Bakers, bakeries, and pastry chefs are apt to concentrating their time and resources on the taste and smell of their creations (rightly so!) but often forget the third element: how their food looks. In a megalopolis like New York City, if you are on the hunt for French pastries, you can select from more than a dozen delightful cafes; in the mood for Japanese cheesecake? Several shops will cater to your good taste. If there are numerous places that can equally satisfy even the most discriminating sweet tooth, what is a baker to do? How can one differentiate herself from the other? One answer is “packaging.” Taking liberties with the term, “packaging” may not only mean the presentation of the wrapping that preserves the gold nugget, but the plating, the location of where it is presented (glass case, out in the open, eye-level, etc.), and the ambiance surrounding it. Does MarieBelle chocolates taste two-fold better than Jacques Torres? If not, then why can she charge almost doubly (and why do we cave to our cravings)? Packaging.
If you want to learn more about this fascinating phenomenon, a good place to start is by reading Dave Grager’s essay entitled “A Century of Candy Bars: An Analysis of Wrapper Design.” Can you think of any other differentiators?
Photo by crabbygobyebye.