While a wide range of ongoing trends are at play within the baking industry today, one in particular is worth highlighting: fresh. While select frozen and shelf-stable bakery products saw gains over the past year, a number of refrigerated brands with particularly strong growth emerged as we reviewed our data from our retail sales partner, IRI, Chicago.

Some of these segment growth leaders also take innovative turns on familiar products, which helps build interest. The Cinnabon Gooey Bites from AdvancePierre Foods bring bite-sized Cinnabon treats to retail, ready to heat and eat. Wewalka Trading Corp. has made strong inroads to several refrigerated dough segments, including refrigerated pizza dough. The company builds a valve into product packaging to automatically vent the carbon dioxide that builds due to use of live baker’s yeast. And the Guerrero refrigerated tortillas from Gruma Corp. are parcooked and ready to finish at home.

The in-store bakery (ISB) is another location that has an advantage when it comes to fresh products. IDDBA has forecast that ISB sales will grow an estimated 45 percent between 2010 and 2020, hitting $18.4 billion. While products merchandised in the ISB automatically have a higher freshness perception, some ISB bread suppliers are working toward preserving and extending freshness through artisan technique and better packaging, as seen in our recent April feature on Rise Baking Company 
(video at www.snackandbakery.com/videos).

Another opportunity for some fresh insights will be during our “State of the Industry: Snack & Bakery” webinar, taking place August 15 at 2 p.m. Eastern. Our presenters from IRI, American Bakers Association and SNAC International will deliver the latest intelligence on top-level trends and initiatives across the snack and bakery industries to help move your business forward. Register at www.snackandbakery.com/webinars.

Taking the right steps to deliver as fresh of a product as possible, while communicating that fact through messaging and merchandising, will go a long way to capturing attention in the coming months and years.