Creativity is driving the donut industry forward. So is customization that makes them your own. And minis are providing portion control in this indulgent category that has survived — even thrived — despite sugar busters, the keto craze and all things healthy.

Donuts aren’t just for breakfast anymore. According to a survey from Jackson, Mich.-based Dawn Foods, 87% of people eat them in the morning, 38% in the afternoon, 33% in the evening and 23% late at night. That’s why many shops have been open 24/7 for decades.

“Given the variety of roles and dayparts, consumers look for different qualities,” Sally Lyons-Wyatt, executive vice-president and practice leader, Information Resources, Inc., told Baking & Snack’s Karlee Renkoski in her report for the magazine’s February issue. “The qualities range from favorite flavors to surprising combinations; simple and clean to eat to complex and messy; and an accompaniment for a meal to being the meal.”

While the old-fashioned, glazed and others are still crucial to the industry, the imagination of bakers has sprung open that aforementioned avenue of creativity.

“Donuts have had an evolution going from traditional — glazed, chocolate-covered, sprinkles — to artisanal with the donut as the ‘carrier’ for toppings like bacon, fruit and others,” Ms. Lyons-Wyatt noted.

Yes, bacon. Dataessential reported bacon on dessert menus increased 137% over the past four years, according to Dawn. And yes, the donut sandwich — with beloved fried chicken — has earned its place among gourmands. According to GlobalData, 49% of millennial and Generation Z consumers like to try new and unusual flavors.

When it comes to donuts, it seems like everyone is looking something unique that’s fun to eat.