Heather Davis, Bimbo Bakehouse Heather Davis
American food culture continually presents a fluid range of prevailing and emerging trends of note that help guide market strategies for the coming year. However, the current era has unleashed an unprecedented variety of challenges for the industry to address.

For 2022, in a new series of features, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery (SF&WB) is providing a wide perspective on anticipated 2022 industry trends of note (for a look at the first installment of this series, see “IRI insights into 2022 snack and bakery trends”).

In this latest installment, SF&WB connected with Heather Davis, senior manager of customer insights, Bimbo Bakehouse, Horsham, PA, to gain some insight into trends of note across U.S. foodservice today.

Douglas J. Peckenpaugh: How has the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacted American foodservice?

Heather Davis: As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve noticed two major shifts in the foodservice industry: slimmed down menus and product versatility. Menus have been reduced to offset challenges with the supply chain constraints and they enable easy execution with less staff.

Versatile products that allow operators to use a singular item multiple ways across their menu (and potentially dayparts, too) helps to overcome one of the latest challenges facing the industry: stocking issues at distributors. Bimbo Bakehouse offers various versatile buns and rolls that will both help operators simplify their freezer storage and work to create variety within a streamlined menu. Minimizing products back of house will also result in less training for operators facing high employee turnover.

Ordering ahead has grown in popularity and will most likely continue to do so next year. Operators are learning how to manage a new balance of receiving orders both online and in person. Utilizing products that deliver on flexibility, like our thaw & serve bread and rolls, make it easier to prep items in advance of customer rush and help with overall inventory management

Restaurants have also leveraged core product competencies to create ghost kitchen concepts with an online only presence. Existing businesses are using menu items that chefs are already familiar with and rolling out a separate “virtual” brand that appeals to a whole new customer base.


DJP: How has the shift toward more people working from home changed foodservice strategies for the morning daypart?

HD: There are now blurred boundaries when it comes to breakfast. This is mostly driven by clockless eating from the ongoing “gig economy” and remote work. With more people working at home and less people commuting, breakfast is being eaten later in the morning. With that, more snack-sized breakfast items are available.

There’s been an expansion of traditional breakfast items into other parts of the day. Brunch items, like eggs on a burger, will continue to grow on menus.


DJP: What are the top sandwich, wrap, and handheld trends in foodservice today?

HD: One trendy flavor that we’ve seen grow rapidly this past year is the Everything Bagel seasoning. It has expanded beyond just bagels and is now a versatile topping that works well within new parts of our product portfolio. Bimbo Bakehouse launched a new Everything Pretzel Bun this past summer as part of its new line of specialty sandwich carries, available to foodservice operators across the US. Our traditional Bavarian pretzel bun is now topped with the popular everything bagel seasoning for a flavorful twist. Bimbo Bakehouse also launched a new line extension under its Wholesome Harvest® brand—the Wholesome Harvest® Everything Sliced Bread, available now to retail in-store bakeries. This bread, made with high quality whole grains, is enrobed in toasted onion, pretzel salt, sesame, and poppy seeds.

We have also seen the re-emergence of classics like Brioche buns. Brioche buns are one of the fastest growing carriers for burgers and chicken sandwiches. This past summer, Bimbo Bakehouse foodservice introduced an all-new traditional Brioche bun, made with real eggs and butter to deliver a sweet, rich flavor.

Chipotle is one of the fastest growing burger flavors. To complement that trend, Bimbo Bakehouse recently added a Chipotle Brioche Bun to its foodservice product lineup—combining the sweet flavor of brioche bread with smoky chipotle pepper.


DJP: How are foodservice operators adjusting lunch and dinner daypart strategies to accommodate more to-go/carry-out menu items?

HD: Portable options continue to grow in popularity as we learn to adopt a “new normal”. More operators have added takeout and curbside pickup options, as well as menu options that can be easily consumed on-the-go. For operators, having rolls and buns that can hold up during transport is key. Bimbo Bakehouse has both sandwich rolls and burger buns that travel well from restaurant and in-store bakery to home.

The desire for grab & go items has also skyrocketed. With convenience and safety top of mind, it’s important to find the quickest, most effective ways to keep these items fresh and accessible. Bimbo Bakehouse offers flow wrap packaging options for individually wrapped grab & go items, which helps to simplify operations while meeting consumer needs, especially for in-store bakeries.


DJP: How are you helping foodservice operators streamline back-of-house efficiencies?

HD: To help foodservice operators streamline back-of-house efficiencies, we offer labor-saving formats like bulk and retail-ready thaw & serve products. These quick, turnkey products are both convenient and easy-to-prep.

We also offer a variety of versatile products like buns and rolls that allow operators to use a singular item multiple ways across their menu and minimize back-of-house product. It helps operators simplify their freezer storage and work to create variety within a streamlined menu. Minimizing products back of house will also result in less training for operators facing high employee turnover.


DJP: What do you see as the top foodservice bakery trend to watch for 2022 and why?

HD: We believe the top foodservice bakery trend in 2022 will be a greater demand for “labor light” options. Driven by ongoing labor challenges and employee turnover, in-store bakeries are seeking quality, turnkey products that also require less labor. Bimbo Bakehouse offers labor-saving formats like bulk and retail-ready thaw & serve products that are convenient and easy-to-prep. Our products have a shelf life that enables inventory control and waste management.


For a deeper look into Bimbo Bakehouse, see “Bimbo Bakehouse brings comprehensive solutions to foodservice and the in-store bakery.”

For a deeper look at predictions for what’s in store for the coming year, review the “2022 Snack & Bakery Outlook Report” in the January issue of the SF&WB eMagazine