Despite rising inflation and the challenging economy, commercial bakers have found one oasis of opportunity within the perimeter of the supermarket.

The breakfast eating occasion has been on fire for months, fueling umpteenth options for new product innovation or simply adding items that expand a bakery’s share of in the in-store bakery channel. 

“We’re seeing interest from not just small retailers or large ones,” said Yianny Caparos, president, Crown Bakeries, Brentwood, Tenn. “In-store bakery operators are looking to expand the breakfast items they offer.”

Crown Bakeries recently bolstered its breakfast product portfolio with new cinnamon rolls that come in four-packs or family-style eight-packs.

The company also introduced a 2-oz, grab-and-go item that’s similar to a muffin top, but it’s slightly larger and comes in varieties ranging from fruity blueberry to a savory cornbread snack. 

“It’s not just a breakfast item, but an all-day snack that’s individually wrapped that can be thrown into a lunchbox or taken to work,” Mr. Caparos said.

Liz Rayo, senior vice president, marketing and innovation, CraftMark Bakery, Indianapolis, pointed out the muffin segment tops $1 billion in the bakery perimeter, and volumes are up 20% vs. the prior year.

“We all know inflation is driving dollar sales, but the volume of muffins is going through the roof, and it’s so exciting to see that in a mature category,” she said. “Why? People love muffins. They’re a great morning food, and they’re a fresh-baked, wholesome bakery item.”

Ms. Rayo added that demographics are also driving portable, smaller portions, pointing to a 2020 Mintel study on the future of prepared foods that shows single households growing at a 35% clip from 2020 to 2025.

At the recent International Dairy Deli Bakery Association’s exposition, CraftMark Bakery featured its Bagel Dots filled bagel bites, which target the grab-and-go movement and smaller families with portion-controlled sizes.

Several companies offered new health-and-wellness items, but they weren’t as prevalent as in the past.

DeIorio’s Foods, Utica, NY, featured Gourmet Hemp Dough and Veggie Infused Raw Dough shells made with cauliflower, broccoli, chickpeas and sweet potatoes.

Alvarado St. Bakery, Petaluma, Calif., jumped on the ketogenic diet bandwagon with a new Sprouted Wheat Keto Multigrain bread that’s also vegan and made with organic ingredients.

Likewise, Toufayan Bakeries launched its keto-friendly pitas, wraps and flatbreads at the show. The pitas and flatbreads contain 7 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber per serving with 18 grams of carbohydrates and zero sugar. The wraps are also sugar-free with 12 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein. 

“The in-store bakery is becoming a place consumers go to look for not only cookies and croissants but specialty items, including those looking for diet-specific bread offerings like organic or low carb,” observed Karen Toufayan, vice president of marketing and sales, for the Ridgefield, NJ-based company. “It’s also an area that allows brands to introduce new product offerings or flavors, making it a destination for consumers looking for new and interesting items.”

Ms. Toufayan stressed that brands need to stay ahead with product development and quickly launch consumer products that respond to the trending areas of stores.

“Toufayan is always innovating,” she said. “Whether we’re custom baking for a special customer request or working on our next launch, there is always a product in the oven we want to talk about. If you’re not innovating and working every day to improve your product, you’re going stale.”

This article is an excerpt from the August 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on In-Store Bakery, click here.