evil, volatile commodity markets going crazy on the price of our ingredients, and the Martha Stewartization of wedding cakes where all brides want top-dollar cake designs like the pictures in a magazine, but they don’t want to pay for them.

We know the customer is always right. We know consumer trends come and go. And we know we’re in the bakery business because we love it, and don’t want to be anywhere else. But sometimes, just sometimes, it’s OK for bakers to have a little rant now and then. Here are two of my most recent rants. We’d love for you to share some of your Baker Rants. It’s OK. As Disney’s Frozen movie theme song exclaims, “Let it go!”

Funny, yet No!

I find it very funny when people butcher the word “artisan.” You see the word everywhere now, from bread to bubble bath. It has clearly lost much of its distinction from overuse. And, “artisan” is not “artesian”! Really, are we talking about the “land of blue sky waters”? I love Hamm’s Beer which is truly an artisan beer made from artesian spring waters in the upper-upper part of Wisconsin. Combined with some great cheese and gorgeous crusty bread, now we are back to artisan!

Bakeries Under Attack

I saw my first McDonald’s muffin commercial, and it seems that every major franchise is trying to get a bigger bite of the breakfast pie. Subway, McDonald’s and even Taco Bell are now competing with bakeries for your customers’ breakfast dollars. The unique products that small baking companies produce are a breath of fresh air compared to the homogenous boring products from the big brands. Bakeries may not have the marketing prowess of the big chains, but that’s OK. Promote your truly unique products and local flavor through social media outlets and local community events. The big brands can never be a part of the community and build customer loyalty like neighborhood bakeries can.

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