During a recent workshop at the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association convention in Anaheim, California, speaker Jonna Parker, fresh foods team lead at Circana, points out that snacking is “wildly popular,” and not something the fresh foods industry talks enough about.

“We’ve got to get out of the shelf mentality and inspire people,” she said, adding that at-home celebrations (think book clubs or even swim parties) are at an all-time high.

Thus, the changing landscape of consumer demand is reaching a new fork in the road, as bakery marketers clamor to understand the best cases to drive higher consumption of fresh bakery products.

What’s In-Store 2023

During the IDDBA convention, Heather Prach, vice president of education, and Whitney Atkins, vice president of marketing, presented a multi-dimensional look at the Dairy, Deli and Bakery State of the Industry, with findings based on a shopper survey conducted in May 2023 of 1,550 consumers, with a sales overlay by Circana. 

A new set of factors are adding to the list of pandemic disruptors, Atkins explained, fueled by inflation, record high consumer debt levels, record low consumer savings rates, wage increases below the rate of inflation, and a 9-month low consumer confidence.

“All this leads to a continued home-centered world with room for premium purchases,” she points out.

As for guiding trends for 2023, the IDDBA speakers outlined five influential factors:

1. Whole Health, Whole Heart and Self

“Very few people only eat healthy 100% of the time. There are a wide range of callouts – make sure they are seen,” Atkins explains. “Labels matter, and shoppers have become label readers.”

Make sure to pay attention to portion sizing, or “right” sizing. 62% of shoppers want basic nutrition facts on the “front of packaging.” 

Plus, the hybrid meal has taken over America’s kitchens. It’s all a balancing act.

“Quick breakfast items in bakery have seen huge growth,” Atkins identifies. Portion sizes can create permissibility. And variety — the key to the Millennial heart.”

The evolution of health, now emphasizing both physical and emotional wellbeing. Health focus is not a constant. Its definition is evolving balancing physical health and happiness. 

2. Consumer-Defined Convenience

The ever-growing importance of meal planning, shopping, preparation and cleanup is driving sales growth.

Meal preparation priorities are the following:

  • Saving money 35%
  • Making something tasty 25%
  • Making something healthy 24%
  • Saving time 16%

Life has become all about continuums, from ultra healthy to ultra indulgent, the IDDBA speakers shared.

The pizza continuum, for instance, goes from bake-yourself, to build yourself, to ready-to-eat.

3. ESG: Environment, Social and Governance

Food waste is a universal issue. Leading factors include commitments to limit food waste; humane treatment of the animal; commitments to fair pay throughout the supply chain; commitments to limit package waste; giving back to the community; sustainable ingredient sourcing; commitments to reduce water/energy usage in production; and supporting special causes.

This trend is making inroads in all areas from grass-fed and organic to regenerative agriculture and pasture-raised in eggs, bakery and more, along with creative food waste prevention.

Bake at home translates to less packaging, less food waste, great for the planet, and great for you.

4. Worth the Value

Inflationary pressure is tremendous — emphasizing affordability. But it is not only about price nor does the market reflect a race to the bottom.

5. Technology and Innovation

The expanded role of technology is opening new doors.


Other product innovations are featuring limited-time offerings that drive demand.

The Dolly Llama, the waffle and artisanal ice cream destination rapidly expanding across the country, is partnering with Mondelēz International to create a special limited-time “Dolly’s OG Waffle featuring Chunky CHIPS AHOY! Cookie Pieces” in celebration of National Ice Cream Month in July. Guests can indulge in the LTO, consisting of a Belgian OG Liege Waffle topped with salted caramel ice cream, Chunky CHIPS AHOY! Cookie Pieces, hazelnut and cookie butter sauces, whipped cream and a whole Chunky CHIPS AHOY! Cookie. 

This offering was available at all Dolly Llama locations across the country. 

“We love surprising our guests with new, limited-time menu offerings, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Mondelēz International once again to create an irresistible dessert,” said Eric Shomof, The Dolly Llama co-founder. “With every limited-time offering, we strive to make something over-the-top and unique and are confident that this combination of Chunky CHIPS AHOY! and salted caramel ice cream on a warm OG Liege waffle will satisfy all those sweet tooths and lovers of the chocolate chip!” 

The Dolly Llama was designed to be a modern dessert shop where all guests can enjoy hand-crafted waffles and ice cream in a cool, hip and fun environment. The concept’s success can be, in part, attributed to its innovative and artisanal menu, but also the unique experience of visiting The Dolly Llama locations is what makes the shops a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike. Each of the locations share an unparalleled aesthetic flair and insta-worthy design featuring eye-catching signage, our iconic llama and "wanted" llama prints along the walls, which the franchised locations will also mirror. 

“We're so excited that The Dolly Llama wanted to celebrate National Ice Cream Month by offering their guests a unique dessert that features Chunky CHIPS AHOY! Cookie Pieces!" said Justine Chapin, marketing services manager, Mondelēz Foodservice.