Among grain-based foods trends emerging in recent years, none is of greater concern than weakness in demand for sliced bread. While it has been many, many years since growth was the norm for this product category, the declines more recently appear to be gaining momentum.

Finding a bright spot, any bright spot in this picture is encouraging, but one recent finding from the NPD group is quite positive. Studying the nation’s fastest growing demographic group, NPD has found 12% of Hispanics consume bread (untoasted) at breakfast, a rate six times greater than the 2% for non-Hispanics. By contrast, fewer Hispanics consume hot cereal than non Hispanics and eggs are consumed more often by Hispanics.

“This shift could bode well for bread makers and bakery departments, and they should make efforts to connect with Hispanics sooner rather than later,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst at NPD. “On the flip side, hot cereal marketers will need to appeal to this group in ways that differ from traditional efforts. For example, the warmth and convenience of hot cereal could be important aspects to highlight, as Hispanics are already consuming warm breakfasts at above average rates.”

Hispanics currently account for 16% of the U.S. population, and the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that the population will grow to comprise 34% of the U.S. population by 2020. Whether the growth in the Hispanic population will be able to offset the long-term decline of toasted bread at breakfast certainly is questionable, but baking should be encouraged by the predilection for bread shown by such a powerfully important demographic group.