Flavors also migrate across categories, such as applying a red velvet cake flavor to brownies or a rocky road ice cream flavor to chocolate Bundt cake. Manufacturers have also started using Greek yogurt in cakes over the past year or so. Savory flavors more akin to meat snacks or nut mixes, like hickory smoked and roasted jalapeño, have begun appearing in snack and ?nutritional bars.
According to Mintel’s April 2015 “American Lifestyles 2015: The Connected Consumer—Seeking Validation from the Online Collective” report, snacking continues to fit into American lifestyles. Snacking categories predicted to continue growth include traditionally indulgent products like cookies.
Little continues to make a big impact. New miniature-sized baked goods concepts include:
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In its “Prepared Cakes and Pies—U.S.” report, Mintel reports that prepared cakes and pies, including snack sizes, grew 24 percent from 2009–14. Looking forward, the firm predicts the segment will grow an additional 18 percent from 2014–19, reaching sales of $13.2 billion, as bakers strive to meet demands for higher-quality ingredients, flavor-forward ?formulations and portability, including controlled portion sizes.
You can have your cake and eat it, too. You just need to know when that cake should be formulated with an immaculate ingredient statement, smaller portion size and Ecuadorian Arriba cocoa—and when it should simply transport the eater back to childhood days long past, but never forgotten.
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Bakery Market Overview baking articles 2015 State of the Industry 2015 2015Bakery Market Overview baking articles 2015 State of the Industry 2015 2015
But the report also found that some buyers find the flavors of better-for-you products undesirable, suggesting that some products could benefit from more flavor innovation. It also cited “staleness too soon after opening” as a complaint about bread, perhaps pointing to an opportunity for improved packaging options to help preserve freshness, or simply offering products in smaller packages.
Douglas J. Peckenpaugh is Group Editorial Director of Snack, Bakery, Cannabis, Meat, Candy and Food Safety for BNP Media. He has over two decades of publishing experience following the food industry from farm to fork, covering agriculture, ingredient processing, CPG and foodservice R&D, retail and restaurant menu trends, and retail grocery branding. He is a member and past president of the . Doug studied Professional and Creative Writing at Purdue University.
Seasonal and LTO items have proven intriguing, with pumpkin always a fall favorite, as seen in these recent items:
Increasingly, bakers look to gluten-free to diversify sales revenue streams. According to Mintel’s “Gluten-Free Foods—U.S.,” the gluten-free market reached sales of $8.8 billion in 2014, representing an increase of 63 percent from 2012–14, and that trend will likely continue. Mintel predicts gluten-free will grow an additional 62 percent from 2014–17, to reach sales of $14.2 billion in 2017.
Sales data for bagels and English muffins, two segments that trended positively over the past year per IRI, up 1.61 percent and 4.45 percent in dollar sales, respectively, shows ingredient and flavor diversity translating into higher sales, with ingredients like various seeds, ancient grains, dried fruit inclusions and sprouted grains—sometimes along with gluten-free—in the mix.
The resonance of such claims can prove application-specific. Despite strong growth in the percentage of prepared cakes and pies with a gluten-free claim, the importance of gluten-free is secondary to other claims, such as reduced fat, sugar or calories, according to Mintel’s June 2014 “Prepared Cakes and Pies—U.S.” report. Some 10 percent of those who eat cakes and pies report that they look for allergen-free products.
IRI data shows largely flat activity in bread categories—but select companies and brands continue to show gains, including portion-controlled/calorie-controlled products. In its “Bread and Bread Products—U.S.” report, Mintel predicts a slow rate of growth into 2019, when sales are projected to reach $27 billion.
Capturing sales and category share will likely involve offering just the right mix of products. Nearly three in 10 buyers say they are eating less bread because it is too high in carbohydrates and calories, and 19 percent cite high sugar content. Better-for-you products like whole-grain and “light” could very well appeal to such consumers. The Mintel report specifically cites low-carb, low-calorie and high-fiber products as likely to help drive sales.
Better-for-you product introductions over the past year have included baked goods like:
New product flavor and format diversity continues to entice, including nontraditional and ethnic breads . Mintel notes that this trend is reflected in the more than two in 10 respondents who bought more bread in the last six months because they are eating more ethnic meals. Also, more respondents who buy bread say they are buying “more rather than less” ethnic and international bread types like:
Small to midsize companies will continue to take a flexible, leading edge in formulation styles and tactics, appealing to early trend adopters and helping set the pace of innovation. For larger, diversified bakeries, understanding your core consumers and selectively providing classic bakery products—along with a targeted mix of new options aligned with strong category trends—will help ensure that offerings appeal to the widest cross section of shoppers today.
