Whole grain and high fiber breads drive demand.
Related articlesArtisan bread spec sheet
Demand for bread is on the rise as more consumers opt for brown bag lunches and dine-in meals during these challenging economic times. “At-home eating and homemade lunches not only give you more for your food dollar, they also tend to be more nutritious. We have seen increased traffic to our online recipe site as consumers look for new ways to use bread,” says Janice Anderson, vice president, marketing, Flowers Foods, Thomasville, Ga.
Whole grain breads remain popular as awareness of the health benefits of whole grains grows. “We believe whole grain breads will enjoy further growth in the years ahead,” Anderson says. Flowers Foods' Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat soft variety bread, which debuted more than 30 years ago, still is seeing double-digit growth.
“The overall trend of breads promoting specific health benefits through certain ingredients, such as fiber, omega-3, prebiotics and plant sterols, also continues, though it seems to be at a somewhat slower pace,” Anderson says. She adds the economic downturn may be to blame because better-for-you products tend to carry a higher price tag.
Aunt Millie's Fiber for Life bread, with 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance of fiber, is the best selling product in the company's Hearth bread line. J. Bohn Popp, vice president, marketing, Aunt Millie's Bakeries, Fort Wayne, Ind., attributes consumer demand for high fiber bread to the baby boomers, who are concerned with health and realize the importance of fiber. Popp adds that organic, all-natural and calcium-added breads also are in demand.
Appealing to all-natural and health-conscious consumers, Nature's Own white wheat breads will be made without high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), starting in May. HFCS is considered safe by the FDA, but many consumers have concerns about it, Anderson notes. The white wheat bread, which debuted in the early 1990s, is a top seller because of nutrition awareness and consumer preference for soft, white bread, she adds.
Artisan bread trends
Whole grains and fiber-rich are two trends impacting artisan breads, as well as pan breads. Consumers prefer artisan breads with 6 percent to 8 percent fiber, notes George Erasmus, executive vice president, production, Tribeca Oven Inc., Carlstadt, N.J. Artisan bakers are adding specialty flavors and prebiotics, and making artisan breads with reduced sugar, sodium and saturated-fats, he adds.
Portion-size also is managing waistlines and pocketbooks. “Foodservice, especially, is looking for petite-style breads for smaller sandwiches to achieve low-calorie counts of 200 to 300 calories on sandwiches,” Erasmus says. The trend appeals to health-conscious patrons, and establishments reduce costs because petite sandwiches require less filling.
On the retail end, organic artisan bread is in demand, but at a time when low prices also are important to consumers, the high cost could be a deterrent. Supermarkets that attract a health-conscious clientele, however, such as Whole Foods, have had success with organic artisan bread sales, Erasmus notes. Consumers aren't merely looking for inexpensive breads, they are seeking good value and good quality at a good price point, he adds.
Some companies offer take-and-bake artisan breads, sold in the freezer aisle for consumers to bake at home. These products could hold high appeal as consumers stock up on bread products with which to make sandwich lunches.
|Fresh Bread Brand Names||Dollar Sales||% Change Year Ago|
|Fresh Bread Brand Names||Unit Sales||% Change Year Ago|
|Fresh Bakery Products||52 weeks ended Feb. 22: $ Sales||% Change Prior Year||52 weeks ended Feb. 22: Unit Sales||% Change Prior Year|
|Pies (excl Snack Pies)||208,857,600||1.3||43,767,220||5.2|
|Frozen Bakery Products||52 weeks ended Feb. 22 $ Sales||% Change Prior Year||52 weeks ended Feb. 22: Unit Sales||% Change Prior Year|
|Sweetgoods (excl cheesecakes)||218,956,000||5.1||58,567,790||1.8|
|Refrigerated Bakery Products||52 weeks ended Feb. 22: $ Sales||% Change Prior Year||52 weeks ended Feb. 22: Unit Sales||% Change Prior Year|
|Cakes (excl Snack/Coffee)||72,405,750||0.2||9,285,009||3.7|
|Pies (excl Snack Pies)||23,330,850||4.6||4,174,885||10.4|
Source: Infoscan Reviews, Information Resources, Inc. (IRI)