While the pandemic slammed sales for bakers serving restaurants and institutions, the market upheaval provided a bonanza for packaged goods operators in the retail channel. That attitude is reflected in Baking & Snack’s Capital Spending survey, conducted by Cypress Research and sponsored by BEMA this year.

The study showed 92% of respondents had a very or somewhat positive 2021 outlook for the retail channel. However, only 56% of bakers have a positive outlook for restaurants and foodservice. That sentiment is shared by bakeries like International Delights, the Clifton, NJ-based producer of fresh and frozen pastries and sweet goods, which reports that foodservice has yet to recover in the mid-Atlantic region.

“Even if we somehow get over the virus in the next few months, it’ll take a while for tourists, office workers, airline passengers, college students and others to return to previous levels of away-from-home consumption,” noted Nicolas Sayegh, co-managing director for International Delights.

Likewise, Larry Marcucci, chief executive officer, Alpha Baking Co., Chicago, anticipates that 2021 will start to improve, but recovery for baking companies with exposure to foodservice may take time.

“I am afraid that it might take longer than I wish, but a lot depends on how fast they roll out the vaccine, which will give confidence to people to get back to normal,” Mr. Marcucci told Baking & Snack for its February report. “I think people want to get back to ‘normal,’ and there will be a lot of pent-up demand to ‘get out and do stuff.’”

Hopefully, that pent-up demand will soon be good news for bakers and suppliers to the industry.