Sweet — not savory — is driving bakery growth

by Dan Malovany
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Cupcakes, sweet baked goods
 Over the past five years, the top-growing baked goods category — sweet baked snacks — found cupcakes rising at  7.2% compound annual growth rate.


Life is certainly sweet these days. Yes, sweet, not so much savory, drives bakery’s growth today. Over the past five years, the top-growing baked goods category — sweet baked snacks — found muffins rising at 5.7% compound annual growth rate, pies at 5.6%, cupcakes at 7.2%, cakes at 6.2%, donuts at 4.8%, pastry/Danish/coffeecake at 4.5% and frozen cookie dough at 29.7%, according to Information Resources Inc. (I.R.I.) data presented at the American Society of Baking’s BakingTech 2016 conference.

In year-ago comparisons, some of the numbers are even greater, with frozen cookie dough, muffins and pies soaring at double-digit rates, and cupcakes, cakes, donuts and pastry/Danish/coffee cakes climbing 5% or more. The data shouldn’t be surprising.

For years, consumers definitely have had a split personality when it comes to food choices. It’s not a simplistic good-bad thing. It’s more of a Pavlovian mindset where a simple reward — or indulgence — can actually reinforce a broader, longer-term commitment to an overall healthy lifestyle.

Earlier this year, Oprah Winfrey brought this concept to life by declaring, “I love bread!” and clarified that everyone can eat bread — yes, every day. As demonstrated during BakingTech, BEMA’s Winter Summit and the American Bakers Association annual convention, the baking industry is working hard to keep her message front-and-center in consumers’ minds through social media … and any other means possible. Already, the Grain Foods Foundation and BEMA have committed $125,000 to a dedicated content series that will use Oprah’s declaration as a rallying cry for the grain-based foods industry (Check out the just-released “I Love Bread” video by Parry Gripp on YouTube. A link can also be found on www.BEMA.org).

Now, imagine the headlines if Oprah would say, “I love pie” or “I love cake.” That would be even better. But then again, if you look at the I.R.I. data, it’s pretty obvious that America already does. 

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