Bakery expert at Nielsen-Perishables Group Jonna Parker said sales of fresh baked goods are the strongest they have been in a long time.
“I think fresh bakery and just the concept of fresh is having a moment because consumers are highly engaged in their food,” she told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“Certainly in the bakery sector, people are very passionate about food and when they go to the grocery store they’re probably not passionate about sliced bread. But if they walk through that fresh bakery area and they see a new artisan multi-grain loaf, doesn’t that sound so much cooler and neater and a way to elevate your meal compared to sliced bread?”
The fresh bakery category is simply more enticing for consumers, she said.
Conveniently fresh – the next big trend
Within fresh, there is a big trend on the horizon for fresh baked goods that can be baked off or made at the convenience of consumers, she said, particularly as a younger generation and millennials take center stage.
“I see this ‘fresh at your convenience’ as an early adoption trend – it’s out on runways now and manufacturers need to work on how to make it relevant to consumers in the store,” Parker said.
The younger generation is experiential but perhaps doesn’t have the knowledge on baking that older generations have, she said. “We are really seeing them look to retailers and brands for help – asking to make things easier for them but at the same time allow them to have their hand in it too.”
This could be from par-baked breads or packaged sugar cookies that have separate frosting, she said.
Take advantage of being a solution amid economic gloom
Parker said that despite predictions, bakery, particularly fresh, boomed as the economy dipped in 2008/2009.
“What’s surging right now in the grocery store, and has been for the last several years of economic downturn, are the fresh categories, and bakery is absolutely part of that. If consumers can’t go out and sink money into a new wardrobe or a really elegant dinner, why not make lunch that bit more special by putting it in a roll?” she said.
Consumers only need to pay an additional dollar or two on a baked good treat and they are using such opportunity as an escape from the gloom, she said.
“Bakery is such a great industry because it can be people’s escape, it can be their solution or it can be a way to elevate a meal.”