LA QUINTA, CALIF. — The new shopping landscape offers both challenges and opportunities for the store perimeter to bring other consumers back to the bakery. David Henkes, senior principal, Technomic, shared an overview of those opportunities at the American Bakers Association Convention, held March 27-29 in La Quinta, Calif.

Before the pandemic, Technomic found that 38% of consumers reported purchasing from the in-store bakery every shopping trip or nearly every shopping trip. That has fallen to 32% since the pandemic. Shoppers who say they rarely to never buy from the in-store bakery is up from 10% to 13%.

“Coming out of the pandemic, the growth prospects look good in regard to getting back to normal, but retailers and suppliers will need to work together to figure out how to make shoppers feel more comfortable back in the ISB and excited again,” Mr. Henkes said.

The extreme growth of online grocery shopping is one place in-store bakery has room to grow. Fifty percent of shoppers said they rarely or never add an in-store bakery item to their virtual shopping cart, and only 30% reported always or often adding these items to their virtual cart.

“It will be important for ISB to figure out how to capture those sales that would otherwise be lost. There’s the online piece, but there’s still that 87% who come into the store to see, feel and touch, so it’s important as you build online strategies that you still find ways to drive traffic to the in-store bakery,” Mr. Henkes explained.

He pointed to the impulse purchase vs. planned purchases as a way to drive that traffic. For example, bread is typically a planned in-store bakery purchase and gets shoppers to that section of the store. Once there, sweet goods can end up in the cart as an impulse buy.

The loss at the in-store bakery over the past two years was from casual in-store bakery consumers. This section of the store did hang onto its core shoppers, but winning back those casual shoppers isn’t a certainty, Mr. Henkes said.

“Getting people back into the in-store bakery isn’t a given,” he said. “Getting those casual consumers back is going to require some creative thinking.”

He pointed to the trends of health, convenience and easy-to-find products as helping bring back casual in-store bakery consumers.