The centrepiece in any bakery or supermarket bakery section should be the oven. A study conducted by Taste Tomorrow revealed that an open oven has a magnetic appeal that consumers find impossible to resist: it effortlessly communicates the idea of freshness, it exudes an irresistible aroma and it triggers people to buy more baked goods. The illusion of products being "freshly baked on the spot" can be enough to answer to consumer needs.
In general, more than 70% of consumers appreciate a bakery where the oven is visible to the public and bakery items are baked on the spot. They rate baked goods freshly made on the spot with a 7.9 out of 10. On top of that: 85% of consumers around the world prefer fresh food above frozen and packaged.
The freshness challenge
This desire for freshly baked and homemade products became a real challenge for supermarkets, as bakery expert Ashwin Prasad can affirm. ‘Previously, when I was the category manager for bakery products at Tesco, my goal was to retain my customers through the fresh bakery, because that’s what drew them to the store. However, what the consumer is looking for and the instant fulfilment of his wishes versus our operational model was a bit out of balance. That is why we decided to have an open oven installed to create more theatre and to offer fresher products that are always available at the right time.’
Implementing the open oven concept
‘In our previous operational model we baked all the bread to be sold that day in advance. To implement this new open oven concept we had to make a transition from baking only once early in the morning to baking throughout the day, when customers come in to buy bread. We also had to change our staffing to accommodate this new schedule. In order to identify peak staffing moments we examined the SKU (ed: stock keeping unit) level to determine the demand profile during the day. Next, we had to reschedule the entire operation in order to base our supply of fresh-baked bread on that profile. Of course we couldn’t do that on a mass scale immediately. After learning by trial and error, we are now able to optimise our operation with the open oven concept.’
The way to differentiate
Johnlu Koa, founder and CEO of the French Baker in the Philippines, is highly convinced of the success of the open oven concept. ‘The open oven concept is so powerful. We have been doing it for the last five years and it really makes our store more attractive. I’m sure that if you were to have two adjacent stores, one with an open oven and one without, there is a 99% chance that people will prefer to go to the store with the open oven concept. With so many competitors on the market, this is the way to differentiate from the rest.’
Interested in gaining more insight into the open oven concept? Contact your local Puratos representative for more information.