Tradition is the foundation that grounds much of the bakery industry’s continued success. We see this immutable fact across nearly every category, with leading companies selling billions of dollars of traditional baked goods that have long stood the test of time. These are core products beloved by millions of shoppers.
When asked to name a favorite childhood snack, most people would like probably name a favorite snack cake—Twinkies, Swiss Rolls, Devil Dogs, Snowballs or another, depending on where they lived. The taste of spongy cake and sweet, creamy filling in the middle still lingers on for some consumers. Nostalgia is a strong force.
The bars category continues show good to strong levels of growth, with sufficiently diversified product offerings to appeal to nearly every type of shopper. Few product categories so seamlessly fit into today’s on-the-go lifestyle suited to on-demand snacking.
The fresh bread category remains the most important segment in bakery today. It’s highly competitive, and the playing field continues to grow more crowded as more product dynamics like artisan and better-for-you come into consideration with increased frequency.
The frozen breakfast category, anchored by waffles, pancakes and French toast, has produced its share of picks and pans over the past year, largely dominated by a handful of big-dollar items with little variation in sales.
Buns and rolls continue to emerge from ovens nationwide at a steady pace. While overall category growth has been minimal, several companies saw comparatively significant gains. And while traditional products maintain perennial allure, new interest comes from ingredients like whole grains and sweeteners.
With current food trends focusing on health-and-wellness, it may be tempting to dismiss the cookie category as out of touch or on its way out. And while most of the top companies operating in the cookie category have seen relatively flat sales activity—or, at best, modest gains—traditional cookies still account for a sizeable portion of this $8 billon category.
Despite Americans’ growing interest in healthier diets and better-for-you foods made with real ingredients, people still enjoy treating themselves to dessert, be it a piece of frosted layer cake, a slice of silky crème pie or a sliver of decadent cheesecake.
Frozen pizza, as well as frozen pizza crusts and dough, had an improved year from a sales perspective over the past 52 weeks in the wake of strong—and continued—product and category innovation. And this innovation is resonating with shoppers at a key time in the evolution of pizza across both retail and foodservice, with encouraging growth of fast-casual pizza and intensified cross-market competition.
Americans continue to crave Mexican food—so much so that they spend billions of dollars annually at quick-service restaurants like Taco Bell and Chipotle Mexican Grill and on Mexican foods at their local grocery store.
When it comes to sweet goods like doughnuts, Danishes, sweet rolls, muffins and coffee cake, the market is in a state of flux. As Walter Postelwait, president of Pak Group LLC/Bellarise Baking Ingredients, Pasadena, CA, puts it: “The total segment appears to be growing slowly, but has hot pockets of activity.”
Near the start of 2016, Oprah Winfrey, one of the greatest of American trend-influencers, said three words every baker yearned to hear, “I love bread!” Her video sparked a viral following and provided great free publicity for one of the oldest and most-honored foods throughout human history.