I’m in a Facebook group with parents and staff from my son’s school. As you can imagine, it’s buzzing every day with questions, updates, changes to the updates and questions about the changes … which have already been updated.

In fact, one staff member posted that she watched a training video on standard practices for school’s opening, and the next day, the video was no longer being used because the standards had already changed. I must confess, that’s how I feel every time I go back and read the previous month’s Editorial. 

Commercial baking companies have often relied on consumer trend data to map out their product development and strategic marketing plans. But not this year. Remember when consumers had the power? These days, the power seems to be in the hands of the pandemic and whatever unpredictable aftereffects follow in its wake. 

Six months ago, this was all, truly, unprecedented. And now, that word is, ironically, overused. So, what happens when “unprecedented” becomes the status quo? 

Some companies are going gangbusters in all of this, while others are doing all they can to keep their heads above water. At this point, all we can do is ride the storm, track the behavior and make our best guess on what the future might hold. 

Muffin Town, this month’s featured bakery, has learned to nimbly adapt to this alternate reality that we’re about call the new school year. The bakery tapped into the fact that whether kids go to school in a building or behind their home computer, they’ll still need lunch, and it will need to be touch-free. Muffin Town moved fast to make smart adjustments to its packaging lines and has gone all-in on promoting the safety of their individually wrapped items. 

The company is also using social media and QR codes to promote its website where consumers can order all kinds of goodies for the school year. I’ve already looked into the crustless sandwiches for my kid and muffin gift boxes for his teacher (and yes, that teacher may well be me). 

I have yet to find any real commonality on how any of us are navigating through all of this. But I do know that those who can make quick decisions on creative strategies will stand the best chance of success. 

None of us has a crystal ball (and if you do, please tell me if my kid makes it through fifth grade). We just have to remember that now, more than ever, change really is the only constant. Be ready to adapt. Be ready to fail. Be ready to try again. And then be ready to do it all over … at least until we get back to “precedented times,” whenever that may be.  

This editorial is from the September 2020 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire issue, click here.