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

There’s one more donut-filled reason to travel to Butler County, Ohio. This year, IKEA West Chester partnered on a National Donut Day promotion in June with the Donut Trail with a limited-edition IKEA-inspired meatball donut.

Featuring a light and fluffy base, lingonberry glaze, lingonberry sauce, and topped with a delectable IKEA meatball or plant-based ball, visitors will be able to experience IKEA in a whole new way. Meatball donuts will be offered complimentary to hungry customers on June 3-4 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., while supplies last.

“It’s something you need to try,” said Kitalena Mason, loyalty manager for IKEA West Chester. “This is a new take on iconic IKEA flavors, and we’re excited to join the legendary Donut Trail in celebrating National Donut Day this year.”

Highlighting local artisan donut shops, the Butler County Donut Trail encompasses 13 mom-and-pop donut shops. Visitors can experience the Butler County Donut Trail by collecting stamps on an official passport. Once fully complete, each passport can be redeemed for a complimentary official Donut Trail T-shirt. 

Comeback trail

“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 Sarasin, president and chief executive officer of the Food Marketing Institute, says grocers and consumers have demonstrated tremendous resilience over the last year, “and shoppers are excited about a cautious return to normalcy.”

Growth strategies

Fast-growing donut chain Duck Donuts is keeping its 2022 growth momentum strong with the signing of 13 franchise agreements for 19 shops during the second quarter. The newest Duck Donuts franchise partners have signed on in Whippany, New Jersey; North Tampa, Florida; Lynn, Massachusetts; Knightdale, North Carolina; Geneva, Illinois; Newtown, Pennsylvania; Wyomissing, Pennsylvania; Mission, Texas; and multi-unit agreements in Raleigh, North Carolina (two); Johnson City and Bristol, Tennessee (two); Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona (three); Wellington and North Palm Beach, Florida (two); Jacksonville, Florida (two).

“We’re very excited to welcome our newest franchise partners to the Duck Donuts family and look forward to strengthening our footprint across the United States,” says Eric Lavinder, Duck Donuts chief development officer. “We are confident that through their enthusiasm, passion for the brand and experience, this group of franchise partners has the ability to launch and manage a very successful business, as they work to introduce the warm, delicious and made-to-order Duck Donuts experience in their markets.”

In the second quarter of 2022, Duck Donuts also opened four shops and eight are slated to open through September. Since April, Duck Donuts opened in Libertyville, its first Illinois location; Twin Falls, Idaho; Carolina, Puerto Rico; and Burlington, Ontario.

The company currently operates two international and 111 US franchise locations across 22 states and Puerto Rico. 

Convenient bites

Convenience is a big deal, as evidenced by packaging options and smaller donut options. Glazed cruller bites are among the top sellers at Grebe’s Bakery. Established in 1937 in Milwaukee, Grebe’s famous donuts and baked goods are sold at local Speedway, Sentry, Sendik’s, Woodman’s or Piggly Wiggly, in addition to many other locations throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

A year ago, Dickinson, ND-based bakery manufacturer Baker Boy launched a new line of individually wrapped donuts under The Donut Hole® brand. A true product of the pandemic, when food safety is more important than ever, these donuts are perfect for foodservice and retail alike. The Donut Hole® Individually Wrapped Donuts offer operators a solution to this potentially lasting trend with a new line of packaged and fully finished retail-ready donuts. The branded packaging also includes retail-ready essentials such as Nutrition Facts, ingredient information and a scannable UPCs for each donut. In addition, Baker Boy offers other convenience items such as ready to finish cake donut holes and fully finished cinnamon sugar cake donut holes.

Mochi donuts

One of the most visually striking snacks is mochi donuts. This hybrid between American doughnuts and Japanese mochi is shaped into eight small balls connected into a circle that is easy to pull apart and resembles a bracelet. Aside from this unique shape, mochi donuts can be decorated with countless combinations of colorful glazes and toppings, making them particularly popular on Tik Tok and Instagram.

“Mochi donuts are trending online because they are incredibly fun to look at. Before even biting into it, consumers can't help but snap and post a picture of their mochi donut. There is something so delightful about them,” says Tammy Liu, vice president of Texture Maker.

To meet the increasing consumer demand for vegan products, Texture Maker has launched a vegan version of its mochi donut mix. The company wanted to create a vegan product that did not compromise on taste or mouthfeel to meet high-quality standards.

