It’s baseball season, says editor-in-chief Lauren R. Hartman. That means the June issue is revved up with our annual focus on the State of the Bakery Industry. 

It’s baseball season. The weather is finally warming, the players are swinging and the managers are sweating. That means our June issue is revved up with our annual focus on the state of the industry. This time, we’re covering the bakery market, which includes the bread aisle, sweet goods, cookies, bars and snack cakes, frozen baked goods and more. The slow economy is starting to improve, and consumers are buying bakery products that seem to be changing and evolving to get more sales impact.

Whole grain, multigrain and breads with more fiber as well as a new emphasis on unusual or different ingredients such as flax, are all major forces right now, and the breakfast subcategory is a popular area for new introductions. Various new breakfast sweet goods and breads are coming into the market, in new shapes and with better-for-you benefits such as antioxidants. In order to lure consumers, bakers are listening to their needs and wants, and will need to give them what they want, which is healthier items.

What’s more, the private-label market has enjoyed healthy sales growth this year, and that isn’t likely to decrease any time soon. More private-label products are being introduced, and more are better for you, come in attractive packaging and are easier on consumers’ pockets, which provides a welcome bonus considering the hefty gas prices consumers are paying to go to the store to buy these items.

Portion sizes are also under the microscope this year, as more portion-packs than ever are being introduced, though not all are super low-calorie. While the 100-calorie pack remains the predominant choice, various sweet goods and snack cake marketers and manufacturers are unveiling packs with a higher calorie count. But healthy and smaller-portioned products still have to taste good. And manufacturers have been actively developing new product lines that don’t taste like diet food.

Portion-packages of low-calorie foods are also being increased slightly so that they don’t leave people feeling hungry, and possibly enticing them to eat more.

In addition, tortilla manufacturers and sweet goods makers are also witnessing the same kinds of consumer demands as the bakers, and are working diligently to develop new products that accommodate their changing needs.

As in the game of baseball, no single player can win without a team, and we couldn’t publish our 2011 State of the Bakery Industry report without help. Here’s a big thank you to all of the industry respondents who took the time to reply to us and relate their viewpoints, perspectives and opinions as to what’s happening in the bakery world today and within their own operations. Also, thanks to Ryan Stredney and the rest of the staff at SymphonyIRI Group in Chicago who supplied us with the charts and statistical data we included in the report. To obtain more detailed industry information from SymphonyIRI Group, contact them at 312-726-1221 or visit their website at

Another round of thanks goes to executive editor, Marina Mayer, and our contributing writer, Romy Schafer, for all of their support and help gathering this information.

Next month, we’ll continue with our State of the Snack Industry report, so be sure to grab a copy or visit us online at

Go get your beer and popcorn and read about what’s happening in the bakery industry. Play ball!