Bakery products continue to make a lot of bread for retailers and foodservice operators who rely on them to help feed the bottom line. In fact, bakery products compose 2.1% of the U.S. gross domestic product—about $311 billion in total economic output.1
Consumers seem to have an insatiable appetite for baked goods, with average household spending on them projected to increase to $383.75 by 2021.1 Bread is expected to bite off the biggest chunk of this spending, followed by cakes and cupcakes.1
One of the most basic baked items, bread has been on an upswing despite scrutiny from an increasingly wellness-consciousness market and the rise of the clean label trend.
With the growing popularity of whole grains, sprouted grains and multigrain mixes, bread has become a better-for-you staple with fresh appeal in the age of social media. Pinterest searches for “baking bread” grew 413% from a year ago.1 Bread also has received a boost as a buzzword on Facebook, thanks in part to the popularity of alternative flours and ancient grains.1
Jonathan Davis, senior vice-president of research and development at La Brea Bakery, a casual café chain specializing in artisan and gluten-free breads, attributes bread’s reemergence as a favorable—even fashionable—food item to a shift in consumer perception.
“It’s refreshing to see that bread is once again increasing in popularity amongst consumers and is no longer considered ‘bad for you,’” Davis said. “I’d attribute this to the fact that in recent years, bakeries have been more transparent when it comes to letting consumers know which ingredients are used.”2
With 60 to 70 million Americans suffering from some kind of digestive health condition and the number of Americans following a gluten-free diet having tripled over the past five years,1 it makes sense for operators to step up their selection of gluten-free and easily digested baked goods. Expected to grow at an average annual rate of nearly 14.0 through 2021,1 gluten-free sales seemed baked into the future of foodservice.
A Fresh Yet Familiar Taste of Success for Baked Goods
While wellness attributes and transparency are important, flavor profiles tailored to consumer preferences remains a key component in any recipe for success, especially when it comes to meeting consumer demand for sweet baked items. Driven by the success of the cronut, mashup mania has introduced a profusion of bold concepts in new flavors and formats for a market shaped by young consumers’ appetite for taste adventures.
According to the market research firm Technomic, millennials and Gen Xers are the driving forces behind the demand for unique flavors, while baby boomers adhere to more traditional tastes.3
“The growing divide in flavor preferences between millennials and boomers heightens the need for a product mix that appropriately balances familiarity and innovation,” explained Technomic’s Director of Consumer Insights Kelly Weike. “Creating a small twist on classic recipes with flavors that particularly appeal to boomers can provide an element of uniqueness without going too far out of their comfort zone.”3
As a result, familiarity with a fresh twist may be a prudent approach to appealing to all three demographic groups. And with 46% of consumers surveyed saying they favor desserts from their childhoods, baked good concepts with a touch of nostalgia could make sales rise.3
At Mondelēz International, our chefs are always busy developing innovative, menu-boosting recipes with brand ingredients consumers have known and loved for generations. Browse our Culinary Center for a feast of delicious dessert concepts, such as our Iced Cinnamon Rolls Made with OREO Cookie Pieces,
1 OrderNova, The State of the Bakery Industry in 2018, Aug. 9, 2018
2 Watrous, Monica, What’s baking in 2019? BakingBusiness.com, Jan. 8, 2019
3 Wilber, Anna, A breakdown of consumer dessert preferences, Sept. 9, 2018