The retail bakery industry has experienced many ups and downs over the decades, but perhaps no situation is more vexing than the one today. A few years back, the industry rode the wave of dramatic new product innovation matched with radically changing consumer lifestyles, setting the stage for a renaissance for uniquely flavored products that were baked fresh daily.

And then came COVID-19 – driving a lot of innovation to a screeching halt.

The recovery process emerging today is gaining clarity, yet bakeries large and small face the same troubling situation: lack of qualified labor. Thousands of talented workers left the retail bakery business during COVID, in many cases through no fault of their own, but now bakery owners say they are not returning.

“The bigger issue today is the labor challenge. There is nothing more critical right now,” comments Josh Allen, founder of Companion in St Louis. “This is the first time in 28 years that we can sell more bread than we can bake.”

This issue was on the forefront of bakery owners' minds in 2021, but there were many other topics our readers found noteworthy. The following is our list of the top stories of 2021.

Bakeries address the labor challenge

Some are finding solutions to these pressing issues through a promising myriad strategies and tactics.

The Asian American experience, as told by retail bakery owners


Bakery owners from the AAPI community share their views on these turbulent times and the impact their people have on American culture.

Packaging and innovation emerge as key needs in fresh bakery

The COVID-19 crisis has rapidly accelerated consumer demand for fresh packaged bakery.

Where pizza goes next


Our love affair with crust is reaching new heights, as new trends have blossomed in recent years.

Sosland Publishing's 100 years of providing content for the industry

Our story is your story. During tough times and those filled with prosperity, the retail baking industry has advanced through the determination of family businesses dedicated to knowledge of their craft and solid work ethic. 

Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin is turning pie into art


The founder of Pies Are Awesome is changing the industry with her pietraits.

Tiffany’s Bakery goes full steam ahead

This year the Philadelphia bakery unveiled the Doyo, a cake donut that is steamed.

Recent innovations in ovens

Few segments of the baking industry have witnessed such important advances as the oven sector.

Magnolia Bakery shares how to make famous ‘Sex and the City’ inspired cupcake


In 2007, Magnolia Bakery created a cupcake in honor of the character Carrie Bradshaw using the same flavors that she ate on the show. This year the bakery shared the recipe for this special cupcake.

Buddy Valastro launches virtual cake slice brand

Buddy V's Cake Slice makes the Cake Boss's most popular cake flavors available to fans and cake-lovers across the country.