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Consumers seem to be demanding quite a bit from today’s bakery, but that’s the price of doing business. Retailers must find the happy spot between offering the classic breads, cakes, donuts and other treats that have always provided steady sales and experimenting with new products and services that will cater to today’s younger, more health-minded shoppers.

Keeping abreast on current trends is vital.

Plant-based foods

More and more shoppers are experimenting with plant-based proteins and that doesn’t impact just the meat department. According to Euromonitor, global use of protein in baked goods is expected to double by 2025.

Products making a protein claim have seen significant momentum since 2012, with more than 200 new products making a claim in 2017 — more than double the number than was reported in 2013.

Blue Diamond, headquartered in Sacramento, California, pushes its almond protein powder as an option for protein-packed baked goods. According to the company, almonds have long stood out as a naturally protein-rich ingredient and are seen as a healthy value-add for snacks and baked goods.

The superfood potential of almonds is leveraged in the company’s Almond Protein Powder, which provides bakers even more versatility in formulating protein-packed bakery products. It can be used in traditional baked foods as well as nutrition bars and snack bars.

“Sales of plant-based foods have outpaced sales of conventional foods by a factor of 10 in the past few years,” says Rick Findlay, chairman of Madison,  Wisconsin-based IDDBA and vice president of fresh for Downers Grove, Illinois-based Fresh Thyme Farmers Market.

“This is a trend we cannot ignore,” he says.

Allergen awareness

Awareness around allergies has increased rapidly. As the number of people with food allergies continues to climb, so does the list of foods that cause allergic reactions.

Of course, shoppers looking for allergen-friendly baked goods must not only consider the ingredients themselves, but also the potential of cross-contamination during production.

Abe’s Muffins, a part of Pearl River Pastry in West Nyack, New York, calls its products “school friendly” for this reason.

“It indicates that Abe’s products are safe for children with allergies to consume and share with friends,” says Joseph Koffman, who founded the company with his brother Marty.

Joseph’s son Abe — the namesake of the company — was born anaphylactic to peanuts and tree nuts and is allergic to eggs, dairy and more.

Koffman says he has seen other companies begin to use similar callouts on packaging. ““While this is a huge step forward for the allergen community, we must remain diligent to make sure brands meet specific criteria when labeling their products as ‘school friendly,’” he says. “And as the list of food allergens continues to grow, the criteria for what is ‘school friendly’ will inevitably evolve.”

Portion control

Consumers continue to treat themselves and indulge in decadent items. IDDBA reports the dessert category is fueling bakery sales, but with the renewed emphasis on eating healthfully, the continued evolution and innovation within mini and bite-sized products is continuing to the dessert trend.

“With a focus on health, the small portion size allows consumers the occasional indulgence,” says Angela Riley, marketing specialist for Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based Lawrence Foods.

Many consumers are looking for ways to disconnect from the digital world and enjoy a personal moment to indulge as a way to reduce stress and anxiety.

Two-thirds of consumers globally report they are “going to make active attempts to reduce their stress level,” according to consumer research from Jackson, Michigan-based Dawn Food Products.

According to the company, people are looking to savor a decadent sweet to elevate their mood. This new desire, termed the Joy of Missing Out — or JOMO — emphasizes planning time to disconnect and focus on what is enjoyable, such as eating smaller, premium desserts as a reward.

Abe’s touts its products as a prime option for sensible snacking.

“Because Abe’s muffins are mini, they are optimal for portion control,” Koffman says.

The company recently launched its individually wrapped muffins. At 3.2 ounces, the muffins are sensibly portioned for older kids and adults looking for an on-the-go treat.


The overall experience of food is becoming more important to shoppers, who are seeking to make eating a form of entertainment and adventure — creating a new trend dubbed eatertainment.

According to Dawn Foods, more people are sharing food photos or videos that ever — 45% do so on social media platforms weekly. An equal percentage say that both trying new products and trying new experiences is the most exciting part of food shopping.
Convenience and entertaining “are growing like gangbusters,” says Jonna Parker, fresh foods market research expert with Chicago-based IRI. “There is a consumer need for convenience, and that’s what we need to be talking about.”

Digestive health

As the country embraces traditional bread from other cultures, bakers and sellers are looking for the best way to make their baked goods taste great and add nutritional benefit to consumers’ diets. Recent efforts focus on the implementation of whole grains and fiber to improve digestive health.

Bakery expert and author Peter Reinhart agrees that “it’s important to know, or believe, that cream always rises to the top, and so will artisan-crafted products.”

ProBiotein is a multi-prebiotic fiber source (for baking or direct ingestion), made from organic wheat, oats, flax, barley malt, flax meal and nutritional yeast. These small grains are fermented to remove the starches, concentrate the proteins and provide nutritional yeast and prebiotic plant fibers. ProBiotein’s four prebiotic fibers are AXOS, FOS, MOS and XOS to cover a broad spectrum of good bacteria.