In-store bakeries at supermarkets are an appealing drawing card, which help drive traffic to other departments on premises. The key to successful bakery programs is keeping abreast of changing consumer tastes regarding baked goods – and cost-effectively delivering quality goods to customers.
The constant challenge for supermarket bakeries is managing food ingredient, packaging, and labor costs to enhance profitability. Another constant challenge is managing waste. Overproduction and/or inferior baking quality can cause this waste.
Furthermore, being aware of contemporary trends in the baking industry that can position an operation for sustained growth is important for in-store bakeries. Here are 5 supermarket baking trends for 2016 that bakery managers must understand:
1. More bakery-type outlets vying for consumers’ attention
Today, it’s not just local and small independent bakeries, or supermarket bakeries that are selling delectable breads, rolls, cakes, pies, and cookies. It seems baked goods are proliferating in an array of businesses. Walk into your local Starbucks, convenience store, or specialty tea emporium and fresh and tantalizing baked goods abound. Competition is intense in the bakery industry.
Consequently, in-store bakeries must offer unique variety at competitive prices to compete. Furthermore, they must make their bakeries enjoyable places to shop, with a definite old-world baking aura about them to draw people to them. Supermarket bakeries must be a destination that shoppers are happy to frequent for quality baked goods. If not, there are a lot of other entities who will pick up the slack and satisfy consumers’ demands.
2. Continued demand for less chemicals in baked goods
In general, consumers want less chemicals in all foods they buy. This certainly pertains to baked goods as well. The baking industry as a whole is addressing this issue, innovating with more natural ingredients to replace artificial ingredients.
Soy Connection (the United Soybean Board) indicated that based on the 2007 Cakes and Pies Report by Mintel’s, roughly 63% of people who eat cakes and/or pies want to have healthier types of those same bakery products on store shelves.
In 2015, the International Food Information Council published its 2015 Food and Health Survey. Essentially, 36% of people questioned said that chemicals in food products was their main food safety concern. This consumer trend is growing. Supermarket bakeries must understand the mindset of their customers regarding this concern. People want healthier choices for the foods they consume.
3. A focus on fresh, unique seasonal items
Bakeries, whether stand-alone independents, huge conglomerates, or supermarket outlets, have always embraced seasonal promotions. However, today, consumers demand more than your typical pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. They are looking for inventive products, attractively packaged.
For example, the aforementioned pumpkin is now a part of a host of baked goods. Supermarket News noted in a September 2015 article that, “Pumpkin products, in particular, are proliferating throughout the department. Once limited mainly to pies and breads, pumpkin now appears in everything from cookies to cakes, croissants and more.”
Therefore, it’s important that supermarket bakeries continue to innovate with traditional foods and ingredients to create new and interesting products that customers want.
4. Consumers desire for distinct and exotic tastes
This is akin to the above point. Today’s consumer is more informed on what is available to make food products unique and appealing. While they may desire something like pumpkin in different baked goods, they also want new flavors in traditional baked goods.
Consider the simple donut. “Dough”, based in Brooklyn, New York (Bakery & Pastries, Desserts) has sold a Mojito with Candied Mint Leaf donut. This offering has a mojito frosting glaze and to top it all off there’s a mint leaf (candied) on top.
This is a true example of a baked good that is distinct and somewhat out-of-the-ordinary for customers. Supermarket bakeries will need to be just as creative in their product offerings to retain and also grow their customer base.
5. The ‘farm to table’ trend
This is a trend that’s definitely picking up steam. So it’s important that in-store bakeries capitalize on this to grow sales. Customers want more fresh spices, fresh herbs, fresh cheeses and more in baked breads, cakes, pastries and such.
Fundamentally, the ‘farm to table’ moniker underscores a direct connection between a farm and a retail store, a bakery, or a restaurant. The middleman is eliminated and the seller of the finished product has sourced his food and/or food ingredients directly from the farm. This is conducive to fresher, unadulterated food.
Independent supermarkets with in-store bakeries can certainly source local from farms. It may be more difficult for a supermarket bakery that’s part of a huge chain to do so because of head office central purchasing. However, because consumers are demanding this in spices, herbs, and the like, the incentive is there for chains to address this issue as well.
Today’s grocery retailers can reap significant revenues and profits from their in-store bakeries. The recipe is to always provide baked goods with limited ingredients to satisfy customers’ tastes for high-quality ‘more natural’ products. Understanding supermarket baking trends for 2016 will help ensure they build their bakery businesses based on consumers’ desires.