5 Deli and Bakery Consumer Spending Trends

by | Aug 17, 2022 | Food Trends

Bakery worker sorting and stocking baked goods to be sold to consumers.

Although deli and bakery goods fall mostly into the indulgent category of F&B development, the market remains poised to see healthy returns over the coming years. The same sentiments driving other sectors will apply to deli and bakery consumer trends where health, nutrition, and functional benefits may outweigh other factors like flavor and cost. Manufacturers and brands must balance sensory quality with better-for-you baked goods options to maintain growth and carve out a larger share of the $43 billion in sales available in the deli and bakery market. 

Supply chains are becoming nimble while innovative recipes allow even gluten-sensitive consumers to return to their favorite bakeries and delis. Along with these changes, automation is helping manufacturers to keep up with product demand for tasty alternatives and popular favorites from bakeries. Read on below to see the latest deli and bakery consumer trends driving spending in the industry.

Key Takeaways:

  • Consumers are turning to healthier options in 2022 and beyond while keeping sustainability in mind at the checkout counter
  • Alternative grains and flours, reduced sugar, and high-protein options will dominate sales in the coming years
  • The continued drive to reduce gluten and provide alternative baked goods that don’t compromise on flavor are seeing innovations driving bakery consumer trends

What Bakery Consumer Trends Are Driving Sales in 2022?

Societal shifts are driving most of the purchasing decisions of the modern consumer. With hybrid working models, at-home occasions continue to drive increased sales and consumption of snacks and baked goods. Additionally, families migrating to suburban settings mean shopping habits and fulfillment models change along with spending behavior. Some of the key developments that require the attention of bakers and delicatessens include:

  • Suburban and rural households have bigger pantries that make for larger purchases in store
  • Convenience for shoppers who work at home remains a key factor when making these larger purchases
  • Multipacks and variety assortments are popular with consumers who also want e-grocery or online shopping options

Graphic showing the change in people moving out of urban centers and into suburban centers that will drive bakery consumer trends

Image Courtesy of Legally Sociable

Along with these shifts in social behavior, there are labor shortages and supply chain disruptions to contend with. This means a shift into labor-light bakery and deli options can alleviate the workforce concerns while serving the demand from consumers. Launching turnkey products like bulk retail-ready or thaw-and-serve options can help bakers to keep customers satisfied while limiting the effort and time required for prepping and cooking items onsite. Below, we look at five major trends shaping the coming year for bakery and deli sales

1. Gluten-Free and Gluten Replacement Ingredients

A steady rise in consumers demanding gluten-free options from bakeries is coming to the fore. With 28% of U.S. consumers checking for gluten-free claims on bread, bakeries are looking for exciting alternative options for baked products. One example is from enzyme designer SternEnzym. The company enables manufacturers to produce tasty alternatives to bread, wafers, and other baked goods without compromising on product volume, crust, or freshness. Oats have also seen a resurgence due to the healthy beta-glucan fiber, increased protein levels, and mineral contents. 

2. Reduced Sugar and the Rise of Sweeteners

Another trend that emerged from health-conscious consumers is reducing sugar and a greater preference for organic or natural sweeteners in their goods. The global imperative is to reduce sugar intake, especially in baked goods, due to rising diabetes levels and other sugar-related health concerns. While this trend continues, only 4% of global bakery products make claims of low or reduced sugar. Bakeries are meeting this need by replacing sugar with maltooligosaccharides or adding alpha-cyclodextrin to their ingredients for cookies and bread to lower the glycemic index. These approaches provide the same signature tastes to the products while allowing bakers to add a reduced or no sugar label to items.

3. Higher Protein Content in Products

For general health, weight management, and exercise support, higher protein content appeals to a growing portion of consumers. From pancakes to waffles, high protein options resonate with consumers trying out diets like keto, where the amount of protein in each serving is the only factor that goes into the purchasing decision. Brands that want to increase sales to this segment of consumers have to provide the exact grams of protein per serving, and Country Harvest, Oroweat, and Kodiak Cakes all recently launched high-protein, low-carb options.

4. Sustainable Alternative Grains and Flours

The alternative products movement also reaches into the bakeries and delis of today. According to Innova Market Insights, sustainability is at the forefront of many consumer choices. Increased demand for alternative and organic grains to replace wheat in baked goods and grown under resilient conditions will become more attractive to consumers in the coming years. Everything from sustainable and organic buckwheat to barley allows bakers to substitute or blend recipes for these environmentally and socially conscious consumers. Advances in growing these crops include plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) that help increase crop production, resilience, and nutrient uptake.

PGPR improvements in crop production for sustainable growth with alternative grains

Image Courtesy of Frontiers

5. Better-for-You Options that Enhance Immunity

Health benefits remain at the top of bakery consumer trends. Better-for-you and organic options include ingredients you can add to baked goods like beta-glucan, turmeric, and probiotics that help boost immune systems. New recipes that include these compounds will attract those consumers who want to satisfy their appetite but also want to know that they are taking care of their body’s defense system. By pairing these options with healthier fats and oils, higher protein goods, and reduced sugar, bakeries can attract a large segment of consumers who are increasingly shopping with their future wellbeing in mind. 

Discover More Deli and Bakery Consumer Trends at SIAL America

At SIAL America, you can learn more about the bakery and deli industry trends from other industry innovators. As consumers are using their buying power to effect change across the F&B market, embracing these trends can help manufacturers to attract new customers, increase sales, and provide healthier, sustainable alternatives to shoppers. 

For more deli and bakery consumer trends, read our blog here or register to attend our next SIAL America show in 2023.