Turnover in bakery delis is still running at record highs, and productivity has been at an all-time low, according to industry statistics shared by David Haaf, new president of the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association, speaking during the IDDBA’s annual convention in Anaheim, California. In addition, average payroll in bakery deli is up over 12%. “Our industry is staring at a $46 billion gap in consumer spending.”

But the good news, Haaf shared, is first-quarter reporting indicates some stability and stronger applicant pools due to inflation and recessionary pressures.

“For starters, we have to understand the dynamics of our workforce has dramatically changed post-pandemic,” Haaf said. “We have to rethink the key areas of staffing, which are recruitment, retention, and training. We also have to understand that it’s an ‘all about me’ workforce.”

This means that the focus needs to turn to the three Q’s: quality of life, quality of work, and quality of schedule.

Haaf gave his inaugural President’s Address during the IDDBA 2023, sharing three points of focus: “our people, our customers, and our partners.”

“We need to understand the evolution of these three critical areas of our industry,” Haaf emphasized. “Understanding how and why we should continue to invest resources in our strategies will be essential in the growth of our companies.”

“Recruitment now requires some great salesmanship to attract today’s workforce. Wages, though important, are not the sole deciding factor,” he says. “The tables have turned. We equally now have to sell our companies and the three Q’s to the potential employee vs. them selling us on their abilities.”

First, share employee stories. Candidates love to hear first-hand experiences before they apply. Who would speak better about your company than your employees? Creating landing pages for each job function makes it easier for candidates to browse through the jobs and stop only on the most relevant ones. And finally, mobile friendly design. No secret, phones are essential to our livelihood. Invest some time and effort in designing a site that accepts mobile applications.

Josh Bickford, president with Clyde’s Donuts, shared with Haaf that “reactive nature of staffing issues in the past few years really put pressure on our existing people and the time they invested in new hires felt wasted.”

Haaf urged that the industry needs to look at stronger commitments to computer-based training and on-demand videos with new employees.

Technology can also play a role in assisting in productivity, as well as bridging the gap while training a new workforce.

“Our manufacturers continue to develop great new innovations.”

In addition, freezer-to-oven product quality has come a long way over the past several years and has become more relevant in our bakery categories.

“Bakers used to be a dime a dozen and trained their own replacements upon retirement. Now turnover in bakeries is at an all-time high. Croissants being a perfect example. The most critical step in a great croissant is…proofing! Freezer-to-over now eliminates that step. In fact, eliminates several steps. You now place on pan, bake, and package. As retailers, you now have multiple options to pick from. Proof and bake, freezer to oven, or fully finished. All you have to do now is decide what product offering fits your current workforce and your customer’s needs.”

Elevating affordability and value remain a top priority for customers. However, customers have also come to expect and turn to higher quality products. This can be seen as a win for retailers, allowing them to introduce new and higher quality products.

“In my previous role as VP of Deli Bakery Operations, we understood that we were an impulse buy department,” Haaf shared, “meaning our product offerings were not must-have items on our customers’ shopping lists. Retailers need to be looking at ways to present value to our customers while at the same time feeding their permissible indulgences.

One example, noted by several top 100 retailers is ½ cake and ½ pies. Programs such as these give customers the quality they want at a retail better suited to their budget. E-commerce continues to hold strong. You need to ensure it is an essential part of your company’s staff education and resourcing strategy. Convenience has always been popular with American shoppers. Cost of conveniences, however, has become a key factor in the e-commerce sector.

According to a recent Marketo study, “for the first time in a year, cost rose to number-one importance over convenience.”

Customers are starting to place thresholds on how much they are prepared to pay for that convenience. This is not to say that the American customer is not fully vested in -home delivery, but rather, becoming more frugal in their decision making.

In fact, home delivery services such as Instacart, Grub Hub, and Doordash all reported strong growth in year-over-year earnings. All of these services charge customers premium upcharges to do their shopping and meal preparation. Yet customers are still prepared to pay for it.

