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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

Partially-Cut Bagels

I understand why a bagel manufacturer would prefer to sell "whole" bagels: slicing a bagel is an extra step in the production process, and eliminating this step eliminates complexity. For large manufacturers, reduced complexity usually results in lower costs, and those lower costs can either be passed along to the consumer in the form of lower prices or kept by the company in the form of increased profitability. Selling whole bagels make sense.

I also understand why a bagel manufacturer would prefer to sell "fully-sliced" bagels: having all of the bagels fully pre-cut makes things much more convenient for the consumer, who might be willing to pay a premium for the extra time saved each morning while making breakfast or lunches. Fully-sliced bagels also make sense.

But "partially-cut" bagels are absolutely ridiculous.

They don't offer the savings of whole bagels because you still had to introduce a partial cut as part of the production process, and they don't offer the convenience of fully-sliced bagels because the consumer still needs a knife to finish the job.

So why bother with this half-cut solution?

Partially-cut bagels are a good example of not understanding the needs of your consumer, much like the 50/50 burgers I wrote about last year.

Avoid offering partially-cut bagels to your consumers.


Okay, if you're wondering where this "bagel post" came from... I think about partially-cut bagels far more than I should, because my family buys a lot of packaged bagels every week.

We go through them fast enough to purchase multiple packages at a time, but not quickly enough to avoid having to put some of them in the freezer so they don't grow mould before we can use them.

Have you ever tried to cut a frozen bagel in half? It isn't easy, and it's not any easier if the bagel has been partially-cut; I learned that the hard way, and have a sizeable scar on one of my thumbs as a reminder.

So every week after we pick up our groceries, I dump all of the bagels we bought onto the counter. I then get out my large, serrated knife and cut all of the bagels in half. Once that's done, I put all of the bagels back into the bags, but not quite as they were: they go "sliced-side up" so that once they're frozen, I can easily pull them apart. The entire process makes a huge mess on my counters, and frankly, I'd prefer not to do this... but taking the time to slice those bagels before I freeze them is ultimately safer and more convenient than not doing so.

All else being equal, I'd pay more for a bag of bagels that were pre-packaged "sliced-side-up", as shown in the middle photo above; such a product would save me the time of cutting the bagels fully in-half prior to freezing them and the mess of cleaning up all those crumbs, yet still offer me the utility I need.

That's a free idea for any bread manufacturers willing to bring this to market.


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