A mochi donut is lightly crispy on the outside and fluffy and chewy on the inside. The goal behind this launch was to satisfy the demand for plant-based treats while maintaining the iconic bouncy texture of mochi donuts. To do so, Texture Maker’s food scientists used the stretching properties of soy protein combined with the high water absorption and structural support capabilities of natural rice flour.

With the Vegan Mochi Donut Mix, Texture Maker also aims to provide greater value to customers. It allows bakers to make delicious vegan donuts by simply adding vegetable oil and water to the mix. This simplifies the preparation process for more efficiency and helps customers to save on raw material costs.

“For us, this is the continuation of a journey on the better-for-you segment. We are currently experimenting with new innovative ingredients and developing new plant-based and gluten-free options,” says Liu.

Demand growing globally

For the first time, the Underground Donut Tour is expanding beyond the United States into its first location overseas in London, England. The London Tour joins several US locations, including Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City, Portland, Seattle, Boston, Nashville and New Orleans.

“When we started to do our research to see which cities might make a good fit abroad, London stood out as both an amazing donut destination, but also a hub for international tourism,” says Jeff Woelker, founder of the Underground Donut Tour. “Much like our tours in the states, guests will experience a bit of history, a bit of culture, and a lot of donuts as part of the tour. We’re so excited to launch our first international outpost in London!”

Starting July 1, guests will walk between four of the best donut shops in London, learning the history of each location, along with many local sights, sounds and tastes of the area. The tour primarily takes place near Borough Market showcasing Bread Ahead Bakery and Doughnut Time with two other locations that guests will discover as part of the tour itself.

“These donut shops are absolutely amazing! And the route we’ve picked out showcases some of the most iconic areas of central London,” says Oscar Russell, tour manager for the Underground Donut Tour London. “It’s the perfect way to start or end a trip in London. I can’t wait to get started!”

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.

First, think about all-day promotions. Donuts may use many different breakfast foods as toppings, including cereal, bacon, and fruit, but donuts are no longer a breakfast-only item. According to a survey from Dawn Foods, 87% of people eat them in the morning, 38% in the afternoon, 33% in the evening and 23% late at night.

As for flavor trends, according to Vincent Barcelona, director of sales-national accounts and culinary at Stratas Foods, these are some of the current flavor trends for donuts:

  • Tiramisu Filled Donuts
  • Crème Brulee Glazed Donuts
  • Chocolate Babka Donuts
  • Yeasted Blueberry Donut with Candied Ginger Crumbs
  • Meltaway Toffee Crumb Donut
  • Fruit Punch Glazed and Earl Gray Tea Crumbs
  • Chocolate Mousse Challah Donut

Post pandemic culture

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. 

Technical support

Using Westco Donut Mixes from BakeMark will inspire you to create original summer holiday treats for breakfast or snacks.  BakeMark offers a wide variety of donut mixes, so you can easily add variety and value to your display case.  Add your own creativity to decorating and display, and you have short-term and long-term winners. 

Unique donut flavors have been popular for quite a few years now. Just looking up “donut flavors” on Google Images gives you a colorful assortment of flavored donuts. No longer stuck with just Vanilla and Chocolate, flavors like Blueberry, Red Velvet, and Lemonade are now common, popular options.

BakeMark ensures the ingredients in its bakery mixes and products are top-notch, so you don’t have to worry about quality. There also are a wide range of flavors and decorating ingredients, meaning you can give your customers the variety they crave.

Every great donut starts with a great mix. The Westco Superfine Cake Donut Mix and the Westco Richblend Cake Donut Mix deliver a high-quality, balanced flavor profile serving as a solid base for several delicious and unique donut flavors.

Combine the Westco Richblend Cake Donut Mix with the Westco Cream Bokay Emulsion and you get the base for the Birthday Cake Donut, a treat worthy of any birthday party. And what’ll make your Birthday Cake donuts even better? Sprinkles, of course! We have sprinkles of every color and shape, along with rainbow and seasonal mixes. The Sprinkelina Carnival Sprinkles are a beautiful and colorful rainbow mix that adds a summery pop of color to your donuts and gives them that extra special something.

Emulsions are what will turn your plain vanilla donuts into bold flavored donuts. BakeMark’s emulsions contain non-soluble components that you can’t find in extracts. The flavors can withstand the baking process, giving you a rich taste that lasts.

Your customers will savor in the actual fruit flavors beyond what you get in a concentrate or emulsion. BakeMark’s line of Fruit-O® contain a balanced level of fruit particulate, flavor, and color that will elevate the flavors in your donuts. What is most important is, our line of Fruit-O’s® are highly concentrated to maximize flavor.