Jan. EditorNote_bodyHappy New Year! January can be filled with resolutions for positive changes and new horizons. As we hit the road of 2012, we think about the year that passed and the adventures ahead. We also wonder about what the next 12 months will bring for marketers, bakers, snack food manufacturers and new product developers. As difficult as 2011 was, many bakeries and snack food companies we visited found ways to turn the tough times around and mold them into successes.

In 2012, we will do the same thing, offering some new beginnings and a few new additions we think our readers will enjoy.

We’re launching a new column called Industry Experts, in which contributing writers including association leaders provide insight on new developments and issues within the food segment. This month, Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, founder of Hispanic Food Communications and member of the Grain Foods Foundation scientific advisory board, examines the health and nutritional needs of Hispanic customers. So take a look at these new entries—we have plenty more to come.
We’re also introducing Insider Perspective, a frequent column in Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery. Insider Perspective will offer guest editorials from various leaders in the baking and snack food industries that will shed new light on the production processes, business strategies, technologies and tips those in-the-know use on a daily basis to maintain and build their successes.

Many of the bakeries and snack food companies we visit set realistic goals for success and are able to achieve them. Many also take on additional tasks along the way that produce great results. Some of the brands get ahead of a trend and take it on with ownership. If you can ride the wave of a trend to its fullest, that’s great. Successful bakeries and snack food companies know that trends change more quickly now than ever. Marketing Magazine recently profiled trendspotter Euro RSCG and shared its predictions for 2012, derived mostly from global and national surveys, blogs, essayists, newspapers and numerous interviews. Be on the lookout for:

  • The age of collaboration. Many of us are used to looking out for No. 1, but 2012 might have us reworking the math. The era of “me” is going away—finally—replaced with the age of “we” in what could be the age of collaboration and common interest. Collaborative software will be huge in 2012.
  • Entitlements, traditions will change. With the world preoccupied with everything from iPads to debit card fees, change is in the air. Many people are redefining the very notion of “value” and could return to traditional thinking. Look for many to refocus on family, food and simple pleasures.
  • Good consumption in a bad economy. No more can brands just coast on providing; they’ll have to specify how they provide, why they provide and what they stand for when doing so. Fears of a double-dip recession and shallow consumer confidence pressure big business to do well.

These are but a few of the observations and forecasts from Euro RSCG. On the food side, the high rate of obesity and an aging population in America place healthier diets front and center in the national consciousness. Mintel reports that healthy options for the snacks and baked goods will only increase, even with traditionally indulgent items. Look for even more better-for-you oils, fatty acids, grains and new ingredient formulations. Taste is king.

Packaged Facts and the Center for Culinary Development say Gen Y, Boomers and Gen Xers all seem to turn to different foods for comfort. More trends include the emergence of micropatisseries, alfajores (South American cookies or confections), pies, popovers, specialty frozen desserts, better baking mixes, more pretzels, global cuisine, wellness ingredients, more Asian influences and more gluten–free innovations. Barbecue and grilled flavors, street foods, food truck favorites and changes in snacking habits all seem to be on the horizon. No doubt, it’s going to be an exciting year. Happy New Year!