You are here
The bakery department offers retailers many opportunities to differentiate themselves through signature products. Three-quarters of retailers surveyed in Progressive Grocer’s 2015 Retail Bakery Review offer signature products. More than half (56 percent) of retailers indicate that bakery is a destination department, a significant increase from the previous year, when only 27 percent cited bakery as a destination, and one-third called the department an image builder.
“One thing about bakeries is, we are important,” says Christina Jessie, bakery director for Eugene-Ore.-based Market of Choice. “This is the special food [customers] bring to an event, and when people entrust that to you, you have a unique opportunity to be part of their family.”
Market of Choice takes signature products to the next level by creating custom products for shoppers. “We built our whole program around being customer-centric,” Jessie adds. Customers can bring in recipes or request products not in the regular product line, and the bakery will make it for them, even creating a test batch to ensure that the product meets shopper expectations.
Scratching the Surface
The custom program works only because Market of Choice is a scratch bakery with few mixes, which makes it easier for the employees to produce almost any product. “When you start with sugar, flour and butter, that’s the basis of all these good things,” Jessie says. “We’re a really unique bakery; we’re not typical.”
She credits the custom program for helping make the chain’s nine stores destination locations. “We’re definitely a showpiece for the store,” Jessie adds. “When [people] hear you work at Market of Choice, no matter what department you’re in, they say, ‘Oh, I love the bakery there.’”
Most in-store bakeries can’t offer such a customized program, so what should bakery departments be offering? “You can’t be everything to everybody,” cautions Ken Downey, president of KGDSR LLC, a bakery consultancy in Freehold, N.J. “When you own a supermarket, you have the mentality that you want to be able to sell everything; you want to satisfy every customer’s needs. You really can’t do that in a perishable department. You’ve got to figure out what you’re good at, and you have to sell more of what sells.”