As the holiday season approaches, two important tools are gaining importance in your quest to provide the best possible service to customers: packaging and convenience options.

Convenience is king, especially in the bread business, and using BakeMark’s signature products like BakeSense Sup-R-Rise Frozen Concentrated Yeast, Westco and Best Brands line of bread mixes, bases and improvers, and BakeSense nuts and seeds, you can create your very own bread masterpieces that will keep customers coming back for more.

Westco and Best Brands bread bases are very popular, especially in the fall when people are craving a hearty flavor in their breads. The base itself already creates an eye-appealing crust and crumb color. Enhancing it with BakeSense seeds & nuts will take it over the top.

It’s also important to recognize the trends that consumers are snacking more than ever, especially millennials and Gen Z, according to Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader for Information Resources, Inc. She is predicting that the snack category will grow 3% to 4% in 2021, which she said was likely a very conservative estimate.

With people stuck at home from work and school in 2020, they bought larger sizes of snacks since they weren’t as mobile. Some have returned to the office, while others are still at home. And a hybrid working model has emerged, with employees in the office a couple of days each week and at home the rest. This means manufacturers need to be flexible enough to provide both larger and smaller sizes to accommodate this variety of consumer needs.

Messaging around sustainable business practices is a good way to draw the interest of younger snackers who are passionate about the subject, she said. And everyone just wants to have a little fun through innovation or experiences.

“Sixty-seven percent of consumers want snacks that are fun to eat; up three points in two years,” Lyons Wyatt said. “Fifty-two percent of consumers like to eat snacks that add excitement to their daily diet. That’s up three points in two years. Fifty-one percent of consumers look for authentic or unique snack experiences, up seven points in two years.”

Whole grains

Whole grains are another key component of the future of bread and snacking. Nearly three out of five respondents in the 2021 whole grains survey from the Oldways Whole Grains Council said they eat the recommended daily amounts of whole grains, a much higher number than reported in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020.

When asked whether they chose whole grain options at least half the time, 59% of respondents said yes. The percentages were higher for Gen Z and millennials at 64%, parents of children up to age 12 at 67%, health-conscious consumers at 74% and plant-based eaters at 77%, meaning consumers who do not eliminate animal products but focus on eating mostly plants like fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

More consumers are choosing whole grains for taste and sustainability reasons, according to the survey. Health, at 82%, was the main reason respondents said they were choosing whole grains. Taste was second at 38%. When asked what they considered barriers to whole grain consumption, taste was first at 33%, which was down from 42% in 2018. Cost was second in 2021 at 29%.

Nuts & seeds

As a convenient and flavorful solution from BakeMark, nuts and seeds will provide bakers with just about any type of seed you’d think to put on top of bread: poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds, to name a few. Try pairing pumpkin seeds with any of BakeMark’s bread bases.

In addition, BakeSense Sup-R-Rise Frozen Concentrated Yeast is convenient because it can stay frozen and has a 2-year shelf life, meaning you can stock up and not worry about running out. Not only that, but the conversion rate on the concentrated yeast will help save you time and money in the long run.

If you still want to stick to the traditional bread and fillings combo, you can still offer fresh-made bread and buns using BakeMark’s convenient mixes. Best Brands Super Soft Bread & Bun Base and our Westco White Bread Base mixes are so easy to use and save you so much time, you’ll be dishing out fresh bread in no time.

Online options

Going forward, traditional grocery has more or less stopped the bleeding from the past year, and it has capitalized on ecommerce and will use that as a tool to regain market share within the convenience channel, according to Jim Hertel, senior vice president of client development – analytics, Inmar Intelligence.

Ecommerce’s share of total food sales at supermarkets is expected to double in next 5 years, 8.5% to 17% by 2025.

“We see ecommerce as the growth driver, moving forward,” Hertel says.

According to an IDDBA webinar featuring Category Partners president Adam Brohimer, who addressed online grocery shopping trends and the impact for perishables, ecommerce was on the rise prior to COVID, and “COVID was like adding rocket fuel to the fire,” Brohimer says.

Today, 34% of consumers shop for groceries online, and another 30% are hybrid shoppers – online and instore.

By July 2021, 96% of consumer grocery shoppers still walk through the door. But 23% are online buyers of fresh bakery.

Further, the concept is grabbing a larger share of the burgeoning online delivery market.

“The store is not the threat,” said Bill Bishop, chief architect at Brick Meets Click. “The real threat…is capture of online grocery customers who favor delivery.”