The early days of the pandemic gave many consumers the opportunity to hone their home baking skills, and consumers are still looking for ways to add quality baked goods to their meals at home, even if their jobs time becomes busier. At the same time, consumers also want to indulge themselves within reason, and the branded products found in supermarket bakeries are well positioned to meet these trends.
When these trends are combined with the challenges supermarkets face in terms of staffing and space, retailers are increasingly turning to in-store branded baked goods to drive growth.
“We help deliver an in-store experience that doesn’t require an on-site baker – perfect for high-end snacking opportunities,” said Paul Baker, founder of St Pierre Bakery, based in Manchester, UK. “This is how the perimeter will bring footfall back into a post-COVID environment. With a focus on authenticity, cross-selling with second-hand breakfast, brunch and snack items, and smart merchandising, we’re able to provide retailers with the tools to maximize sales. and basket spending, which is much needed in the aftermath of a global pandemic.
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Considering all these factors, Brie Buenning, director of marketing for the La Brea Bakery brand of Los Angeles-based Aspire Bakery, said the market for take-out bread options at grocery store bakeries grew by more than 40% since the start of the pandemic. .
“Customers are looking for convenient options to elevate meals at home without having to cook everything at home,” Buenning said. “Set and bake allows consumers to quickly have tasty, fresh-out-of-the-oven bread or easily store it in the freezer for later.”
To that end, Buenning said La Brea’s most popular products currently are French baguettes in fresh and take-out varieties, take-out rolls, whole-grain bread and country-style white sourdough. The sourdough product plays on the growing popularity of sourdough during the pandemic, and whole-grain bread is an option for those looking for fewer carbs.
The pandemic has also shed light on the importance of breakfast products, as consumers have benefited from more time to eat breakfast at home.
“The pandemic has changed the way American shoppers eat,” Baker said. “With people spending more time at home, meals like breakfast have become a bigger occasion. Instead of rushing to eat something and get on with the day, consumers have started to explore and savor more elaborate breakfast dishes.Waffles are incredibly versatile and work well in sweet or savory applications, and as consumers have begun to experiment with new dishes, sales of versatile products have increased.
Citing data from Nielson, Baker said the U.S. waffle market is now worth $1.1 billion, growing 16% from 2019 to 2021. Specifically, he said the ambient waffle market grew by 205 % during this period.
Baker also said the bun now brings in $470 million for the U.S. bakery category, up 20% from a year earlier, according to Nielson data. He said St Pierre’s grill range is particularly the driver of their brioche products, and the pandemic has helped fuel consumer desire for premiumisation. Overall, he said the ambient bun category is worth $2.8 billion in the grocery market, with brioche buns driving the category’s growth.
“Savvy retailers will take note of where growth is coming from and ensure their shelves provide multiple spaces for products that drive sales,” Baker said.
Baker said part of St Pierre’s success also comes from working with retailers to deliver personalized and relevant products for their customers.
David Skinner, marketing director of J. Skinner Baking Co., Omaha, Ne., said they are seeing increased demand for products that are considered “authorized indulgences.”
“At the end of the day, in-store baking is a forgiving department, and there’s a fine line to balance when marketing to the customer,” Skinner said. “In a way, consumers may perceive products that have too many health claims as not tasting as good. If you can embolden features like real sugar, no preservatives, and no artificial colors or flavors, you are in a decent position with the consumer.
Skinner also said targeting specific market segments is a valuable strategy for an in-store bakery brand. He said many in-store bakery products are private label products, and to gain exposure on the shelves, it is essential to offer products that are innovative, unique and have strong consumer support.
Skinner said their most popular offering right now is Danish Strips due to the product’s unique flavors and textures. He said many of the flavors in the product come from the dough because the company manipulates the fermentation process and provides the dough with the right environment for the right amount of time. While letting batter sit in a controlled environment for 24 to 36 hours might seem inefficient, it’s essential to deliver unique flavors, he said.