There’s nothing like a donut special to drive consumers to the supermarket bakery. One of the best ways to begin is to drive demand with online marketing.

At Grebe’s Bakery, for example, the November special online features their famous Double Chocolate Honeymooner, a chocolate-iced, yeast-raised donut topped with a dollop of scratch-made chocolate buttercream and finished with fall color sprinkles. These popular donuts are found at instore bakeries including Piggly Wiggly in Wisconsin and Illinois, Woodman’s Food Market, and Speedway convenience stores.

When it comes to creating an eye-catching Instagram profile, bakeries must ask themselves what their theme is – both contextually and visually. A bakery’s theme in most cases begins and ends with food, so post high-quality pictures of products that share a similar style and tell a story. For example, if a baker wanted to post about their latest LTO donut, there are many different types of photos that can be utilized, such as a bird’s eye view of the donut, close-up to capture texture, or a customer enjoying that treat. Ultimately, any images posted to a bakery’s profile should be reflective of its brand and consistent, according to Keely Siciliano, director of brand and digital marketing for Dawn Foods.

Further, she explains that Instagram’s latest update now gives anyone the ability to post links in their Instagram Stories—a feature that was previously restricted to only verified accounts and those with more than 10,000 followers. Bakers can get creative about how they want to use links to drive traffic to their websites and online ordering pages. For example, bakers can create Stories that are saved as Profile Highlights—which stay on your profile as long as you want them to - and label them as links. One might be “Menu” and the Story link will take users to your website’s full menu and price list. 

“Bakeries can optimize their Instagram bios by adding a short and sweet description of their business with a tone that reflects their brand’s personality. Bakers should also update their contact options on their profile, including a business email address, phone number, and location, so it’s easier for users to get in touch with them,” she said.

Instagram does not allow users to include multiple links in bios. However, with helpful free tools like LinkTree, a single link can be created for a bio that takes users to a launchpad, which can include links to a bakery’s contact page, its “about us” section, current product sales, ways to make online purchases, and more, Siciliano said.


Online strategies

Siciliano at Dawn Foods explains that there are many new tools to connect with your donut-loving and bakery customers. For example, unlike Instagram Stories, which disappear after 24 hours, Instagram Reels allow bakers to create engaging videos to share with their audiences. Beyond profile followers, Reels gives the opportunity to reach people who do not follow a profile, because these videos exist on both Instagram’s Explore Page and in a dedicated public Reels tab.

While videos are capped at 60 seconds, that is plenty of time to share content that can attract people to a business. Bakers can consider showcasing their variety of baked goods for sale - like vegan donuts to highlight how a bakery caters to health-conscious dessert lovers, she said.

To help drive sales, also consider using Reels to announce product sales, LTOs, and special offers. Bakers can share these types of reels for free or submit them as paid advertisements to target a specific audience. When developing these types of Reels, make sure content is authentic and genuine to the bakery and not too salesy, Siciliano said.

Instagram influencers wield tremendous power in guiding consumers’ purchases, though not everyone has a budget to afford working with A-list influencers. That’s where working with microinfluencers - social media icons with thousands, not hundreds of thousands, of followers – offers an opportunity for bakers to focus on the quality of following, not size. Microinfluencers tend to be more affordable, and these smaller profiles exhibit the best combination of follower reach and engagement (likes, comments and shares), Siciliano said.

“To find the right microinfluencers, bakers should start with a strategy – outline business goals and values to determine where influencer partnerships may fit in,” she said. “Once a strategy is in mind, bakers should start their search on Instagram by finding local influencers using area-specific hashtags or geotags. Seek accounts that align with the bakery’s brand - this could be home bakers or dining experts. Bakers should also pay close attention to how influencers’ audiences engage with posts to tell them if they’re the right target audience.”


Hand-held options

Beyond donuts, there are a wide range of product innovations being introduced for the hand-held bakery segment.

Consumers are more inquisitive about the authenticity of their products, according to Paul Baker, founder of St Pierre Bakery. That’s part of the reason St Pierre resonates with consumers – using an authentic French recipe for quality brioche. The latest Nielsen data shows a significant uplift in the in-store bakery of artisan breads – a sector currently worth more than $600 million to US bakery.

Next year, Baker points out, while it might not be thought of as traditional fresh bread, there are already signs of the take-and-bake category growing – “it’s perhaps one to watch.”


“Millennials are more exploratory in their tastes and account for a huge proportion of the consumer food market. The idea that certain flavors or foods are ‘not for me’ is fading – new flavors are easier to try, and consumers are driving the demand for weird, wonderful and whimsical combinations. The ‘foodie elitism’ that we might have encountered a few years back is no longer a factor,” he said.

Sandwiches are a staple in the American diet, with 61% of consumers eating at least two per week at home, according to industry data.

Want a new way to mix it up for sandwich connoisseurs? Go beyond basic bread with Pillsbury carriers from General Mills. These easy-to-prepare products can unlock countless ways to offer new breakfast sandwiches, BLTs, chicken sandwiches and more at BBQ joints, breakfast diners and beyond.

The new Pillsbury waffle carriers are just one of many foodservice solutions from General Mills to help foodservice operations make patron-pleasing sandwiches that maximize labor and equipment. Other sandwich carriers from Pillsbury include a variety of frozen biscuits and the new Freezer-to-Oven croissants that make it possible to bake off flaky, European-style croissants in less than 30 minutes. 

General Mills Foodservice is helping foodservice operations boost their sandwich game with the introduction of the Pillsbury Belgian-Style Waffle Carrier. Pre-sliced in a convenient, thaw and serve format, the waffles make it easy to assemble sandwiches across different back-of-house formats. The waffle carriers are made for sandwiches, with one side featuring a traditional waffle texture and the other side flat for easy assembly. Made with maple syrup and crisp pearl sugar, the waffles have a slightly sweet flavor profile that works across the menu for a variety of sandwiches throughout the day.

In other fast-growing product categories, Rustica is Europastry’s range of Italian traditional-style breads; the longstanding traditions of Europe created for the modern American market. Rustica’s brand-new packaging line offers attractive options for both retail and food service. Rustica´s two categories -Ciabatta rolls and buns- bring a wide range of flavors and options to any establishment as well as to their customers’ tables. The colorful new retail-ready packaging is presented in all of Rustica’s options: Ciabatta rolls in 4 flavors –Asiago Cheese, Multigrain, Classic, and Onion- and buns in two formats -Sausage bun and Round bun.