Croissants – a booming item within the pastry category – are gaining ground as a cornerstone of the fresh bakery department. According to a new study, State of the Baking Industry, from Cypress Research, 42% of retail bakeries now carry croissants – a higher percentage than donuts or bagels.

“In the perimeter, there was a big focus on cakes, cookies, and pastries in 2022,” said Anne-Marie Roerink of 210 Analytics. “Grab and go, in particular, has been a big growth area.”

At Hy-Vee, cartons of 6-count croissants and 12-count mini croissants each sell for $5.99, a good bargain today.

“The impact of inflation was the only real impact of 2022,” said Roerink. Working closely with retailers, wholesalers, producers and trade associations, she has developed an excellent perspective on the ever-changing wants and needs of the consumer in a one-size-fits-no-one world.

She noted that 43% of consumers say their financial situation is worse than the prior year. That’s significant.

“One in five reduced their spend by cutting back on snacks, treats and desserts in lunches,” Roerink said, identifying one specific area of cutbacks. “A whole lot is happening in the lunch occasion.”

But bright spots in bakery include pastries (in the supermarket perimeter category), where sales rose by 7.7% in 2022.

Croissant mania

Croissants are soaring in popularity in the United States. What makes croissants – and the larger category of pastries – popular is that the bakery department prospers from the ability to create unique products that can either be sweet or savory and fulfill any eating occasion throughout the day.

Hen House Market, a 9-store upscale market based in Kansas City, Kan., features the “incredible” Tippin’s Wicked Crispy Wedges, an all-butter croissant triangle dipped in cinnamon sugar, coated with caramel and walnuts, and baked to “crispy perfection.” The $1.99 price tag belies the value of a decadent treat that can satisfy the cravings of a true pastry lover.

Lunds & Byerly’s in Minneapolis, which plans to open its newest store later this year in the Orchard Place development in Apple Valley, is focusing on a unique culinary experience with the added bonus of convenient cravings. The new location will feature a Caribou Coffee, a two-story Creations Café, indoor and outdoor seating and a multi-lane, drive-up canopy.

Amy Carter, executive chef for product development at Lunds & Byerlys, shared her perspective on culinary trends including creative Danish and donuts. The gourmet grocer uses frozen puff pastry prior to baking up golden brown and super flaky and adding a fluffy cream cheese filling and a generous dollop of jam. As a production tip, the pastry department likes to use a pastry bag to pipe the cream cheese filling onto the Danish “because it’s tidy and precise. If you don’t have one, you can use a Ziploc bag. Add the filling, seal it up, cut the tip off one corner and pipe.”

In addition, the grocer features a special recipe for L&B Boosted Donuts, which includes a booster that’s high in plant-based protein, fiber and iron. It’s even got some chia seed in it, as well as low-fat, high-protein yogurt – “for extra oomph and a nice, tangy flavor. And, of course, the donuts are drizzled in white icing.”