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3 Innovative Bakery Trends For 2017

Bakery trends

Like all markets, the bakery market is ever-evolving. What are people looking for when they go to their local bakery or supermarket, or shop online for baked goods? The answers may surprise you.

Baking is big business, with sales approaching $50 billion annually in the U.S. alone. And, targeting the right products to the right consumers is the name of the game. According to former Nielsen marketing executive Todd Hale, as demographics in the U.S. change so, too, do trends in bakery: "We have never been more different than we are today in terms of our population. Brands that are better connected with population segments that are going to drive population growth in the future stand the best chance of finding success,”

Increasing diversity, and the influence of health-conscious Millennials drive many of the trends currently coming to the fore. Here are three of the most innovative baking trends for 2017:

1. "Clean" Sweets

"Clean" is a relatively new concept in food, and one previously unknown to the baking community. According to Fitness Magazine editor Jocelyn Voo, "At its simplest, clean eating is about eating whole foods, or "real" foods — those that are un- or minimally processed, refined, and handled, making them as close to their natural form as possible". Reconciling that with baked goods is a challenge, but brands are finding ways to satisfy the sweet tooth while keeping it clean.

Simplicity is the key. According to research done by Corbion Caravan, a global developer of enzymes, emulsifiers, minerals, and vitamins used in baking, both ingredient-focused and nutrition-focused consumers are willing to pay more for products with 12 or fewer ingredients. And, while taste is the priority for consumers when it comes to sweets, an increasing percentage of them are looking for both great taste and better nutrition--or at least not so much of the bad stuff--in their cakes, cookies and pastries.

2. Mini Cakes Individual portions are becoming the new norm when it comes to gatherings and celebrations. This means that everything from wedding cakes to pies and muffins are shrinking into little bite-sized morsels. Cupcakes and cake pops are replacing the traditional tiered wedding cake (and don't require a cutting fee). Birthday celebrations are likely to feature cupcakes rather than a sheet cake (handy for anyone who doesn't want to catch whatever the candle-blower has). Attend a catered event and you're bound to see mini sweets in cups filled with mousse, lemon curd, berries or marshmallow.

What drives this trend? Younger consumers want more creative options when shopping for bakery. Mini cakes and desserts offer individualized looks and more flavors to sample. This means, don't be surprised if the next gathering you attend features a cake pop stick with three chocolate shells stacked and decorated. It's called a tiered cake.

3. Breakfast Bakery Ever had a savory muffin? If you enjoy breakfast bakery, then you are in good company. Research done by Dawn Foods, a leading supplier of baking ingredients to the food industry, has found that "consumers, particularly younger ones, are looking to the bakery as a place to enjoy delicious foods to go, and snacking has replaced mealtime for many". This has led to the phenomenon they are calling "Mealtime 2.0". Egg and cheese muffins, pretzel croissants, corn souffles and individual pizzas suit hectic lifestyles and on-the-go eating.

Mixing ingredients traditionally reserved for cooking into bakery gives consumers with longer commutes and little to time for sit-down meals a creative and handy way to get their nutrition. Bakery owners are reporting that sales of savory baked goods actually outpace sweets. In their 2016 report "How America Eats", IRI Worldwide reported that a full third of snack sales (including baked goods) are in the savory category, with younger consumers leading the way in breakfast snacking.

Consumers have an unprecedented number of options when it comes to their sweet treats. They, in turn, are redefining baked goods according to their own needs and tastes. What will be the next hot bakery trend? You just might be the one to decide!

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