MINNEAPOLIS — Retail bakery and food service will continue to focus on sweet baked goods to drive impulse purchases to help drive sales in a competitive marketplace, said Global Consumer Insights associate Jordan Beazley of General Mills Convenience & Foodservice. The visual appeal of baked foods will continue to become more important as operators work to not only catch the eye of the consumer but also serve up baked foods that are “instagrammable.” Offerings fit for sharing on social media help operators promote their business and keep customers coming back.
“Consumers continue to seek out things that are not only visually appealing, but permissible in certain ways that allow for everyday treats,” said Beazley, who works closely with foodservice channel teams to lead research efforts that break down consumer trends and eating behavior. “Permissible indulgence can be through small and mini size offerings, as well as authentic or high-quality ingredients.”
At General Mills, the company innovates on product solutions that accommodate operator needs across the labor-savings spectrum and help them find the right mix of formats across baked goods categories. This includes designs of products that incorporate more of a visual component and providing support to operations on how they can optimize the “instagrammability” of their offerings, as well as delivering on different sizes and permissible versions of classic favorites and high-quality ingredients.
“For instance, we recently introduced Pillsbury Mini Cinnamon Rolls to give foodservice operations a versatile, low-labor way to serve on-trend, bite-size cinnamon rolls,” Mr. Beazley said. “The small size meets consumer demand for mini-indulgence and convenient, on-the-go eating, and the freezer-to-oven format allows operations to bake the cinnamon rolls fresh onsite, creating an enticing aroma yet no proofing or thawing is required.”
This is the latest example of how General Mills is focused on bringing forward product innovation that both addresses labor concerns and gives bakeries and food service operations a leg up on trends before they make their way into the market.
Another trend that is expected to continue to challenge retail bakery/food service is finding consistent, high-quality labor, he said. This will force many operators to make trade-offs on what signature items they are going to bake from scratch and what they are going to turn to for labor-saving alternatives.
“We help bakeries stay on top of trends and offer support on how to execute new exciting offerings through versatile products and a steady stream of relevant content,” Mr. Beazley said. “We are known for brands, like Pillsbury, that make it easier for bakeries to make more of what their own customers are craving. We offer high quality products and recipes grounded in decades of baking experience to help cut out steps and make baking easier.
“We see the current trends continuing over the next few years. Consumers will become more and more accustomed to things that are special and shareable. However, traditional offerings will continue to be elevated as consumers will always seek out their fresh-baked favorites like muffins, cinnamon rolls, cookies, croissants, etc. That’s why it’s so important for operations to offer a mix of familiar favorites in addition to a variety of signature or limited-time-offer items to satisfy patrons and maximize profit potential.”
General Mills Foodservice takes pride in working alongside customers to understand their specific needs and help to identify the right products and solutions that will help them succeed. This includes a robust R.&D. team, General Mills culinary experts with extensive baking expertise, and other experts from sales and marketing to consumer insights who all work together to support innovation. Between all these different functions, General Mills Foodservice is able to create the best products for operators and consumers, as well as test and validate our assumptions, before a product ever makes it to market.
When it comes to baked foods, its Pillsbury brand represents 150 years of baking expertise and innovation. Pillsbury has continued to evolve over the years with new products and innovation to help food service operations stay ahead of the curve and conveniently and consistently serve more of the baked goods their patrons want.