It’s been a long, hard winter. We’re all anxious to enjoy warmer weather as we cruise into the victory circle of summer. While doing that, we suggest that you take a look at what we've uncovered in our annual State of the Industry Report about the bakery market. This month, we explore market information for the bread aisle, sweet goods, cookies, bars, snack cakes, frozen baked goods, tortillas, pies and more.

Based on data we gathered from Chicago-based IRI (rebranded in April from the former name, Symphony IRI Group), clearly the single driver this year is that consumers are making healthier food purchases. Studies, such as one from Mintel that covers 12 top product category standings, indicate that consumers are more concerned about total sugars and, in fact, only 3% of consumers avoid high fructose corn syrup.

Nutritional bars, certain better-for-you snack and granola bars and burger and hot dog buns scored well in the market this year. Other raceway winners include Hispanic foods, taco kits and wraps. Mediterranean breads such as flatbread and Ciabatta as well as breads like naan are more popular.

As Americans live more hectic lifestyles and have less time for traditional sit-down meals, snacking and eating on-the-move are more frequent. This is why healthy convenience trends are gearing up for the finals.

The economy is still dragging, when we all hoped it would be picking up the pace, and commodity prices have soared once again, giving bakers more challenges than ever. Hostess Brands LLC has emerged from its buyout and continues to evolve. Increased consumer demand for top-quality ingredients and convenience packaging have limited some sectors’ profit share, including the cookie industry. But these factors also have the potential to put cookie snacking in poll position.

And gluten-free, natural and healthful products are still trend-setters across various bakery categories. Manufacturers are making sure to give consumers the energy they need for the long drive in easy, pitstop-sized portions in the flavors they crave.

We want to wave a checkered flag in thanks to all of our industry respondents who took time to reply to us and relate details about their own operations and provide their viewpoints. We also thank our writers in the pit crew and give a big shoutout to Ryan Stredney and the rest of the staff at IRI who furnished us with the data and statistics included in these reports. To obtain more detailed industry information from IRI, contact IRI at 312-726-1221, or visit its website at

It’s time to go outdoors, see a car race, enjoy some summery activities, grab your favorite snack and bakery treats, sit back and peruse our June issue to find out what’s happening now in the bakery industry. Take a look through these pages, which sport an auto racing theme, and don’t forget to check out our next issue, the July State of the Industry Report on snacks. Also, be sure to visit us online at