Millennials are utilizing at-home delivery at nearly twice the rate of baby boomers. Redirecting your marketing strategies has to be a top priority, Haaf says.

“Click and Collect sales were in excess of $95 billion last year and are expected to reach $113 billion in 2023. Curbside service flourished throughout the pandemic and now our customers have become accustomed and enjoy the service. Focusing research and resources is a must. Our IDDBA community can assist you with these trends and supporting information.”

Product innovation

On the IDDBA show floor, attendees enjoyed the opportunity to see new products and learn more about key strategies to address the current economic climate.

La Brea Bakery is committed to turning the instore bakery and fresh deli into a destination. La Brea Bakery showcased merchandising and bread solutions that support operators as they continue to experience labor shortages, higher operating costs, and smaller footprints.

Brie Buenning, director of marketing for La Brea Bakery, emphasized the point that with the instore bakery facing labor constraints and other factors, “how do you bring back experiences?”

Inflation has caused shoppers to rethink how they are spending their money, and they want to feel good about it.

“The opportunity for bakery is how to leverage what you have in your operation and how to tell that story. It is a re-education of how we are going to differentiate,” Buenning says. “Take and bake is consistently growing, and we were already leaning into take and bake prior to the pandemic.”

Snack and sweet lovers enjoyed taking the first bite of a new, decadent, fudgy brownie, unveiled by Otis Spunkmeyer. Melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chips, baked into dense brownies, ignite a craveable experience that will leave consumers wanting more.

The three-ounce brownie joins the Otis Spunkmeyer Double Fudge Chocolate Chip Brownie 1/4 Sheet in the long line of minimal labor, decadent snacks and sweets that are available from the company. The new brownies are individually wrapped, providing “grab and go” treats and underlining safety reassurances for customers, along with a zero-labor solution for In-Store Bakery, foodservice, C-Store, and vending operators.

“This is the sweet treat consumers will reach for time and time again,” said Paul Stippich, director of marketing, Otis Spunkmeyer. “Brownies are considered one of the top three desserts in America. The talented research and development team at Otis Spunkmeyer developed this fudgy brownie with the perfect texture, flavor, and just the right amount of chocolate.”

In addition to launching the new individually wrapped brownie, Otis Spunkmeyer recently expanded its line-up of individually wrapped cookies with the addition of two new 4-ounce flavors: Double Chocolate Caramel and Apple Cinnamon Oat.

“The two new cookie flavors join bestselling flavors Chocolate Chunk and Oatmeal Raisin, and continue the Otis Spunkmeyer tradition of baking without artificial flavoring. The Apple Cinnamon Oat cookie has the ability to cross over dayparts as a great morning or afternoon snack for those that desire more natural nutrition, and the Double Chocolate Caramel cookie gives consumers more of their No. 1 preferred flavor, chocolate,” explained Stippich.

Value added

Banana bread and loaf and pound cakes are now offered as sliced products by Bake’n Joy, which showcased new value-added products at IDDBA.

The fact that the new breads and cakes come sliced, combined with their being thaw-and-sell products, makes them a perfect fit for retailers facing labor shortages, said Jayne Kearney, Bake’n Joy’s marketing director.

The product ships ten to a pack and retails for about $6.99-7.99, Kearney said. And for retailers looking for an even lower price point, it can be repacked instore and sold, for instance, in a 4-pack for $4.99, Kearney said.

The line includes Banana Bread, Apple Crisp Loaf, Blueberry Loaf, Butter Pound Cake, Lemon Pound Cake, Marble Pound Cake and (seasonally) Pumpkin Loaf.

For retailers looking to expand and grow into wholesale channels, getting a handle on food costs is paramount. Bakeries can take advantage of Westco Fruit-O Concentrates from BakeMark to broaden your product line and give you the opportunity to dazzle your customers with a display case full of unbelievable variety and endless deliciousness.

