Remember how the shopkeeper used to stack bland white, chocolate and pink cakes just beside the almost damp chicken burger? Yeah, I think I can claim for both you and I that we are all ahead of those times. Modern day bakers have evolved into a sophisticated fleet of artists, no less. Globalization is pushing bakeries to incessantly take up new challenges and make the sweetness taste better.
With a little look around, you’ll be surprised to see how every other bakery in the country is busy innovating their process of presentation. It is not only through a growing numbers of outlets across the country, but the packaging, biscuits, decor and all the extra additions in the shops that provide an extra zip to the whole bakery experience.
This article takes you through four crucial ways bakeries in Bangladesh have changed for good – keeping it short and sweet, of course.
Putting behind the Black Forest trend
No cake analysis can run in the absence of the Black Forest. Every occasion on mother nature’s blessed Earth had to go through the Black forest dressing. From birthdays to anniversaries, every special dayrequired a blackforest cake to start the celebrations. The blackforest age, stretching from the early 2006 to the end of 2013, was a doozy phase with no baking experiments, no innovation or product differentiation – for many bakeries, you just had to make the cake look 60% dark chocolate-y and maybe add a top layer of either vanilla or strawberry because it sells. However, this particular period encouraged a lot of bakeries to open up business and sell blackforest wonders, to only divert the trend away by some crucial, on-point kitchen experimentation and probably the lack of a fresh taste.
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Every occasion on mother nature’s blessed Earth had to go through the Black forest dressing | Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune
A lot of us might not remember Royal bakery in Baitul Mukarram but customers’ demand for a fresh new look for bakeries really popularized Royal’s comprehensive baking in most other cake shops in Bangladesh. Additions like Coopers’ custom-made biscuits and slice cakes to Mr. Baker’s signature line of chocolates really added the extra zip in the cake experience.
Bakeries suddenly became much more than just delicious cakes for occasions. In line with this, the top tier bakeries went out to expand the baking experience even further by adding fast food while maintaining strict health standards. For instance, Coopers’ Bakery abides by international health standards which ensure that they comply according to (HACCP) standards, which stands for global hazard analysis and critical control points. Therefore, the snacking items are baked products too, which are not only good to eat but healthy as well, with minimum oil content. On the other hand, Mr. Baker periodically invites and employs European pastry chefs to design their cake and uphold an overall strict code of health regulations in their kitchens while baking. The adherence to quality control is what evolution really, technically, looks like.
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The top tier bakeries went out to expand the baking experience by adding fast food while maintaining strict health standards | Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune
The cake experience
Bangladeshi bakeries have taken up their retailing business seriously. While there are average Tiramisus available in all shapes and sizes, the cake experience got a whole lot better with chefs allowing customers’ to design their own cakes. Places like Mr. Baker, CFC, Coopers’, etc allow customers to pre-emptively design their own cakes or even print a photo on top of the cake. But most importantly, the biggest enhancement to the overall cake experience was put behind making the occasions look larger than life with Coopers’ Signature Cakes line of exclusive cakes that offers limited fondant cakes, or Mr. Bakers’ Dolphin cake, or even CFC’s exclusive celebration cakes. The warmth put behind making the cake shows even in the packaging material, which enhances the cake experience to something so much better with humility on cardboard display. From the 90s’ oily chocolate cake to triple-decker wedding cakes – bakeries internalized a lot and have come a long way to reinvent itself!
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The cake experience got a whole lot better with chefs allowing customers’ to design their own cakes | Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune
Bakeries don’t really mean apron-sporting chefs and support staffs. Every bakery has a team of mastermind women and men working to diversify their market and reach as many customers’ as possible. In the past 5 years, the top-tier bakeries have expanded their reach by opening multiple outlets in Dhaka and other cities, allowing everyone to be a part of their baked experience. This also encouraged a lot of individuals to take up baking on their own and even open up their own store as well.
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In the past 5 years, the top-tier bakeries have expanded their reach by opening multiple outlets in Dhaka and other cities | Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune
However, the physical bakery presence is not matched by their online performance. While Mr. Baker cakes are available in different e-commerce websites, their Facebook page is almost inactive since 2014. CFC Facebook page presents an array of food items and the sweet dishes are often lost in the mix. Coopers’ Bakery Bangladesh operates their Facebook presence, trying to communicate with customers with giving prompt replies - however it uploads selective content such as new products, their custom-made cake orders with the name of the customer and an odd share of Foodbank reviews here and there – it is probably safe to claim that bakeries have a lot to do in bringing the human touch to their baking experience online.
It never really matters who started their business when, because if you can contribute even the smallest amount to make celebrations taste better, I’d say you’re doing a whole lot more than so many others with the power to change lives.