What are the hottest trends in bakery? Look no further: the Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery “State of the Industry: Bakery” issue is ready for consumption!

The bakery business continues to advance. New products continue to meet and exceed consumer demand. Generational differences are evident, but not a hindrance. It’s the process bakeries take to meet those differences and continue to grow the business that’s the challenge. Our industry is meeting expectations, and those who evolve with it will see dollar signs in their head after a long day on the job.

Clean label and gluten-free consistently are on the lips of small, midsize and large bakers alike, with each category growing—in some cases at an astounding rate. This is all happening with a keen eye on variety, quality of taste and stability. Small to midsize bakers are capitalizing on their nimbleness, shifting and altering processes to meet product preferences, which will be a game-changer in the coming years.

The bars category encompasses nearly every prevailing trend in bakery today. The category is up 2.27 percent in dollar share to $4.8 billion for the 52 weeks ending April 19, 2015, per IRI, Chicago. The “better-for-you” nutritional bars subcategory has shown streamlined growth, now at $2.14 billion and growing 8.63 percent in dollar share for the period. By picking up any of these products, you will find a significant emphasis on gluten-free certification, pronounced nutritional facts and unique flavors.

It is important to note that traditional bakery categories like bread, buns and rolls will continue as bellwether products. Bimbo Bakeries USA continues to expand, and Hostess Brands has risen from the ashes and has five products in the top 20 bakery products per IRI data. I, like so many of us, grew up with Wonder bread as the best part of my daily PB & J. Wonder, now owned by Flowers Foods in the U.S., saw incredible growth, with bread increasing 217.26 percent in dollar sales and hamburger and hot dog buns up 801.93 percent. These tried-and-true products remain industry standards.

Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery likewise continues as an industry standard. We are more than 100 years strong, and we continue to evolve this iconic brand. This evolution comes in several forms. First, it’s the way we convey our content. We are always thinking about what drives this business forward and continually provide need-to-know information on new products, ingredients, equipment, technology and packaging designed to better your business. Second, it’s the way we deliver our information from the tried-and-true print publication, our new mobile-responsive website, our weekly eNewsletter The Weekly Mix, our webinars, and so on—all designed to align with how you digest your snack and baking information. This isn’t a change in philosophy, but more in presentation and depth of coverage.

Our distinctive approach—in print and online—is possible due to the partnerships we continue to cultivate with industry associations, practitioners and suppliers. Our content cornerstone is in third-party data and analysis from IRI and Mintel, our research and data partners.

We bring everything together in our two “State of the Industry” issues, which we will follow with an industry-first “State of the Industry: Snack & Bakery” editorial webinar on Aug. 26 at 2 p.m. Eastern, featuring presenters from IRI, American Bakers Association and Snack Food Association. Keep an eye on www.snackandbakery.com or your email for important registration details in the coming weeks.

 Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery is better than ever, with new in-market industry experts and a growing audience. We are primed to help grow the business of each new, successive generation of successful snack and bakery producers. Questions, comments or suggestions? Please feel free to share your thoughts.