Imagine catching a whiff of the freshly baked bread as they are taken out of the oven. Greeted by a sight of familiar brown hue, the aroma of warm bread fills the air, evoking a comforting sense of homeliness.
From old-school treats to a convenient grab-and-go option, the association of bread with “breakfast” is fairly strong in Singapore as part of our staple diet. Besides the entry of foreign, artisanal bakeries, the burgeoning bakery scene Is also fuelled by the trend of coffee joints and café culture. In this saturated market, which brand then forms the staple in your mind?
For the loaf of bread
How are these traditional bakes and confectioneries competing against artisan baked goods today? Heritage. Tapping on their age-long recipes, many traditional bakeries today set out to preserve the longevity of old-school treats amidst other novel, viral creations.
Known for their soft loaves of bread, Sing Hon Loong Bakery also holds steadfast to the back-breaking practice of making bread from scratch. The bakery is an established name in its field and it mainly produces bread for retail chains including Ya Kun Kaya Toast.
Another distinctive feature is the storefront. Old-school bakeries and confectionery shops take on a similar look as the cha chaan tengs in Hong Kong, with their retro black-and-white tiles and grilles.
By maintaining their bakes at affordable prices, they hope to appeal to the younger generations and pique their interest in nostalgic treats enjoyed by their parents and grandparents in their younger years.
For those who are in for some old-school treats, do check out Dona Manis Cake Shop (their banana pie!), Sembawang Confectionery and Sing Hon Loong Bakery.
The rise of bread
As Singapore progresses in culinary sophistication, we also observe more foreign brands making their foray into the local bakery scene. Currently split between Asian and French styles, these bakeries often position themselves as “masters of their craft” as they revel in the quality of their baked goods and thoughtfully-sourced ingredients. Recognised by the skills and time put into production, these foreign brands include artisanal bakeries that employ the use of European baking techniques and methods to create an authentic, unique rustic flavour – like Nick Vina Artisan does.
The emergence of certain trends, such as increasing health consciousness among local consumers and novelty-seeking consumers, also provide a timely opportunity for these artisanal bakeries to fill the gap in the market. Not only does the younger generation view consumption as an expression of individuality, maintaining wellness is also an ongoing commitment, which explains their willingness to pay a price premium for healthier alternatives like sourdough bread. This drives the need for higher quality ingredients to be integrated into a brand’s offerings to capture the mind share of this demographic.
Tapping on this health and wellness trend, using phrases like “made from scratch”, “natural and organic ingredients” allows businesses to create a brand image of producing quality bakes – a sure way to win the hearts and minds of these consumers.
Check out these artisanal bakeries: Bread & Hearth, enjoué Bakery, Mother Dough Bakery and Tiong Bahru Bakery.
Let's talk bread
Founded as a homegrown brand back in 2000, BreadTalk is a multinational food and beverage corporation today. BreadTalk gained traction for “selling bread in a sleek setting with white shelves, lots of light and music playing in the background” – kickstarting a “bread shopping” experience designed for grab-and-go consumption. Originally an art student, founder George Quek placed heavy emphasis on the design and aesthetics of his stores.
#1 AUTHENTICITY AND UNIQUENESS
To stand out from the crowd, it is necessary to create their very own identity and original flavours – and not blindly follow what is trendy. How long can food fads last?
One sold every 10 seconds – BreadTalk’s Flosss buns (with 3 S’s, yes) helped the brand gain a firm foothold in the industry. During the months of July and August, seasonal flavours are created for the Flosss buns in commemoration of their anniversary – displaying a balance between heritage and product innovation.
#2 MAINTAIN AND APPEAL TO LOCAL TASTES
With evolving times and tastes, it can be difficult for businesses to stay relevant without product innovation. Pegging their unique selling proposition (USP) to the ability to change, localise and adapt, BreadTalk focuses on reinventing flavours to cater to different taste profiles and local tastes while preserving original creations. The installation of transparent glass panels also creates an open kitchen concept that highlights their innovative product development process and the freshness of their products.
#3 VISIBILITY OF STORES
Although the pandemic has propelled businesses to pivot towards e-commerce, owning a physical store has not been rendered obsolete. Through storefronts, potential customers are able to get acquainted with the brand (and more stores translate to increased visibility). This additional touchpoint should, however, be kept congruent with the brand personality and attributes to ensure consistent messaging to patrons.
Starting off as a boutique bakery, BreadTalk changed up their store concepts every four years before its current contemporary design. Now using a neutral colour palette, they are able to accentuate the appeal of their golden-baked breads; while the oak veneers help to create a welcoming atmosphere. All outlets were then reinvigorated progressively to sport the new concept.
As the Content Creator at The Outsiders Co. (now Superminted), Jasmine is a storyteller who translates her love for learning into content that is entertaining and relatable for the audience. She believes in connecting with the audience through the words she pens – or types.