The strength of the industry can be seen Baking & Snack’s just-completed annual capital spending survey that asks executives to describe their company’s financial position. In the survey, completed in December, 41% noted their businesses are “firmly in the black,” compared with 20% of respondents in 2012 and only 15% in 2011. Likewise, only 57% said their companies indicated “Our profits have taken a hit, but we’re on solid ground,” compared with a whopping 70% in both 2012 and 2011. Moreover, just 2% reported their financial condition as “Unstable: Our profits are turbulent these days,” down from 10% in the 2012 survey and 15% in 2011.

The numbers tell a compelling story, according to Marjorie Troxel Hellmer, president of Cypress Research Associates, who conducted our survey.

“Our industry executives in the data are telling us they’ve moved through the financial instability that resulted initially from the recession,” she said. “More companies are ‘firmly in the black’ than in the previous two years. They’re feeling no ill effects from the economy, and far, far fewer reported financial instability than in the previous two years.”

Stay tuned for more on-line previews to our exclusive annual survey, which will be published in February.