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Growing In-Store Bakery Sales

growing in-store bakery sales

Last updated on June 7th, 2024 at 11:20 am

Part one of a series of articles highlighting in-store bakery trends that The Shelby Report will be covering throughout the year

Over the years, the in-store bakery department has undergone numerous transformations, often reflecting larger trends within grocery and society at large.

While trends come and go, there has been one constant which is that consumers love to have a reason to treat themselves to the occasional sweet indulgence.

Perhaps COVID sparked the change but one thing is certain consumers’ mindset has shifted in the past several years and what was once referred to as a guilty pleasure is now viewed as something that brings people joy.

This newfound permission consumers are giving themselves to indulge is stronger than economic pressures they are feeling to reign in their spending. As such, data shows that many consumers treat themselves to an indulgence at least once a week.

“Consumers love baked treats and while the financial pressure is real, they continue to make room in their wallets for the occasional baked indulgence. This is especially true during special occasions and celebrations,” said Christina Donnelly, senior director, industry relations and strategic initiatives for the American Bakers Association.

The ABA’s recently released Bakery Playbook series found that 90 percent of consumers feel baked items are a fun part of special celebrations and holidays and 93 percent agree that baked treats are great for sharing with others. But baked treats are also everyday treats, with nine in 10 agreeing that they can be a great reward or little escape.

[RELATED: How Grocers Can Leverage In-Store Baking To Build Sales]

However, experts say it is important to note what that indulgence looks like changes from year to year, and sometimes more frequently. “Baked treats have sustained many lifestyle trends,” Donnelly said. “A lot has to do with the ever-evolving definition of health and wellbeing. Baked goods’ high permissibility is driven by the nation’s evolved definition of health.”

ABA’s Bakery Playbook found that no less than 92 percent of consumers feel that physical health and emotional well-being are connected. “As we all know, baked snacks and treats, whether cookies, cupcakes or pies, are loved by all,” she said.

What consumers are buying

Currently, consumers are looking to smaller portion sizes to satisfy their sweet tooth without overindulging or overspending. As such, cupcakes, donuts, brownies and cookies are among the segments seeing the biggest sales lifts this year.

Offering a variety of portion sizes is emerging as a trend in indulgent bakery and it’s driven by a variety of reasons, noted Anne-Marie Roerink, president of 210 Analytics. “Smaller portions create price points that are more accessible, but it also addresses nutrition and preventing food waste. Plus, indulgent bakery is a category where people have distinct favorites.”

Roerink added that smaller portions allow for purchase variety as well, with something for everyone to enjoy. “Bakery is the shining star in leveraging portion sizes, if you think about the offerings in hole, half and quarter pies and even just individual slices.”

Grocers can capitalize on this by offering a wider variety in their in-store bakery. Nostalgic flavors will always hold appeal but increasingly consumers are gravitating to premium and unique flavors such as triple chocolate, salted caramel and confetti rainbow to drive sales.

Additionally, global flavors influenced by Hispanic and Asian cultures are gaining in popularity with consumers, especially those under 30.

Cody Masters, EVP of culinary and industrial sales and executive chef at Everson Spice Co / Lynn’s Foods, shared that increasingly traditional Asian flavors are being paired to unique flavor blends. “It comes down to two words — spicy and sour. You can still get a funky Kimchi flavor, but sweeten it by adding something like Mango or Strawberry, and it becomes a more comfortable blend for consumers to take a chance on.

“Another fun flavor is Sisig. Traditionally, using Calamansi lime, we can accentuate that citrusy sour note and pair it with something like tamarind, cherry or pineapple to make it something safer to use in sweeter applications.”

He said other flavor trends retailers should be on the lookout for include:

  • Bacon Jam and Hot Honey — the two flavors work great as a topping for cheesecake and glazed donuts. The flavor profile can be taken a step further by incorporating fruit flavors into the mix.
  • Sour fruit blends using distinctive fruit combinations such as mango, pineapple, tamarind, strawberry, watermelon, apple and cherry.

By embracing innovation, catering to both indulgence and new flavor blends, grocers can transform their in-store bakeries into more vibrant destinations that drive sales and customer satisfaction.

About the author

Carol Radice

Senior Content Creator

Carol joins The Shelby Report with more than 25 years writing for B2B magazines that cover the drugstore and supermarket industries. A Rutgers graduate, she earned her B.A. degree in journalism and mass communications more years ago than she cares to admit. She is thrilled to be working with such an accomplished team and to share her knowledge of the industry with Shelby’s readers.

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