Bakers and snack manufacturers are overwhelmingly optimistic about the outlook for the industry as a whole in 2012, according to an exclusive survey on capital spending by Baking & Snack magazine. Specifically, 93% of those surveyed described the general outlook for 2012 as “positive” for the industry.

However, baking and snack executives tempered that optimism when asked about their specific companies. Apparently, volatile commodity prices, unexpected regulatory costs and a host of other unpredictable factors had an impact of their companies’ bottom lines in 2011.

In fact, 70% of respondents indicated their companies remain “financially sound,” but they reported that their profits took a hit in 2011. Some 15% of respondents said their companies were “firmly in the black” and were “seeing no ill effects” in 2011. The remaining 15% noted that their businesses were “unstable” and that “profits are turbulent these days.”

Overall, the survey indicated many companies significantly increased their budgets in 2011 and are holding the line for 2012. Many businesses suggested they will be making more strategic investments on equipment to produce new products, add capacity or improve efficiencies to control costs. Fewer companies are expanding, building or upgrading facilities after having done so in 2011.

Check out the February 2012 issue, coming soon, for more exclusive information from Baking & Snack’s recently conducted survey of the industry.