How do we keep up with eating trends, and maintain relevant offerings in the food business these days?
As we get deeper into the 21st century, rapidly changing food choices and rampant fad diets are enough to drive people in the food business a little crazy. And on top of that, every market has its own idiosyncrasies.
The first step is to stay informed, educate ourselves the best we can on truth and fiction about our food sources, and then to listen to our customers and hear what they care about. What are they looking for? More customers are looking for good, wholesome food that’s safe, nutritious and tastes good.
The bread and bakery industry has been assaulted recently with a lot of fad diets and misinformation. In spite of this, lots of people are not buying the hype. Certainly, people with autoimmune or allergy issues need to avoid particular foods, but the claim that foods that have been around for centuries are suddenly not good for you, makes no sense.
At a recent Great Harvest bakery opening in Savannah, GA, I was struck by the fact that a lot of people love bread, people of all ages. I wanted to hug the older people who came in; they were thrilled about a new bakery opening! These folks grew up with homemade bread. They value the delicious aroma, the sense of comfort elicited by great tasting bread like Mom or Grandma used to make. One man was so excited, he wanted the hottest bread we had available; it was a delight to be able to provide him with a loaf of fresh-milled whole grain Honey Whole Wheat just out of the oven. Where else can you get hot bread like that? Bread is the staff of life, and has been for thousands of years. I find a lot of people want to be assured bread is still part of a healthy diet, and they’re relieved when you point them to the research studies that show the benefits of whole grain wheat products. In Savannah, when I explained to customers that we mill our whole wheat flour fresh every day and pointed to the mill room in the back of the bakery, most were genuinely interested. More people than ever want to know foods they’re buying for their families are fresh, safe and wholesome.
I love Savannah, the history, the authenticity. The new Savannah Great Harvest bakery owners, Lee Ann and Janet, reflect the authenticity of their town. A nearby restaurant, Driftaway, became the hangout for the trainers. The staff, already friends with Lee Ann, became fast friends with the trainers, and willingly shared Great Harvest bread with their customers, telling them about the new bakery that just opened a block away. Community, authenticity, great food, sharing, it all dovetails together beautifully.
To survive in any business, it’s critical to figure out how to meet customer needs, to understand what they want, and to be able to give accurate information about the products we’re selling. Customer needs often involve not only the quality of the products we serve, but the emotional connection of welcoming people into something bigger, a caring community. In the bakery or restaurant business, food for the soul is as important as food for the body.
In Great Harvest, delectable bread, baked goods and fresh sandwiches on our fabulous bread are offerings to delight customers’ pallets. Serving it up with flair and friendliness completes the feel-good experience. Use the button below to find the closest Great Harvest bakery to you.
Or if you are already a customer, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this post or your local bakery in the comments section!