According to a nationwide survey conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by General Mills Foodservice, two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) report eating more bread than they normally would when dining out or ordering takeout in the past year and three in five Americans (60 percent) say they would rather indulge in a good bread item than dessert when dining out.

Results from the poll of more than 2,000 adults ages 18 and over show that consumers who are eating more bread when dining out or ordering takeout during the past year are doing so because it is offered as a complimentary “starter” (52 percent), it’s comforting (45%), to fulfill a craving (36 percent), to indulge (29 percent) or reward themselves (25 percent).

Favorite bread items when dining out or ordering takeout include: garlic bread (61 percent), rolls (47 percent), French bread (35 percent), biscuits (34 percent) and croissants (31 percent). 

Other findings from General Mills Foodservice’s report:

  • Nearly three-quarters of Americans say that when dining out, their meal includes some type of bread item as a starter or part of the main course and say that bread is something they look forward to when they are dining out or ordering take-out (both 73 percent).
  • 87 percent of Americans say they enjoy being offered a free starter of fresh bread items (e.g., a bread basket, garlic bread) when dining out.
  • 63 percent of Americans are more likely to order a sandwich if it's made with a unique bread/sandwich carrier (e.g., biscuit, waffle, croissant) than if it's made from regular bread.

“Bread and the associated carbs used to get a bad rap, but we are really seeing consumers come back to bread,” says Chef Curt Wagner, part of the Chefs of the Mills team with more than 30 years of baking experience. “From home bakers attempting to make sourdough and banana bread to diners seeking out the bread items they love but don’t have the time or skills to make on their own, it appears we are all craving and eating more bread. I expect to see a resurgence of indulgent and creative bread menu items in the year ahead.”

“Bread is more than an everyday staple, it’s one of the greatest comfort foods that diners really look forward to and enjoy when eating out or ordering takeout, which gives restaurants and foodservice operations an opportunity to shine,” he continues. “There are so many ways operators can move beyond basic bread to elevate their menus and use bread in new and interesting ways.”