Seasonal items can also drive sales. Mintel notes “seasonal” baking articles 2015 product claims increased 280 percent from 2009–14. A survey showed some 22 percent of consumers indicate seasonal or limited-time-offer status would influence them to purchase cake and/or pie products more often.

A top trend seen across nearly every segment of bakery, in varying degrees, remains better-for-you. To some consumers, better-for-you means a clean label, non-GMO, fresh, natural and organic. To others, it’s smaller portion sizes and calorie control. And still to other demographics, it’s lower sodium and fat, fewer calories and more of the good stuff we need, like whole and diverse grains, fiber, nuts, seeds and fruit.
The retail pizza market faces an uphill battle, and Mintel forecasts flat sales for the U.S. market for store-bought pizza between 2014 and 2019. According to the firm’s June 2014 “Pizza—U.S.” report, frozen pizza brands face mounting competition from pizzerias restaurants, as more consumers are able to spend on restaurant pizza again, and a majority of consumers perceive store-bought pizza as inferior. More than six in 10 respondents report eating takeout or delivery pizza in the last six months, compared to the less than six in 10 who report eating frozen pizza during that time frame.
Format also plays a role in influencing the purchase of prepared cakes and/or pies. Mintel notes more than one-quarter of consumers indicate that availability of individual portion sizes, such as cake or pie slices, would influence them to purchase these items more often, while 20 percent would buy more prepared cake and pie products if miniature versions were available. Only 14 percent of consumers who eat prepared cakes and pies indicate they eat these items while on the go. Recently released products that can increase eating occasions for dessert products include miniature pie bites and upscale mini Bundt cakes designed to split between two people, as well as mini bar cookie versions of popular cheesecake styles.
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According to Mintel’s September 2013 “Gluten-free Foods—U.S.” report, gluten-free claims increased dramatically from 2009–14, up 200 percent, primarily due to the perceived association between gluten-free and health in people without celiac disease. About two-thirds of Americans who eat gluten-free foods for reasons other than intolerance or sensitivity do so because they believe the foods are healthier, while 27 percent go gluten-free for weight loss.
Consumers are also generally looking for new flavors of traditional breads. Mintel notes that one-third of respondents who buy bread say flavor factors into their selection of one bread type over another, and nearly three in 10 say a wide range of appealing flavors motivated them to buy the breads they bought most often in the last six months. Also, more than four in 10 respondents say they select the bread they buy most often because they are eating more sandwiches.
Aside from kosher, statements related to low/no/reduced trans fat and no additives and/or preservatives are leading all product claims. As FDA prepares to institute a ban on partially hydrogenated oils , expect to see claims related to trans fat content intensify.
According to Chicago-based Mintel’s September 2014 “Bread and Bread Products—U.S,” consumers demand better-for-you foods in myriad ways, including relative claims like “less processed” and “fresher,” as well as through verifiable tactics like fortification with fiber, vitamins and minerals. To that end, bakeries have added traits like whole-grain, low/no/reduced fat and no additives/preservatives to products. The report notes some 37 percent of respondents who buy bread cite “high fiber” as a reason for selecting one bread type over another, and more than two in 10 say added nutrients, such as calcium or protein, determine selection.
We continued to see strong brand dominance in the top five companies and brands across many bakery categories, according to data provided by IRI, Chicago. Elsewhere, multiple trends continued to shape the state of the bakery industry over the past year—including better-for-you, gluten-free and flavor diversity—all of which will progressively mature over the next year and beyond, impacting every category in bakery in at least one shape or form and capturing more dollar share.
Claims for whole-grain and low/no/reduced cholesterol closely followed. Mintel also notes that one-third of respondents who buy bread report that an “all-natural ” claim prompts them to select one type of bread versus another. About 45 percent of respondents who purchased more bread in the last six months cited a desire to eat more healthfully as the reason for their selections.
Recent gluten-free—and often free-from—new products include:
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Many newer gluten-free products have begun to align with an emerging “free-from” category, with products also going allergen-free and GMO-free.
The firm suggests frozen brands can compete by continuing to focus on convenience, while also making quality improvements that are clearly highlighted on product packaging. Retail brands can close the quality gap between retail and foodservice pizza by focusing on premium ingredients, new flavor varieties, and higher-quality and interesting crusts.
In the wake of the popular croissant-doughnut Cronut portmanteau/hybrid—alternately called a “dossant,” “doughssant” or simply croissant doughnut—cross-pollination of ideas and product formats from one bakery category to the next continues. Other hybrids include the doughnut-biscuit and waffle-doughnut . Crispy, article skill baking soda