A Matter of Taste

by Dan Malovany
If you want to look thin, hang around fat people. If you want to feel tall, stand next to a short person. Well, in a desperate attempt to improve my image, I’ve kindly requested that the big plumber’s butt on this page run next to my fat face.
Think about it. It’s a win-win situation for Nutriant, a Kerry Company, and myself. Nutriant is guaranteed an upfront placement in our magazine this month, and yours truly, the butthead of the baking industry, gets the publishing industry’s equivalent of a facelift. Don’t I suddenly look better than I did two months ago?
Don’t be cruel. That’s not nice. I know what you’re thinking. Shame on you.
Actually, taste does matter when it comes to rolling out low-carb bakery products. Initially, several of the first-generation products were chewy, which is a good attribute for bubble gum, not for a hamburger bun. Others were springy, which is an appropriate texture for a Nerf ball, not for a loaf of bread.
Fortunately, several of the new generations of low-carb offerings taste better. It was only a matter of time before the R&D gurus figured out the formula, just like they did during the reduced-fat craze of the 1990s. I know, some of you may disagree with me, but then again, everyone who knows me realizes I have no taste.
Seriously, consumers who do have taste are voting with their pocketbooks, and according to several bakers interviewed for this month’s state-of-the-industry report, sales of their carb-lowered products are exceeding expectations. In some cases, companies are using terms like “strong” and “very strong.”
Now, because I’m just plain stupid, I never fathomed that consumer acceptance would be so high. Like an ostrich with his head in the sand, I said, “This, too, shall pass,” which explains why no one has ever offered me the big bucks to give them advice.
But it’s not going to pass, at least any time soon. The bread aisle is undergoing a dramatic change of face, and possibly for the better. Even a goofball like me recognized the not-so-subtle shift in the bread aisle long ago, and that consumers were shifting their consumption patterns toward eating super-premium products and greater amounts of whole grain baked goods.
So jump on the bandwagon. Don’t be like me. Get your head out of your derrière. At least, that way, people will be able to see you for what you are.
And make sure those products taste good. The last thing you want to be is the butt of everyone’s jokes.
Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to register for the International Baking Industry Exposition, which runs from August 15-18 in Las Vegas. Sign up at www.snackandbakery.com. You can visit me at booth 3039 if you want to berate me in public.