Do you ever wonder how Joy of Keto and the Lakeview Gluten-Free Bakery can test and produce so many new fresh baked products in such a short time?
Well, there’s a simple answer. Our approach is a time-honoured tradition, the Skunkworks. A Skunkworks project is typically developed by a small and loosely structured group of people who research and develop a project primarily for the sake of radical innovation. The term originated with Lockheed’s World War II Skunk Works project. (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skunkworks project)
The Economist notes that expectations for products developed by skunkworks have changed in the 21st century. Rather than sequestering skunkworks, companies now tend to promote communication between them and marketing, design, and accounting departments. (See: “Idea: Skunkworks”. The Economist. August 25, 2008.)
Our own Calgary skunkworks!
That’s what we are trying to do – on a tiny scale, right here in Calgary!
These days, in Calgary’s Lakeview Gluten-Free Bakery, the Skunkworks team is comprised of only two people. One is a senior baker, bakery manager, food technologist, and Fellow of the Institute of British Bakers. The other, an experienced, award-winning social researcher, holds a doctorate in professional ethics and is a Life Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia.
Both in our late seventies, we are researching current trends in keto dieting and experimenting with the fresh baked, keto-friendly products that the Bakery’s Calgary customers want.
Customer engagement and feedback
Our modern-day take on a Skunkworks project is deeply rooted in customer engagement. We frequently talk to our customers on a one-to-one basis and have a detailed feedback sheet for them to complete in the Bakery. We listen deeply and attentively. Listening is our social policy. A pastry of their choice is the customer’s delightful reward!
We are eager to take a leadership role in baking research, while still staying close to our customer base. We encourage customer feedback at every stage of the product development process. We carefully watch trends in tastes in fresh baking. For example, in the realm of cupcakes (our favourite!), we know what the best-sellers are: red velvet, chocolate, lemon raspberry, and banana.
What about keto-friendly products, we wonder…
And we also ask our customers: which new products would you like to see in the new Joy of Keto range?
It’s not that simple!
You might think that making a fresh, keto-friendly baked good is a simple as replacing the conventional sugar with a natural sugar like stevia or erythritol. Not the case at all! As our research program has developed, we’ve found that it’s much more complicated than that. Our original test keto-friendly brownies were gritty and lacked the syrupy lusciousness associated with brownies made with sugar.
Keeping the muffins juicy and buttery has been another challenge. Now we are confident we’ve nailed it with the immensely popular Lucia bread (named for our agile, logo hummingbird, Lucia).
Happily, recent feedback from customers has already highlighted the benefits of Lucia bread for those with gastric disorders.
It’s the psyllium in the recipe, we believe.
Please keep giving us your feedback
We’re eager to receive your feedback.
- Do you prefer almond flour or coconut flour?
- What new products would you like to see in our Joy of Keto range?
- What else can you tell us so that we can be responsive to customer needs?
Eyes on the skies
We also have our eye on international trends in almond horticulture, and we’re worried about the implications for keto-friendly baking of dependence on almonds, which often are imported.
We’re tracking so many variables as researchers and skunkworkers.
One thing we know for sure: we can be effective and successful baking innovators only if we have our customers’ support and feedback.
Just because we are skunks, please do not run away from us!
We need you!