Get ready for an explosion of shopper demand for cookies, donuts and smaller sweet treats that are perfect for snacking and family gatherings.

“The economy has been influencing our customers, and they have been impacted. But now it is starting to come back,” says Melchor Landin, head baker and owner Mexico Bakery, which three locations in California. “This summer there will be big parties and more weddings. I hope everything comes back to normal. It’s good for everybody.”

It is worth noting on a grand scale that 37 percent of shoppers typically purchase indulgent bakery items at a specialty store, like panaderías. Being a top-of-mind bakery destination is important to capture the category’s many trips among primary and secondary shoppers, according to the Power of Bakery Report from the American Bakers Association and Food Marketing Institute.

“Indulgence is a clear sales driver in fresh bakery, claiming 76 percent of the total department sales, and the analysis highlights the importance of segmenting audiences to better align innovation, merchandising and marketing,” said Rick Stein, FMI vice president, fresh foods. “For instance, given that Millennials are nearly twice as likely to exclusively shop the in-store bakery as Boomers, at 30 percent versus 17 percent, carrying and highlighting desirable product attributes and claims may help drive sales and loyalty depending upon your store’s demographic.”

Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI. “Both grocers and consumers have demonstrated tremendous resilience over the last year, and shoppers are excited about a cautious return to normalcy.”

Big boost in snacking

Snacking is definitely back with shoppers. From nutrient-rich bakery bars to pizza crust made from healthful ingredients, better-for-you snacks that boast health benefits are trending upward – and rising fast.

"Snack makers are tapping the best of both worlds to appeal to snackers who also want benefits for justification and to assuage guilt. Snacking grew enormously during the pandemic lockdown with a twist, and snacks had to deliver more than just taste," said Kantha Shelke, PhD, CFS, IFT Fellow, principal, Corvus Blue LLC, a food science and nutrition research firm.

In foodservice, new Culinary Visions® consumer research with over 2,000 consumers nationwide suggests restaurants that explored new business models to keep their patrons nourished and connected during the pandemic are reaping benefits in the new post pandemic culture. The study was inspired by restaurants that found inventive ways to feed their communities and stay connected with their customers while keeping their businesses alive. 

The restrictions of the past two years have done little to dampen consumers’ desires to explore new foods and cuisines. 76% of consumers surveyed considered themselves adventurous eaters. This sense of adventures appeals both at home and in restaurants. 84% said they enjoy being creative with ingredients.