Bakery sales rise with smaller portions

Sales at in-store supermarket bakeries climbed through the first half of 2011, fueled by trends like smaller portion sizes, innovative donuts and pies, and bake-off production, according to What's in Store 2012, the newly released annual trends publication from the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association™ (IDDBA). To offset financial hardship consumers eat at home more often. Ninety-one percent of households buy at least one instore bakery (ISB) item each year.

In-store bakery department sales increased 2.2% to a total of $10.4 billion over the 52-week span ending May 28, 2011, according to Perishables Group.

Cost- and calorie-conscious consumers seek the in-store bakeries looking for these product attributes. Mini-portion sizes of about two-to-four bites are a hot trend, as they retail at lower price points and typically carry less of a caloric impact compared to their full-size counterparts. Mini pies, cupcakes, and cake pops are examples of this trend. The 'free-from' trend is another idea escalating in ISBs: foods free of gluten, nuts, allergens, and animal products are hot items, as are organic and non-GMO products. Fiber and whole grains are healthful additions to ISB selections, particularly in light of the new 2010 U.S. Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines, which encourage consumption of more whole grains.

Shoppers want a wider array of sweet desserts, including intriguing gourmet and wacky donuts, crème puffs, and sweet crepes to name a few. Donuts span the flavor spectrum, from novel to sophisticated. Wacky donuts, such as those topped with nostalgic treats such as Fruit Loops and Rice Krispie treats, are the kiddie counterpart to more sophisticated donuts, like those filled with fresh fruit preserves or gourmet chocolate.

Pies are available in a plethora of shapes and sizes, including pie pops on sticks, upside-down pies, and pies baked in canning jars.

Flavor is as vital as ever in the bakery. Sweet, hot, salty, and tart combinations give consumers a double jolt of delectable dessert indulgence. For instance, baby back rib cupcakes combine sweet and savory in one decadent package.

Customers are keen to know where their food comes from and more stores today offer fresh-baked artisan breads produced on-site. Bake-off is the most favored ISB production method, with 32.2% of bakeries reporting it as their primary production method. However, scratch baking has made a significant comeback. Nearly 16% of surveyed bakery operators said scratch baking best defined their production method in 2010, nearly double the 8.1% reported five years ago, according to Progressive Grocer.

Bakery products have 91% household penetration, according to Perishables Group FreshFacts Shopper Insights powered by Spire data, evidence that a growing number of consumers across the demographic spectrum seek out fresh supermarket bakery options. To save money, consumers eat at home more, adding to ISB sales. More than half of retailers surveyed said the at-home eating movement boosted sales in the 52 weeks ending March 31, 2011. U.S. shoppers made twelve ISB purchase trips on average in the 52 weeks ending May 31, 2011.

Sixteen percent of all grocery transactions included at least one bakery item. Roughly 12% of households bought more than one bakery item, according to Perishables Group FreshFacts Shopper Insights. Singles are less likely to buy bakery products, which tend to be sold in multi-serving packages and can lose their freshness before one person can consume them. According to Perishables Consumer Profiles, White/Caucasian consumers make up 75% of bakery consumers in top stores. Hispanic consumers also have a strong shopping index for in-store bakeries. In fact, the growing Hispanic population will noticeably impact ISB sales. Couples with no children and older consumers are more likely than households with children to visit in-store bakeries.

What's in Store 2012, our 26th edition, is a 200+ page trends report that details consumer and industry trends affecting the dairy case, cheese case, bakery, deli, and foodservice supermarket departments. Its 185+ tables, developed in cooperation with leading industry firms and associations, include department sales, per capita consumption, consumer preferences, and random-weight, UPC, and private label sales data. The full report is available from IDDBA. The cost is $99 for IDDBA members and $399 for non-members, plus shipping and handling. Along with the book, readers have access to What's in Store Online, featuring over 50 quarterly-updated, downloadable, color sales tables with random-weight (PLU), UPC, and system 2-coded data. In addition, the Web site offers timely white papers, trends articles, and links for all of the businesses that are referenced in the What's in Store book.