Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Bread Story

This is a story that popped up and takes some explaining for an American.

In the old days of Germany...probably fifteen to twenty years ago....if you wanted fresh bread, you went to a German bakery.  Every village had one.  Everything was piping hot as you got there at 6AM, and you had forty choices of bread or rolls.

So years passed, and in every single village and town.....a new grocery appeared.  It replaced the Mom and Pop shops.  The groceries were looking for angles to always get more customers in the front door.  Specials weren't enough.  Changing the hours around....to be open at 7AM didn't really help, unless you had a purpose for those shopping at 7AM.

They eventually came to this idea.  Put a "fake" bakery into the grocery.

To explain a "fake" bakery....it's a oven area, with a sales shop.  The dough?  All manufactured at some central processing plant in the region.  Some guy drives over around 5AM and dumps off two or three carts.  The kid at the grocery accepts the stuff, and pops five of the trays into the oven at 6AM and by opening hour.....he's got lots of piping hot bread and rolls.  You walk into the store, and you've got the fresh smell of bread in the air.

Real bakeries took a hit.  They didn't have the open parking lots, and most of the grocery operations were at the end of the village or out on the main road.  The "fake" bakery even offered coffee to go.

As time as gone by, the grocery operations have taken to a ad campaign.   They have noted themselves as having fresh-baked bread.  The bakeries?  They finally had something to go after the competition.  Court action.  Just tossing the dough into a oven is not enough to be freshly-baked, at least in the minds of real bakers.

A comparison between the two groups?  Course, I am an American....so I might have a different sense on this.  To be honest....the bakery guys probably do make a better bread or roll.  But when you get into the 7AM rush to run off to work.....the typical local bakery is the last place that you'd want to look for parking or try to get a coffee with a roll.  So that "fake" bakery at the grocery is appealing to me....even if their wares are second-rate.

Bakeries are surviving for the most part.  It's tough competition, and they've lost probably half of their regular customer base.  On the other side of the coin.....I can attest to the fact that a lot of people are eating more bread than they did two decades ago.

It's a curious war of competition.  My advice....if you are an American in Germany....enjoy the breads....whether they be from the "fake" bakeries or the real bakeries.  It's all pretty good.

1 comment:

Rachel Matteson said...

Times change. What maybe popular now may not be known a few years later. Besides, people evolve as there are continuous developments around. We may not always be so laid back as we usually were because of the developments in our area. :)
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