Life is short. Maybe that’s why desserts come first in the in-store bakery channel. In fact, cakes, pies and other indulgent treats — many of which are supplied by wholesale bakers — racked up $6.1 billion in sales in 2012, or 47.9% of dollars spent in in-store bakeries, according to Chicago-based Mintel Group’s report released in March 2013.

Certainly, creativity abounds in this category, and much of that creativity is coming from other product segments. For instance, Denver-based Legendary Baking, which won 65 ribbons at this year’s American Pie Championships, borrowed a few pages out of the beverage industry’s game plan by combining various types of fruit such as mangos and key limes in a single dessert, noted Mark Van Iwaarden, marketing director.

Sweet and salty has become increasingly popular. Last year, Legendary Baking’s Salty Hog featured layers of moist chocolate cake, French silk filling, whipped cream, salted caramel and roasted almonds, all topped with candied bacon. When looking for new product ideas, it’s always good to look outside the box.