What's a Virtual Bakery?

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  • By Rhys Poirier, Owner & Founder
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What's a Virtual Bakery?

J. Crawford has evolved into what we like to call a "Virtual Bakery". In short, we operate entirely online. E-commerce is nothing new, but for the baking industry it's a much-needed step into the modern world. In this article we take a look at the reasons why we're blazing the trail forward into local e-commerce baked goods fulfillment.

Why are we going online?

We’ve learned a lot from our time fighting COVID-19. Some things we couldn’t (and shouldn’t) have imagined, like the mass toilet paper shortage, Elon Musk naming his child X AE A-12, or the fact that skeptics will hold their ground even as people around them become infected. Other lessons were a wakeup call. The pandemic pushed our society many years ahead of where it was in a relatively short time frame. For example…

Telemedicine

The healthcare system was finally forced to embrace the technological advances of the 21st century! We can now just get on the phone with our family doctors and specialists, saving  immeasurable hours and resources that need to be redirected to our most critically ill and life saving research.

The Environment

The majority of Canadian cities saw drastic improvements in air quality each time we had a lockdown. By drastic, I mean a whopping 30%. Cleaner air, even just for a few weeks, can reduce illnesses like asthma attacks and heart attacks.

Better Service

Small and big businesses alike were forced to go online, developing curbside pickup and quick delivery services to survive. Though it was certainly an adjustment, we found out that this system has many benefits… so long as you don’t need to try on clothing or shoes. Done well, these services make picking up the things you need much easier and faster.

So, if we’ve learned how to revolutionize the healthcare system, stem the climate crisis, and make retail more convenient, why would we go back to the way things were?

Let me clarify.

Obviously, we need more human connection than we’re getting right now. We need regular social interaction for our mental health and development. However, I think we can land in a place where we can all incorporate the good things that we have learned in the last year into the social lifestyle we need.

What does a virtual bakery mean for our customers?

Better Prices

The price of a product all comes down to the costs incurred by the producer/manufacturer and the retailer. In our case, since we don’t do retail, we’re able to pass those savings on to our customers. Most products we sell are 15-20% cheaper than our local competitors.

Convenience

We all know that a sudden need for desserts can arise at any time. Maybe you just got home after a long day of work and don’t want to go out again. Or, maybe you’re in the middle of a long overdue haircut when you suddenly realize that you forgot to get a cake for your sister’s birthday party! With a virtual bakery, you can have sweets affordably delivered to you wherever you are, or you can come pick them up from the smiling baker who just made them for you without ever having to wait in line. Just think about how much time you’ll save!

Sustainable Shopping

Back in 2015, Canada committed to the United Nation’s Agenda for Sustainable Development, which set a target to “halve per capital global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses” by 2030.

In 2019, the government of Canada determined that 20% of all food produced in Canada annually becomes avoidable food loss/waste.

When this food loss or waste is disposed of in landfills, it degrades to form methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Even when food waste is put into green bins, the waste requires management and resources to be turned back into dirt or fertilizer.

Having the option of a virtual bakery with a just in time preparation process to meet your specific needs is a very effective way for us to significantly reduce the amount of food that goes to waste.

Summary

The “Virtual Bakery” model has incredible ramifications for our world. Virtual companies could make so many more products accessible for everyone, and we wouldn’t have to take time out of our day to run errands. That’s a whole Saturday back every week! We could successfully and easily meet our climate goals without expecting everyone to be able to afford green vehicles. If we have the power to do this, why not make it happen now?

Until next time,

J. Crawford

 

Did anything in this article surprise you? Are you excited to see where this journey takes us? Let us know in the comments below!

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