Bakers are battling rising costs, supply chain shortages and employment challenges, while consumers are facing their own challenges with rising prices.

“Eight in 10 consumers noticed food and beverage price increases over the past year with a vast majority changing their behavior as a result,” Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader, client insights, IRI, said in a recent webinar, “Winning Breakfast, Generation by Generation.” “It is the younger generation that isn’t into their earning power years that is suffering the most and say that they’re changing their ways a bit more than others.”

For instance, while 33% of consumers overall said they are reducing impulse purchasing, that number was 45% for older millennials, she said. And while one in five consumers said they are changing where they shop to get better prices, that number jumped to one in three for younger millennials and Generation Z.

Supply chain disruption wreaks havoc on everything from ingredients to packaging and options of variety in flavor and package size, said Whitney Atkins, global marketing vice president and director at International Dairy Deli Bakery Association. She suggested that in-store bakeries focus on serving customers who will be celebrating with friends and family for a variety of spring celebrations.

“Rebounding from the last two years are special occasions, family gatherings and celebrations,” Ms. Atkins said. “Spring events and holidays will lead us right into graduation season, which is likely to see phenomenal growth as group sizes grow.”

Ms. Lyons Wyatt said package size is another opportunity for growth for those selling breakfast items, which account for 20% of grocery spending. Versatility in package sizes means convenience for consumers.

“The reason you’re starting to see this wheel of growth across sizes is some consumers can only afford that smaller pack size to get their favorite brands or favorite products,” she said. “They might not be able to afford the larger size. While on the other hand, some households have found a way to afford some of those larger sizes because they know it’s going to last them a bit longer, it’s going to please many in the household, and it drives portion control and some other things you can do with multi-packs and/or large sizes.”

Consumers are looking for a little bit of everything, from healthy options to indulgent snacks, at their breakfast table. Brands that can deliver on one or both and successfully communicate messages about their products will find a following.

This article is an excerpt from the April 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Breakfast, click here.