According to BakeMark, use Fruit-O Concentrate to give your display case endless variety and daily specials. By adding just 1 to 3 ounces of Fruit-O to your regular batter, dough, or icing, you can create endless combinations of colors and flavors.

Fruit-Os are very highly concentrated to maximize flavors and reduce food costs. Just buy one bag of cake donut mix. Donut mix is a prime candidate for the addition of Fruit-O Concentrate. But you can use Fruit-O Concentrate for all types of batter, doughs, and icings. Bakeries can customize your product to your every whim.


Thanks to a partnership between Junior’s Restaurant & Bakery and Mondelēz International, milk’s favorite cookie will be dunking itself into the world’s most fabulous Junior’s cheesecake to create a co-branded retail OREO cheesecake. The delectable partnership was announced at the IDDBA’s annual conference by Mondelēz International and Alan Rosen, the third-generation Rosen family owner of Junior’s.

“Talk about ‘double stuf,” Rosen exclaimed, referring to OREO, the iconic brand. “We’re so honored that Mondelēz chose Junior’s for a co-branded retail OREO cheesecake. It’s a marriage made in food lover’s heaven!”

Melissa Renny, senior licensing director at Mondelēz International, stated, “We are so excited to partner the iconic brand OREO with Junior’s Cheesecake, such a well-known and well-loved brand from NYC!”

 The new cheesecake will be offered for both food service and retail, blends OREO cookies into Junior’s Original New York Style Cheesecake recipe – all baked atop a crispy OREO crust topped with an OREO wafer.

The Junior’s OREO Cheesecake will debut in the fall at all Junior’s Restaurant & Bakery locations – the landmark site in Brooklyn at the corner of Harry Rosen Way and Cheesecake Corner (named for Rosen’s grandfather); 45th and Broadway and 49th and 7th in Manhattan, the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, and at LaGuardia Airport in Queens, as well as at all retail markets where Junior’s is sold, including Shoprite, Costco, Whole Foods, Walmart, Stop & Shop, Publix, and others, and through mail order at juniorscheesecake.com.

Donut glaze

Also at IDDBA, Dawn Foods presented its patent-pending Dawn Exceptional® Pak Perfect™ Non-Sticky Donut Glaze. This breakthrough innovation, designed for small and industrial scale donut production lines, allows manufacturers, commissaries, and in-store bakeries to sell glazed yeast raised donuts packaged in a clamshell.

Dawn Exceptional® Pak Perfect™ Non-Sticky Donut Glaze features a revolutionary non-sticky texture that leaves no residue and has a 5-Day packaged shelf-life.

Dawn’s patent-pending Pak Perfect Non-Sticky Donut Glaze is a breakthrough innovation that empowers manufacturers, commissaries, and supermarkets to sell packaged glazed yeast-raised donuts without worrying about sticky residue.

In addition, Dawn Foods showcased a dazzling array of on-trend options for shoppers at the IDDBA show. Examples include Daisy Donuts made with Dawn Exceptional® Rich Taste Lemon Filling, Banana Split Cupcakes, and much more.

Paper packaging

Earlier this year, IDDBA exhibitor Novacart USA announced that Tom Noce has been appointed the new general manager. Noce succeeds Joe Miglia who retired April 30 after nearly 30 years of service.

Novacart manufactures innovative bakeable paper packaging for the bakery, grocery, and foodservice industries. Both U.S. locations offer warehousing and distribution capabilities and provide customers across the United States with a full line of quality products and excellent customer service.

Noce joins Novacart with extensive experience in manufacturing and the plastics forming industry. His background also includes work with food packaging for several private and public companies.

Noce now oversees all US operations and works closely with the corporate team to continue to build Novacart’s success in the baking and food packaging industry.

“Tom possesses a unique skill set that aligns well with the needs of our organization,” said Pietro Anghileri, owner of Novacart. “We see a very bright future for the US market with his leadership.”

“Thank you to Joe for his many years of service. He was the driving force behind the development and success of Novacart USA. We wish him all the best in his retirement,” Anghileri added.