Health and well-being are at the forefront of many consumers’ minds, and that includes how they look at bakery items. FMI VP Rick Stein presented The Power of Bakery report Sunday during the IDDBA Show in Anaheim, California.
“I think it’s interesting, as we start asking customers about their eating approaches, most customers said they don’t like using the term diet…and what’s really interesting, ‘my personal diet’ is the second highest rated eating style, behind ‘healthy heart.’”
Stein said 65 percent of customers are trying to follow some type of eating behavior, and “health mindedness” is very much on their minds.
Also, nearly 70 percent of customers say they are looking for callouts or information when they are shopping in the department “so they can understand what resonates with them.”
According to Stein, retailers must be talking about nutritional callouts in the bakery department.
FMI also asked consumers about better-for-you approaches. For example, when asked what they thought about artificial coloring, the response was split in half between those who prefer it and those who don’t.
“What I really thought was interesting, is when you look at what resonates with them for better for you – real ingredients; the use of fruits or vegetables to avoid things that they think are bad for them, like artificial flavors; smaller portions – and this really applies to the products that they often make at home.”
FMI is telling retailers they must address health and well-being in the bakery, Stein said. Talking about indulgence can also be part of that topic through portion size and mental health – people wanting to be able to indulge. “I would really strongly recommend that, as an industry, we think about that.”
Convenience is another factor driving consumers. This includes how the bakery is laid out. Nearly 81 percent of customers said commercial should either be in the bakery or adjacent to it.
“They want to see the commercial bread pretty close to that…clearly that resonates with them.”
The report also looked at when consumers are shopping during the day. Stein said a large number of people are shopping before 2 p.m., “so they’re looking for freshness. And they understand that the earlier you shop, the fresher the product is going to be, the more abundant choices you’ll have.”
On sustainability, Stein said almost 73 percent of those surveyed wanted to see multi-use packaging. “They’re looking for functional packaging. If that package performs for them, helps the product integrity, keeps food safe – they’re all for that kind of packaging.”
At the same time, however, about 75 percent of those surveyed are concerned about environmentally-friendly packaging.
Consumers also want to be able to see through the packaging to view the product, with 93 percent expressing that desire. “So we really have to be careful how we’re taking labels and things of that nature and hiding product, single cake slices, things of that nature. You really want to be able to highlight the product.”
On the topic of value, Stein said the report breaks it down into four areas: quality, relevance, experience and convenience. While during these inflationary times consumers are money conscious, sometimes they make decisions contrary to that. One example is the growth in produce departments of value-added cut fruit and cut vegetables.
“We all know on a per-pound basis that’s much more expensive than buying fruit or veg in its regular form, but for them that convenience is a value.”
When looking at value in the bakery department, FMI talked to consumers about impulse purchases. “Clearly, the eyes decide,” Stein said. “If you look at the eye-catching displays, a lot of customers go in and end up buying products that they had no intention of buying.”
The report found that bakery “is clearly a big impulse area.”
As far as freshness factoring in what consumers buy, more than 56 percent said they are looking for the date and time it was baked or processed. The majority are conscious of fresh and consider items that say “baked today” or “made in-store.”
“These are other other things that you can shout about in your bakery departments so it resonates with the consumer,” Stein said.
When talking about innovation, he said the report looked at why that customer is buying in the store versus at home. The report found that 61 percent said they wanted the item to be made in the store.
The Power of Bakery report is available on the FMI website, at FMI.org.