Shake it up in 2015

by Dan Malovany
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Product diversity — not necessarily new products — is one of the trends for 2015, according to bakers and snack producers who participated in Baking & Snack’s annual capital spending report, to be published in February. That’s partly because retailers and food service operators want bakers and snack manufacturers to shake it up with limited-time offers that create excitement among shoppers.

“When it comes to consumer-driven trends, increasing diversity is the name of the game among retailers and consumers,” said David Hays, owner, Bodacious Foods.

Specifically, offering products with new ingredient combinations prompts interest as retail and food service customers respond to a more diversified consumer base. Consumers, especially younger ones, tend to get bored with the same-old items offered by many food companies.

“Millennials want broader choices to mix things up,” said Gerard Law, senior vice-president and assistant to the president for J&J Snack Foods. “If you try to respond quickly, you end up with more s.k.u.s (stock-keeping units).”

On the other hand, Michael Girkout, president and chief executive officer of Alvarado Street Bakery, suggested that consumers are looking for sprouted-grain bread and baked goods made with what he preferred to call “alternative grains.” Many talked about non-bioengineered foods as gaining in popularity, but the movement is still at the niche level.

“G.M.O.-free products have started to draw some attention among certain consumers, but current logistics makes it very difficult to achieve certification with flour-based products,” said Scott Kolinski, president and c.e.o., Lantmännen-Unibake USA.
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