The snack and bakery market is a vital economic sector, accounting for over $100 billion in annual U.S. sales.
“The demand for baked goods drives the industry in everything it does,” said Kerwin Brown, president of BEMA. “The better the economic outlook, the more consumers can continue to purchase the baked goods that they love.”
So, what bakery business trends can we expect to see in the coming months?
Nostalgia and convenience
What’s old is new again. With companies bringing back their original logos, and 72 percent of U.S. consumers claiming to enjoy products that remind them of their childhood, there’s a sense of comfort in the past that people want to bring back.
Also related to comfort is an increased focus many customers have on their well-being and trying to make healthier choices. This is seen with baked goods “designed for a specialized diet”: paleo, allergen-friendly, keto, vegan growing a CAGR of 298% in just four years. In addition: Nearly 1 in 3 adults look for all-natural ingredients when seeking out baked goods.
Predicting and keeping up with consumer demand is a constant challenge for bakeries, and ingredient availability has become more unpredictable. Technology such as Artificial intelligence can help manufacturers stay better connected between both suppliers and consumers, resulting in an increased volume of higher quality products that can safely reach the people who are ready to buy.
Data mining will help identify where to find the best supplies and track their availability through the supply chain. Developing proprietary recipes is made easier with artificial intelligence, ensuring that your specific blend of flavors and aromas is carefully duplicated on a large scale. This high level of quality can give bakeries an edge against the competition.
Sustainability is a hot-button topic for consumers, and they are paying close attention to where their food is coming from and how it is produced. In addition, consumers are increasingly expecting businesses to step up as well, especially when it comes to issues of climate change and the environment.
This tips into the packaging of their foods as well, with environmentally-friendly packaging more likely to attract the consumer. 46% of consumers willing to pay more for a food product if it was presented in packaging that’s better for the environment than plastic. The additional bonus being not further contributing to landfills – in 2017, food packaging made up 80.1 million tons of municipal solid waste.
To be able to respond to customer queries and provide confidence in the data, bakeries need to have a lot tracking process in place. This helps your business stay organized and have traceability on all products. In addition, the data collected minimizes the risk of tampering, mislabeling, counterfeiting, and product food waste.
Increased spending on capital
“Only 14% of bakers reported that their companies are planning to spend less on capital improvements in 2022 – this is a great indicator of industry health,” said Marjorie Hellmer, president of Cypress Research.
What else are bakers focused on in 2022?
- 39% project adding new equipment and production lines
- 88% reported plans to invest in systems improvements
- 58% are planning to expand their facilities either with new production lines or building expansions
- 71% are focused on increasing production capacity
- 62% want to increase production speed.
The statistics look very promising for what’s in store for the bakery business. According to research by Commercial Baking Industry’s Capital Spending Study, 57% of bakery professionals plan to increase their capital investments in 2022, and 56% expect to increase their equipment purchases.
Addressing the labor shortage
An ongoing bakery business trend is implementing changes to create a safe and supportive workplace to hire and retain employees. Part of this is investing in automation, as one baker pointed out: “Automation is very important as skilled labor and, in fact, any labor is difficult to find and retain.”
Now is a good time to consider automation and AI for your company. With AI, organizations can continue to meet their production targets with their existing workforce, and as they grow their teams, they have the added attraction of providing a workplace with the latest technology – allowing the employees themselves to do more in their jobs as well.
Bakeries can’t overlook the benefit that technology can have on their operations. from managing sales demand, forecasting, inventory control, production, quality, and shipping. In fact, food companies that have already made investments in technology see the biggest impact on productivity and cost efficiencies, with improvements of up to 20%.
One of the most exciting benefits of technology is data collection. Tracking ingredient availability across the full supply chain can identify potential shortages ahead of time, giving you the opportunity to adjust your production schedule. Identifying surplus ingredients provides the opportunity to reduce food waste. Sensors during food transportation give companies real-time data and allow them to adjust any settings such as temperature, humidity, and other conditions.
Integrating data analytics software is crucial if you want to make sure your business is constantly the top choice of the consumer. BI takes what can be incredibly complex big data and converts it into simple, easy-to-follow data visualizations. A common misconception about BI is it is only useful for big companies and corporations and that a small business like a bakery would never be able to justify using such software. We can assure you that our business data software is incredibly useful for any size business, big or small.
At Harvest, we want to be able to help your bakery stay competitive by staying up to date on the constant changes in the customers’ needs. Our software can help you target the most profitable demographic for your business and also retain customer loyalty. It can also help you run a more efficient business model and have fewer costs by cutting out some items that are not bringing in enough profits.
Harvest Food Solutions is here to help and that’s why we offer solutions to support you and your business. That’s one reason why we developed HarvestBI, our BI tool built specifically with your bakery business in mind.
Interested in learning more about Harvest Food Solutions and how we can help your bakery business? Give us a call to see a demo of our perishable foods software and how it can make an impact on your business.