Bakery beyond bulk: Consumers seeking smaller portions

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Marketing

Bakers shouldn't push quantity but rather downsize to hit consumer trends, says Nielsen's bakery expert
Bakers shouldn't push quantity but rather downsize to hit consumer trends, says Nielsen's bakery expert
Bakers need to focus on smaller portions and selling to individual consumers instead of working in bulk, warns an expert.

Jonna Parker, bakery expert at Nielsen-Perishables Group, said there needs to be a mind-set shift among bakers to fit with consumer purchasing behavior.

For example, a bakery manufacturer needs to think about positioning a large tub of brownies differently, she told

“Instead of just selling a large product in a lot of serving sizes and relying on that volume, they should be thinking ‘why don’t I just try to sell smaller packaged sizes to connect with that customer?’,”​ she said.

“If I could just change one mind-set it would be – don’t think about selling tons of quantity, think about selling to a lot of individual people by breaking and shifting your serving sizes down.”

Why? To hit health notes and make profit

This idea is reactionary to the market, because it responds to consumer desires and situations – particularly as serving and portion control is a consumer trend, she said.

“When we think about how to resonate with today’s consumer; that smaller serving size and portion size hits on a health need, it hits on the fact that most people live in smaller households, and I think that is the trend we’ve seen have the biggest impact.”

However, bakers can also profit from downsizing and not selling on quantity because of premiums they can charge, she added.

Death of the value consumer?

While there is a clear trend towards portion control and seeking out smaller sizes, Parker said the value consumer hasn’t disappeared.

“If you think about club stores – they do big business in selling two huge sleeves of bread and we always joke about cat-sized muffins. There’s a time and a place for that, and there’s a household and situation for that. But that situation comes up less frequently, and it’s a destination situation,”​ she explained.

Parker said that those value consumers actively shopping in larger club stores are doing so for the value aspect – perhaps they have a party or family celebration that they need stocks for. But for the regular, daily shopper, she said that value in bakery was becoming less of a purchasing driver. 

Related topics Business Bread & dough products

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