KANSAS CITY — The data presented in a recent webinar on the state of the bakery department by Circana and the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association paints a colorful picture of the industry. The fascinating deep dive into current performance and shopper trends reveals a resilient market for baked foods, although it seemed consumer challenges over inflation make the future outlook uncertain.

Perhaps the biggest highlight is that the bakery channel has 6 of the Top 15 highest sales growth categories in fresh food in 2023, according to Circana year-to-date data ended July 30. Among those six categories are bread along with buns and rolls in the center store as well as cakes, cookies, donuts and fresh bread. Bakery commands 12.6% of total perishable sales during the first part of the year; no other fresh department has risen and sustained such high share growth since 2020.

Here are some interesting facts to munch on and digest. The data show that bakery perimeter has outperformed center store bakery on a unit trend basis this year. However, in-store bakery consumption is still not back to its pre-pandemic levels.

Most perimeter bakery categories have experienced dollar and unit gains this year while the bagel segment is the only center of the store product category with unit growth. Part of the slippage in packaged baked foods sales might be due to inflation.

Consumers are facing close to 30% higher prices compared to 2019 and prices continue to go up. Not surprisingly, national brands are losing dollar and unit share to private label in the bread and roll category as more consumers trade down.