Despite flat growth in recent years, bakery
opportunities arise as new artisan products meet
consumer demand for health and variety.
BY NATALIE TAYLOR
GROCERY’S HEALTH AND WELLNESS TRENDS ARE HEATING UP, and the in-store bakery has certainly been feeling the burn. Shoppers have become more attentive to food labels, choosing products with recognizable, easy-to-pronounce
ingredients and no artificial flavors or colorings. Bread, in particular,
has been stigmatized as a “guilty” food as carb-conscious consumers
lean toward nutritious alternatives like cauliflower crusts, portobello
mushroom buns and lettuce wraps.
The category’s growth has struggled in recent years, and the past
year has been no exception. According to Chicago-based market
research company IRI, the fresh bread and rolls category was valued
at $13.4 billion for the 52 weeks ending March 19, 2017, up 0.34 percent from the year prior, and fresh bread alone accounted for $9.1 billion, up 0.15 in dollar sales. Though growth has remained mostly flat,
bread is the largest segment within the in-store bakery, and retailers
ought to get a slice of the action.
A TASTE FOR AUTHENTICITY
The artisan and specialty bread segment is bursting with new product
development as manufacturers offer new, innovative items that meet
consumers’ health and wellness needs. While organic and non-GMO
labels have been the leaders of the clean-label movement, trending features like gluten-free, ancient grains and artisan quality are becoming
staples in the bread category.
Artisan bakery St. Pierre produces authentic French and Belgian
FOCUS ON FRESH
breads, including brioche rolls, buns, sliders and loaves. “Consumers
desire to expand their selections to more of a specialty-type of product
offering,” says Kurt Burmeister, SVP of national sales and importing
at Lipari Foods, KLT Global, U. S. importer of Manchester, U.K.-based
St. Pierre. “More and more people are traveling. They are experienc-
ing the world and when they get home, they want some of that to
come with them.”
Sales of specialty breads like flatbreads and naan have spiked as
exposure to authentic and ethnic cuisines continues to rise. Average
dollar sales of naan have increased 21 percent over the last year, accord-
ing to consumer research firm Nielsen Fresh, despite its average price
of more than $3. The desire for authentic, high-quality breads tends to
overcome the steeper price point these products typically carry.
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