National Donut Day is right around the corner—so now is the perfect time to prepare for driving sales during this sweet holiday. In this article, Dawn Foods looks at their four consumer trends to share insight on how bakeries can capitalize on consumer behaviors—to make this National Donut Day your best ever.             

Daily Delights

Recent years of economic, geopolitical and health concerns have caused consumers to place a greater emphasis on mental wellness—and this has changed consumer perceptions of sweet treats. 

“The idea of treating yourself to something sweet has gone from something consumers feel guilty about to something that makes them feel good. It’s become an essential part of a balanced lifestyle,” says Cathy Wisloski, manager of Insights and Customer Experience at Dawn.

Despite being budget conscious, consumers are still willing to indulge in premium food experiences. Sixty-nine percent of consumers report eating an indulgent treat every week.1 

What’s more, consumers rank “great taste” as the most important factor when deciding the value of a food item.1

Appeal to this desire for great taste and indulgence on National Donut Day, and every day, with elevated options that can be described as “decadent”, “rich” and “indulgent—the terms that resonate most with dessert consumers1

A tray of donuts with a sign

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To help you create your next indulgent delight, Dawn Foods offers a wide variety of recipes and inspirations, including these Gourmet Donuts perfect for National Donut Day. 

Experience Exploration

Everything old is new again for consumers. They’re frequently turning to the familiarity of comfort foods, but seeking out traditional foods with a twist. They’re interested in exploring fresh, disruptive ingredients and enhancing nostalgic memories with new flavor experiences.

“This desire for both new, unique foods and familiar comforts has become so popular that it’s led to the coining of a new word: ‘newstalgia’,” says Wisloski. “Consumers are excited to see what the next innovative take on their favorite childhood treat will be.”

A donut with a frosting and chocolate frosting

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With “newstalgia” appealing to generations from Millennials to Boomers, this gives your bakery an unprecedented 40-year timeframe from which to mine nostalgic favorites. When considering how to integrate these flavor trends into a specialty donut item for National Donut Day, look to trending items and flavors from the 1960s to the early 2000s for inspiration.

Once you’ve identified your inspiration, give it a new twist to generate excitement.

Experiment with a global flavor spin on a traditional item. Or tap into snacking culture to create an unexpected take on a well-known donut favorite—such as adding potato chips or pretzels to chocolate toppings, or mixing sweet and spicy flavors for something “swicy”.

Need more inspiration? Try these PB&J Donut Sandwiches or Pink Lemonade Old Fashioned Donuts from Dawn.

A group of donuts with yellow frosting and lemon slice

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Mindfulness Matters

People are becoming more and more conscious of what they put into their bodies as well as the businesses they’re supporting with their food purchases. Today’s consumers are aware of how their choices affect their personal health, their community and their planet.

Wisloski notes, “They are looking for authenticity and want to make a positive impact. Today’s conscious consumer wants to buy local, eat seasonally and choose sustainably sourced products. They’ll also consider retailer and brand values when spending their dollars.”

National Donut Day is an ideal time to feature a limited time, seasonal flavor. Consider what’s in season depending on where your bakery is located. Fresh fruit flavors will be in high demand as consumers embrace the beginning of summer. Look for lemon, strawberry and even blueberries to be available from local suppliers.

A plate of donuts on a wood table

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Create point of sale materials to highlight featured ingredients and communicate how the product is made, if it’s made on site, daily, by hand or in partnership with a local supplier.

Find more inspiration and recipes to highlight seasonal flavors, including these Lemon Poppy Seed Old Fashioned Donuts, at

Technology Transformation

Technology has forever changed the consumer eating experience, transforming how we choose, receive and consume our favorite foods both in and out of home. Technology has moved from “nice to have” to “need to have” for bakeries looking to stay in step with evolving consumer behavior and expectations.

An option consumers came to rely on during COVID, delivery continues to be a strong sales driver for restaurants and grocery stores. Now, it’s gaining traction with bakeries.

Online delivery is a great way to draw more business from Gen Z and Millennials, who actively embrace digital technology. What’s more, bakery goods like donuts travel very well through delivery channels. Tapping into this strong consumer preference by partnering with a third-party delivery company—like DoorDash, Uber Eats or GrubHub—could be a welcome profit opportunity for your bakery.

It can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to get set up on a third-party delivery platform, so now is the ideal time to research your best option and be ready to take advantage of orders on National Donut Day and beyond.

Once you’ve determined which platform is the best choice for your business, you’ll want to make sure you effectively make your customers aware of this new service option. Promote it with signage in-store, on your website and on your social media channels. 

Dawn Foods is available to help to make National Donut Day a success for your bakery. To learn more about changing consumer preferences and behaviors—or for help creating a program customized around your business, contact Dawn Foods or your Dawn Foods sales representative today.


(1) Datassential 2024 Food Trends