Baking industry on its toes with increased demand since IBIE 2019
Staff, 2022-07-29 08:32:36,
Shortly after IBIE 2019 took place, the nation was dealt a punch in the gut by the coronavirus (COVID-19). The grain-based foods industry would go on to experience varying degrees of demand over the next several years. Bread and tortillas, for example, often were hard to find on shelves as consumers stocked up for more at-home eating. In the case of bread, many bakers cut back on stock-keeping units (SKUs) to focus only on the easiest and most affordable options. Innovation, in many cases, was put on hold.
Other categories, such as cookies, found slightly tougher sledding at the onset of the pandemic, as consumers shied away from indulgence. But as the pandemic continued on, cookies regained their footing as a comfort food for consumers looking for a treat.
As IBIE 2022 approaches, most grain-based foods categories have a firmer grasp on what works for their business models. Inefficient SKUs have been eliminated while innovation has returned in the form of clearer focus on delivering on emerging health and wellness trends.
Health and wellness stands out in bread
Even as bread sales retreated following a pandemic fueled surge in 2020-21, new product introductions stepped up significantly over the past year. While approaches have differed widely in innovation strategies, health and wellness and indulgence stood out as significant themes.
Flowers Foods, Thomasville, Ga., the nation’s second largest baking company, has been steadily stepping up innovation in recent years. Products introduced by Flowers just before the pandemic and during 2020 have performed well, said Brent Bradshaw, senior vice president of core brands. Nature’s Own Perfectly Crafted Brioche Style was unveiled in 2019.
“It is doing very well and continuing to grow year after year,” he said. “Following the loaf’s success, we expanded the Nature’s Own Perfectly Crafted Brioche Style line to include buns, which have exceeded our initial expectations and continue to do so. These achievements are in large part the result of consumer insights and consumer-led innovation.”
Flowers in 2020 launched Dave’s Killer Bread (DKB) hamburger buns. Don Letchinger, senior vice president, growth brands at Flowers, called the hamburger bun introduction “the most successful product launch under the DKB brand since its inception in 2005.”
“In some ways, the COVID circumstance has been a positive relative to new product introductions,” A. Ryals McMullian, president and chief executive officer…
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