One key piece to keeping customers coming back and to attracting new ones is to stay on top of the trends that are shaping their tastes and choices. Dawn Food’s insights experts have researched the top trends to understand COVID’s impact, and they have turned them into insights you can use as you plan for the New Year and a new approach to selling and succeeding.

People are Relaxing and Unwinding with Food

Using a sweet treat as a reward is nothing new. Dawn’s trend “Blissful Indulgence” underscores our drive to disconnect with food, wanting a momentary escape from reality with an indulgent sweet. In this year’s COVID climate, our desire to escape has grown. Consumers are more stressed than ever before, with 32% claiming to have severe anxiety. The consumption numbers prove this to be true. People are turning to food and beverages in record numbers. Of those surveyed,

  • 26% are eating "comfort" foods
  • 16% are stress eating  
  • 16% are drinking alcohol
  • 15% are eating indulgent foods

With this uptick in consumption and with a focus on comfort and indulgence, be sure to work these items into your menu. Think dark chocolate, rich cream fillings, and other cues that take people to a stress-free moment of escape.

#Eatertainment Takes on New Meaning at Home

Dawn’s #Eatertainment trend focuses on the experiential aspect of food and the desire for people to share, post, and be social with their food experiences. With everyone staying home this year, in home dining has jumped in popularity. But just because people are eating at home, it doesn't mean they no longer want to share their favorite food experiences. Bread baking, sushi rolls, and other “make it at home” movements have taken over.

Your bakery can capitalize on the #eatertainment trend by creating share-worthy kits that families can bake and create at home. Everything from take and bake muffins and cinnamon rolls to cookies and donuts you can decorate all make sense as people are still at home but long to be social.

Keep It Simple

While you’re investing in smart tech and tools, remember to keep it simple by focusing on what you do best. Don’t take on too much at one time. Are you known for your decorating? Celebrate that with products that showcase the talents of your team. Do people come to you for donuts? Think about how to ramp up your donut business with new flavors, capitalizing on 2021 trends, and promoting specials of the day or week. Give your customers what they love, and they’ll always come back for more.

Support for Local Will Drive Consumer Behavior

It’s no secret that small businesses of all types struggled in 2020. To help offset this as much as possible, consumers are seeking to support local businesses when possible. In fact, 71% of those surveyed stated they “would buy food that was locally sourced even if I couldn't get everything I wanted."

This ties into Dawn’s “My Food ID” trend, which underscores the importance consumers place on knowing where their food comes from and the value in connecting to their food’s story.

This gives bakeries an opportunity to hone the story of your business and share it with customers. Did your grandparents start your bakery? Do you use family recipes that have been passed down for generations? Do you have a scholarship program for student employees? Take the time to develop your history and share it in your bakery, on social media, and even with local news outlets if you have something truly unique. Customers will be happy to support you in their efforts to help local businesses thrive.

Health Has Never Been More in Style

The Dawn Foods trend “Enlightened Eating” tells us that consumers are willing to pay more for food that is free of additives and artificial ingredients and that fuels their bodies while supporting a healthy lifestyle. This trend has taken on new meaning in 2020, with health and immunity being top of mind for most consumers.

In fact, 29% of consumers surveyed indicated that the changes they made in their purchasing behaviors to focus more on healthy products would last for six months or more. And 43% plan to continue to purchase health and wellness products after the pandemic is over.

What does this mean for your bakery? Invest in better-for-you products that are free from additives, artificial flavors and colors. You can also tout healthier ingredients like alternative or gluten-free flours, fillings made from fruit, additives like super foods, seeds or healthy nuts; the list is endless. Dedicating a portion of your case for baked goods that make people feel good about their food choices is a smart decision for 2021.