Creating your bakery’s ‘signature’: supply and support

1-2-Taste’s Jasper Schouten speaks with ingredients suppliers about market trends, product innovation, best practices, supplier challenges, and more.

How can your bakery survive and thrive in a market dominated by several large, international producers, as well as plenty of small local competitors? To stand out from the crowd you need your own signature – and product innovation holds the key. Jos Vast of Bakery Academy, Peter Naylor of IMAG Organics, Egbert Sonneveld of Blonk Quality Ingredients, Henk Bijl of Trigona Dairy Trade and Charif Geara of Nexxus Foods sat down with 1-2-Taste to share their insights into the baker’s journey from idea to market launch.

Like every business today, smaller bakeries are struggling with the double-whammy of higher energy costs and the supply chain crisis. But while larger bakeries can often use their purchasing power to source what they need at the best price, their smaller counterparts don’t have that advantage. And that’s a big hurdle when you want to create and develop a new, innovative product.

A challenge? Absolutely. Impossible? Definitely not! The consumer trend towards ‘healthier’ products, for example, offers plenty of opportunities to create your own signature around innovative products using ‘alternative’ ingredients. Agave syrup to reduce sugar, teff flour for gluten-free or high-protein baked goods, non-dairy butter that lets you meet the increasingly important vegan market…

In our podcast, Jasper and the suppliers discuss the SME bakery’s journey to a successful new product, following five steps:

  1. Developing the concept
  2. Creating a winning prototype
  3. Going to market
  4. Getting the best supplier contracts
  5. Ensuring a robust supply chain
baker croissants

Developing the concept

What trends should you explore when developing your new products? On the one hand, you can look into functional innovations, such as increasing the shelf life of your products, or maintaining the same shelf life with fewer ingredients or e-numbers. Or you can focus on new types of products: Jos Vast sees a bakery trend for crackers, which attract customers as a tasty, lower-calory snack than sweet biscuits. Decide first what you want to do, then search out ingredients that you can use to do it.

Creating a winning prototype

To make the best use of new ingredients, turn to your suppliers for insight. As Peter Naylor explains, agave syrup, for example, comes in several colours. Darker versions offer the most flavour, but they can also affect the colour of your product. Which one works best for your prototype? ‘Alternative’ products can also have benefits you might not have considered – but the supplier has! Agave, for example, can also increase fibre, act as a prebiotic, and even replace some fat in your products, for spongier cakes and crispier biscuits.

Going to market

The average time between creating a sample and launching a product is 122 days – but that doesn’t always match your supplier’s situation. As Egbert Sonneveld explains, his company always keeps enough teff stocks for a customer’s first product launch. But when you want to make it a permanent part of your offering, they need to plan capacity further ahead. He also explains that timing is key: aim for a product launch in fall or winter, when consumers are more interested in new bakery products.

Getting the best supplier contracts

Ingredient costs are always a challenge for SME bakeries, and when you are innovating, you are often turning to ingredients that aren’t commodities, particularly with alternative ingredients. Henk Bijl offers a case in point: ‘vegan butter’ contains many more ingredients than the dairy original – and that will affect the pricing. Your best bet is to find at least three suppliers, so you can be sure to get the best price.

Ensuring a robust supply chain

The final challenge is balancing your ingredient inventory: enough to meet customer demand, while keeping costs low. This requires suppliers who can get you the ingredients you need, when you need them. Charif Geara explains that you should find a supplier who will work with you on this. During the pandemic, for example, when it became clear that there were global issues with supply, his company worked directly with their customers to figure out how much they should keep in stock.

1-2-Taste can help you overcome your supply challenges, with a wide portfolio of ingredients; transparent, competitive pricing; an interface that makes it easy to find suppliers and order; minimal order quantities; and technical product development support.

Don’t add an ingredient just because someone says you should.

Jos Vast, Bakery Academy

The first ingredient sample is to give it a try; the next is to work out additional ideas.

– Egbert Sonneveld, Blonk Quality Ingredients

Product appearance gets the first purchase, but taste brings the customer back.

Peter Naylor, IMAG Organics

For innovative vegan products, look at the supermarket private labels.

– Henk Bijl, Trigona Dairy Trade

Base your new products on the function you want and the tools you have.

– Charif Geara, Nexxus Foods

1-2-Taste Talks Food Ingredients Podcast Series

Bakery – Creating your own Signature

Coming up with signature products is essential in the marketing of your bakery business. Right now, consumers are looking for food with substance. They want products that tell a story; that create an experience. For bakers, this gives a unique opportunity to innovate with food ingredients. It’s a way to set your brand apart, creating your own signature with bread or cakes or, well, almost anything

1-2-Taste bakery partners

Want to explore more ingredients for your bakery products?