Wheat is the word when it comes to a wholesome, healthy diet and the outlook for 2009 remains optimistic for in-store bakeries.

In-store bakeries and delis have been struggling to keep up with the ever-changing events of today’s economical situation. However, despite the tidal wave of fuel, crop and commodity costs that pounded profits during most of the year in 2008, wheat is still the word when it comes to what to expect for this year, especially in the world of new products, according to the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association in Madison, Wis.
    IDDBA recently released its annual trends report titled “What’s In Store 2009” that outlines hot issues and trends affecting supermarket in-store bakeries and delis, which many wholesale bakeries, dessert manufacturers, cookie producers and other snack companies supply.
    To curtail ingredient costs, in-store bakeries have downsized products and reduced product count in packages.
    However, even in the face of the price increase, whole grain products continue to soar off the shelves. In fact, they’re the most popular item at the in-store bakery. According to the report, 798 whole grain bakery products in 2007 were introduced in the commercial aisle and service bakery department, and 279 products were brought to the forefront through March 31, 2008. Those items produced 86% of the sales of whole grain products.
    Simultaneously, London-based Mintel International Group Ltd. reported that the number of flatbread varieties rose from five new products launched in 2005 to 26 in 2008, in part to their versatility. Flatbreads can now be found on restaurant menus and supermarkets and can be used for sandwiches, wraps, pizza bases, table bread, snacks or incorporated into an ethnic meal.
    Plus, the influx in the use of probiotics and prebiotics found in icings, fillings and enrobing products drove baked good sales. More products also are now made with polydextrose, resistant starch and inulin.
    Additionally, consumers are choosing cookies with healthful, natural and organic ingredients and smaller portioned cookies, the study says. Mintel reports that the New Year will bring a flurry of cookies with whole grains, nuts, dark chocolate and antioxidant-laden fruits to the table.
    Perhaps the new fad diet may become a trend, the study notes. Sales of gluten-free products have grown from $210 million in 2001 to $700 million in 2006. Their sales are projected to reach $1.7 billion in 2010. This is a result of consumers becoming more knowledgeable, aware and reliable of products pertaining to allergens, autoimmune diseases and providing top-notch health benefits.
    Whether or not costs fluctuate, innovations in wheat-based goods are still capturing the imagination of consumers and will continue to do so in 2009. Despite the good and doom when it comes to the economy, the outlook for in-store bakeries and those companies that supplies them remains optimistic for the New Year.