The onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic brought unseen levels of interest in at-home baking. All across the county, shelves that used to hold flour, yeast and other baking ingredients went bare.

The NPD Group tracked this interest and noticed several interesting sales trends that may indicate the at-home baking trend may be here to stay.

According to weekly retail tracking data from The NPD Group, May sales of hand mixers, stand mixers, bakeware and other baking appliances surged. In the six weeks ending April 25, dollar sales of hand mixers nearly doubled compared to the same period last year, and stand mixers grew 69%. Mixers aren’t just for baking but paired with the 18% increase in dollar sales of bakeware in the three weeks ending April 4, it is clear that baking has become a more popular pastime for many people.

“Consumers welcome anything that offers them a bit of an escape from otherwise mundane, stressful, or hectic days,” said Joe Derochowski, home industry advisor at NPD. “Beyond face-value product benefits, like baking a sweet treat or soothing tight muscles, many home products allow us to pass the time and reconnect with the simple joys of life.”

Mr. Derochowski also wrote in an NPD blog post that this behavior is likely to see a surge during the fourth quarter as consumers once again look for indoor activities.

Other sales data also back up this trend. Unit sales for bread cookbooks have grown 145% in 2020 through July, and baking cookbooks are up 40%, according to The NPD Group.

Meanwhile overall bread consumption increased in March with sustained increases through June. NPD studies show that the number of times people ate bread, buns, rolls and tortillas per month jumped from 10 or 11 times per month to 12 to 14 times per month during that time period.

Whether people bake as much at home once the pandemic passes is yet to be seen, but all signs point to a heightened interest in at-home baking.

This article is an excerpt from the December 2020 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on bread trends, click here.