There are a lot of different options when promoting your pastries. Between the local, healthy, organic, all natural, we often forget that at the end of the day a lot of people want their pastries sweet.

In our beginning over 65 years ago, when we only sold sugars, we have seen many different changes in what small and large bakeries market. It used to be, “We have the sweetest pastries in town” then “We have the freshest pastries in town” and now it is “We have the most organic or local or healthy pastries in town”. It’s not to say that these marketing tactics don’t work but research* from leading confectioners show that when people indulge in sweets they don’t care if it is healthy. In fact, saying it’s healthy might lose sales.

This might take a little bit of explaining so let’s start from the beginning. When the health craze began around 50 years ago people started trying to make healthier candies and while “candy that is good for you” sounds like a great thing; people didn’t buy it. Even today when, as many would say, we are at the peak of another health craze people still choose their candies and sweets, like pastries, based on flavor over healthiness. In fact, to take it even further, people are less likely to buy sweets and pastries that are marketed as healthy.

To think of it from the mind of your customer, understand that when they go in to buy a pastry, they are expecting to indulge themselves. They have already factored into their minds that they will be taking in certain amount of calories and sugars. However, when they think of the item as healthy, it doesn’t turn into a positive, but instead it becomes a negative because of what the customer perceives natural or healthy food to taste like. A better idea is to still use quality and healthy ingredients but when promoting the goods use words like “sweet” and “delicious” instead of words like “healthy” or “all natural”. Give your customer the best of both worlds, even if they don’t know it!

* This information comes from a personal interview with head of marketing at K&M Food Concepts April 2012.

It’s not often we see national and international agricultural news groups reporting on the chances of rain in Missouri but it looks like, for the spring and summer of 2012,  we might be looking at drought type conditions for a large portion of the Midwest. In almost all of Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas and about half of Missouri and Illinois under conditions that range from abnormally dry to moderate drought, we are starting to see the affects this will have on the wheat and corn crops in what is known as the corn belt of the United States.

In some areas in this region the fields have gone up to 2-3 weeks without any rain and, while much of this area is calling more rain soon, even a good rainfall will not take affected areas that are in the “moderate drought” category into the green, they will still have to see a good bit more before getting out of drought like conditions. Looking at the “Precipitation Needed” Palmer Map (see below) we almost the entire central Midwest needing between 3-6 inches and in some areas up to 9 inches of rain.
Precipitation Needed Palmer Map
Though much of the corn has had pretty good conditions up to this point, it has been pointed out in Illinois that they have been finding “floppy” corn plants. This is probably due to a lack of rain when the plants have gotten to a crucial point in the plants development. This is primarily for corn plants that were planted in April.

While it is unclear how or whether this will affect prices it is always good to better understand crop conditions leading into one of the main harvesting times for a large portion of the country. We will keep you up to date as we continue watching this region.