Snacking, a greater focus on health, indulgence with reduced guilt. These are all trends and keywords we’ve heard about countless times over the last couple years, and they’re a driving force behind the growing importance of single-serve and miniature products in the instore bakery.

IDDBA reports in What’s In Store 2019 that instore bakery shoppers are still driven by a desire to treat themselves, even health and wellness shoppers. While healthy eating continues to thrive, it says, indulgence is the top driver of shoppers to the instore bakery. Single-serve and smaller items can help move product while consumers feel better about their choices.

Convenience driving innovation

Catering to the convenience trend, small serve is a great way to go, not just so that customers can indulge in a healthier manner, but they can also take a risk on new flavors or get just enough dessert to share with their loved ones.

Millennials and young couples are opting for late night snacks or an extra special or creative dessert, in lieu of flavors like mini cookies and mini fun cupcakes with sweet and salty and caramel.

Experts predict a rise in classic floral flavors, such as honeysuckle, jasmine, lavender, lilac and rose. Tropical fruits are on the rise, so try incorporating guava or mango into your cake fillings and icings.

Another flavor to incorporate is avocado, which has a mild flavor that pairs well with others including chocolate.

Novelty flavors are often sought after for the nostalgic, feel-good sentiments they provide. That is why strawberry lemonade, root beer and lavender are some popular ingredients for spring 2019.

Hybrid pastries

The pastry world is embracing the hybrid in full force. On display at the biggest foodservice and pastry exposition of the year, Sirha in Lyon, France, exhibitors such as Bridor — headquartered in Boucherville, Quebec — introduced innovative new products. Bridor unveiled the Breizh’n’Roll, inspired by the traditional kouign amann.

Breizh’n’Roll is a recipe inspired by the traditional Breton kouign amann made from croissant dough, along with butter and sugar. The texture is both crispy and soft. Made with 100% pure butter, each 85-gram pastry features a golden, caramelized crust after baking. It is delivered frozen and bakes in less than 20 minutes.

Innovation in the pastry world continues to spread across the United States, as well. In celebration of National Croissant Day, Panera Bread unveiled a new collection headlined by the almond croissant — a freshly baked, traditional butter croissant filled with cream, topped with sliced almonds and dusted with powdered sugar.

Cupcakes still kicking

The slow decline of the cupcake specialty shop is not negatively impacting cupcakes themselves.

“Cupcakes are alive and well, and our cupcake sales keep growing,” says Diane West, aka ‘The Cake Lady,’ owner of The Kake Korner in Laurel, Maryland. She makes dozens of cupcake flavors every day, including cookies and cream, carrot, and coconut. On Tuesdays, the bakery runs a 50% off special, which she promotes on Facebook Live. “We sell $1,000 worth of cupcakes every Tuesday,” she adds.

West loves buttercream-based cake and cupcake designs, using fondant as accents. She is a big fan of Flavor Right, which offers the functional abilities to blend well with color, ingredients, and ideas.

Flavor Right’s Custom Ice ready-to-whip icing is easier to work with than traditional buttercream and you can expect more consistent results, according to Flavor Right. You’ll save time, especially on clean-up. And you’ll find Custom Ice customizes nicely with flavors, sweeteners, and colors.

A smaller piece of the pie

Demand for smaller pie sizes is on the rise thanks to multiple factors.

Mark Van Iwaarden, director of marketing for Denver-based Legendary Baking, says that as Baby Boomers age, they’re living in smaller households. At the same time, millennials are getting married later, staying single longer and putting of having children.

The trend toward mini pies allows bakeries and consumers to experiment with incorporating ethnic flavors. Think jalapeño and chocolate, or Thai chili spice and berries.

Snacking is an all-day affair

Retailers should keep snack-focused displays stocked and running all day, offering items that can walk the line between breakfast, lunch and dinner, according to Jill Tomeny, senior manager of Fresh for Daymon Worldwide, Stamford, Connecticut.

“Remember that offering selection in the snack segment doesn’t necessarily mean reinventing the wheel,” Tomeny says. “It can be as simple as offering single-serve, mini-sized items, or smaller packs of existing products.”

Single-serve muffins, cake slices … ways of using existing items as snacks.

Don’t forget donuts

While they’re not the most innovative of items, donuts continue to be some of the most popular single-serve items in the instore bakery. According to Nielsen, donuts were among the biggest gainers in dollar sales for supermarket bakeries in 2017. Donut sales topped $698 million, a 2.4 % increase from the year before.

John Unrein contributed to this story