Bakers remain optimistic about the future, and it’s reflected in how they are investing in their operations, according Baking & Snack’s Baking Industry Confidence Survey. In fact, 86% of bakers reported making major capital investments in the past two to three years, and 79% still plan for new ones in 2017. Moreover, 55% indicated plans to increase investments over 2016. Nearly half of their investments (47.9%) will be used for equipment, according to the survey, conducted by Cypress Research Associates in December and January after the election of President Trump.
Considering the nature of the industry, most of the concentration for investments is naturally being seen in new equipment and upgrades, as well some expansion, rather than in new construction, noted Joanie Spencer, editor of Baking & Snack in her February report. At the end of the day, Ms. Spencer pointed out it’s practically impossible to gauge investment trends without a having a grasp on the health of the industry. The industry outlook creates a context to understanding the motivations behind capital spending and equipment purchasing. For bakers and their suppliers, the outlook is bright. Between the mediocre state of general manufacturing and high consumer confidence, the wholesale baking industry remains positive about the future.
“Bakers are telling us that the economy is growing,” explained Marjorie Hellmer, Cypress’ president. “For so many years, we’ve been hedging our bets, saying, ‘We’re not sure, yet,’ or ‘The industry is unsure.’ Finally we get to blow the horn and say bakers are actually optimistic about the future.”