It’s hard to put a price on the buzz a picturesque product creates for a restaurant. Whether it’s a vibrant slice of cake or a entirely original concept, consumers are eager to post pictures of their meals on social media platforms. To keep their customers’ bottom lines profitable, food service suppliers must be cognizant of the trends that are generating likes and positive conversations.

According to Mintel’s “2018 Foodservice Trends” report, America’s younger generations use social networks to connect and explore new food options. The research firm noted that two in five Generation Z and one in four millennial consumers agree social media exposes them to types of food they previously never heard of. To capitalize on this opportunity, bakeries should team up with food service operators to create products that intrigue.

related readingTapping into food holidays is an easy place to start. Mintel noted that from 2015 to 2017, social media posts for National Doughnut Day increased 104%. Dawn Foods, Jackson, Mich., collaborates with its bakery customers by providing a variety of donuts that can be customized to align with current trends. The company’s ready-to-finish line includes more than 30 varieties that can be topped off with a range of ingredients. These donuts offer food service operators the flexibility to experiment with unique toppings that create a statement and an opportunity for a photo-op.

“As a dedicated partner to our customers, we are constantly working to provide the tools and products they need to grow their bakeries,” said Jennifer LaPaugh, senior director, global market research and insights at Dawn. “Donuts are highly versatile and infinitely customizable. The product offer bakeries an ability to take their menus even further.”

The role social media plays in consumers’ purchases will continue to develop as younger generations mature. While taste remains paramount to a product’s success, presentation will play a large factor.