More than half of U.S. shoppers say they’re cutting back on white bread, but it’s not entirely due to gluten-free or carb-free diet trends. Consumers say they want more variety in taste, texture, and health benefits in the bread they eat, underscoring the trend toward artisanal loaves and more robust in-store bakeries. While growth of packaged bakery items is predicted to be flat, reaching $12.8 billion by 2017, the category is far from stale—healthy whole-grain breads, indulgent retro-inspired treats, and smaller portion sizes are generating interest in the category.
Continuing the “free-from” trend, consumers are seeking bakery products made with high fiber and whole grains while avoiding high fructose corn syrup, allergens, and GMOs. Individuals concerned about the health effects of gluten in their diets are driving demand for gluten-free products and bakeries are responding by introducing alternative flours such as rice, corn, and ancient grains to their lines. The functional food trend can also be seen in the bakery aisle: brands are introducing anti-oxidant rich goji berries, pomegranate seeds, and blueberries to bakery items along with nuts and seeds that contain omega oils like chia and walnuts. According to research, 50% of Millennials are more likely to place importance on health claims in baked goods. Brands that focus on health, authenticity, and freshness claims deliver an image of greater relevance for the Millennial shopper.
Looking for the cure to the common cupcake, bakery industry brands have an opportunity to entice consumers across generations with retro-inspired treats. Consumers are drawn to products that draw on feelings of nostalgia; creating that perception in product presentation and messaging, highlighting premium ingredients such as pure vanilla and high-quality chocolate, and creating new and unexpected flavor profiles for classic desserts like whoopee pies or donuts in single-serving packages may entice shoppers to forget about their diets and indulge.
The interest in smaller portion sizes likely stems from a perception that baked goods aren’t healthy. Smaller versions of consumer favorites appeal to consumers’ desire to continue to enjoy the taste and texture of bakery items without worrying about calories. Mini-portion sizes of about two to four bites are a hot trend, as they retail at lower price points and typically carry less of a caloric impact compared to their full-size counterparts. Mini pies, petite croissants, and bread and cookie “thins” are a growing segment in this category.
Although gluten-free has been a notable trend for several years, gluten-free products accounted for about one in 10 global food and drink product launches in the 12 months through April. Researchers found that 24% of consumers currently eat gluten-free foods or have someone in their household who does—while many are avoiding gluten for medical reasons, the perception among consumers is that gluten-free foods are healthier or more natural. This bakery industry trend will continue to drive the category to grow in the near term, and while there has been strong growth over the last few years, there is still innovation opportunity in the segment.
Offering healthy options, inspired high-quality treats, and right-size portions can be the icing on the cake for your brand. Women’s Marketing leverages our understanding of the female consumer to reach her where and when she is most receptive to your message. Contact us to learn how we can help you develop media plan that builds on the strength of your brand.
Sources: International Dairy Deli Bakery Association What's in Store 2015: Bakery Trends Forecast; Mintel Reports, Are flatter baked goods the key to raising category sales May 2015, Innova Market Insights