KANSAS CITY — Even as they scrambled to maintain grocery store cabinets stuffed, promoting extra bread than ever in lots of cases bakers over the previous year have been planning for the long run. A future after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rather than add to their product strains, many bakers have been compelled for components or a lot of the previous year to cut back stock-keeping items with a view to streamline operations, maximize manufacturing and maintain grocery store cabinets stuffed. This stress eased because the year progressed, and nearly all bakers in 2020 both launched new products or deliberate for vital new product introductions for 2021 or past.
Sales of contemporary bread totaled $10.1 billion within the 52 weeks ended Jan. 24, in line with information from Information Resources, Inc., up 10% from a year earlier. Unit gross sales have been up 6%. Each of the highest baking corporations tracked by IRI loved larger branded gross sales over the previous year, capturing share from personal label, which declined 5% in greenback gross sales and seven% in unit gross sales.
Among the main bakers, Martins Famous Pastry Shoppe Inc. skilled the widest good points, up 34% in greenback gross sales and 31% in unit gross sales. But even the biggest bakers scored double-digit good points, with the US enterprise of Grupo Bimbo up 13%; Flowers Foods, up 16% and Pepperidge Farm, Inc., up 12%.
Private label continued to guide the class as measured by unit rely. At 1.037 billion items, personal label was 14% bigger than the 910 million items bought throughout the year by Bimbo.
Take & Bake line strong for La Brea
Overall new product introductions within the bread class have been down final year, however the impact was particularly pronounced for suppliers of in-store bakeries, mentioned Christine Prociv, senior vp of selling, innovation and analysis and improvement for Aryzta North America in Chicago.
While the difficulties skilled by in-store bakeries represented a problem in 2020 for Aryzta’s La Brea enterprise due to the pandemic, the year introduced positives as effectively. Even earlier than COVID-19, the corporate was putting larger emphasis on constructing its Take & Bake model, a par baked loaf completed at dwelling with 8 to 10 minutes within the oven, Ms. Prociv mentioned.
“In 2019 we had begun optimizing the Take & Bake product line to better solve consumer needs, focusing on rolls and demi baguettes,” she mentioned. “Then as consumer demand for our Take & Bake breads increased during COVID, we enhanced automation at our bakery in late 2020 and will be launching our new breads within this portfolio shortly.”
Ms. Prociv mentioned the panorama for new product introductions this year is extra engaging than has been the case in a while.
“Bread experienced a resurgence in 2020 because of the pandemic,” she mentioned.
Still, the challenges posed suppliers of in-store bakeries like La Brea have been formidable, Ms. Prociv mentioned.
“Our customers essentially were not taking appointments during COVID and were not taking new items,” she mentioned. “They were going the other way, with stock-keeping unit rationalizations. Everyone was facing supply chain constraints during COVID.”
La Brea had entered 2020 with plans to increase the Take & Bake line of baguettes, ciabattas and different bread and roll varieties, plans that have been postpone till 2021 as have been deliberate limited-time presents.
Unable to introduce new products, La Brea “refreshed” a lot of its core products with quite a few adjustments. For occasion, the ends of the corporate’s widespread French baguettes have been tapered and flour dusting was added. The bread’s inside was lightened and hydration was elevated. Other products up to date included a French loaf (lighter inside, darker bake and flour dusting), Italian spherical (deeper rating, elevated hydration, darker bake and flour dusting), sourdough loaf (darker bake and rising scoring) and complete wheat grain loaf (topped with seeds and grains).
The 5 refreshed products account for 62% of the corporate’s artisan bread gross sales. La Brea mentioned the adjustments have been meant to boost shopper notion of authenticity and freshness.
The products have been renovated to “keep them interesting and enhance the artisanal heritage, yet leaving the core recipes as is,” Ms. Prociv mentioned.
She mentioned La Brea’s actions in 2020 have been aimed on the twin targets of retaining customers engaged and in addition, amid unusually heavy demand, retaining grocery store cabinets stocked.
“La Brea Bakery has also focused on expanding the availability of our breads to include more grocery store partners on a nationwide scale,” she mentioned. “We also enhanced the packaging graphics across all of our portfolios, which was completed in 2020. The innovative new look of our packaging offers more information for consumers — including flavor profiles, recipe suggestions, wine and beer pairings — plus a slightly updated logo.”
Challenges associated to the pandemic prolonged to products launched in 2019, Ms. Prociv mentioned. New petite loaves have been launched at the moment to satisfy the wants of smaller households. After briefly “experimenting” with the product, they have been withdrawn in 2020.
“We know there is a need for smaller households,” Ms. Prociv mentioned. “People don’t want their bread to go bad. We need to spend a little more time fine-tuning the line and will bring it back this year.”
Without divulging particulars of different gadgets to be launched this year, Ms. Prociv advised sourdough-based products possible can be included.
“Our Sourdough loaves and our Take & Bake breads were by far La Brea Bakery’s top performers,” she mentioned. “In fact, this year, our Country White Sourdough has overtaken our Whole Grain as our No. 2 behind the French baguette at Kroger. I’m sure it’s based on all the press around sourdough, its nutritional benefits and home bakers who have now re-acquired a taste for sourdough while realizing that it really is a significant amount of work.”
Anecdotally emphasizing the latter level, Ms. Prociv mentioned she has mates who proceed to feed their sourdough starter.
“But they aren’t baking as much bread,” she mentioned.
Adding to the enchantment of sourdough bread are immunity advantages it’s believed to consult with prebiotics naturally occurring by means of the yeast, she mentioned.
“More and more consumers are aware that 70% to 80% of the body’s immunity is in the digestive tract,” she mentioned.
Additionally, sourdough is believed to supply intestine well being advantages, with naturally decrease ranges of gluten, making the products extra simply digestible, she added.
Asked whether or not 2020 was a breakthrough year for sourdough, Ms. Prociv was emphatic.
“Absolutely!” she mentioned. “The data show it. Our sourdough loaf is up 28% versus a year ago. That’s huge. Where some people didn’t like the taste, that is changing. Add on top of that the nutritional benefits related to immunity and gut health. When they baked bread, everyone was talking. I really think their palates have changed or adapted.”
To succeed going ahead, La Brea and different bakers might want to adapt to rising shopper considerations about sanitation and hygiene, Ms. Prociv mentioned.
“On the in-store front, consumers wanted to know which companies were keeping their employees safe while producing safely packaged foods easily available to grab at the grocery store,” she mentioned.
This sanitation concern is heightened for in-store bakeries, a lot of which historically have had loaves or different products partly or full unwrapped. Products on decrease cabinets typically have been inside attain of the exploring (and never essentially clear) palms of younger youngsters. Such product preparations largely got here to an finish with the pandemic.
“With consumers spending more time at home this past year and food safety a key concern, our Take & Bake breads — which are packaged entirely enclosed — have steadily increased in sales,” she mentioned.
New types of Take & Bake are anticipated to be launched “very shortly,” she mentioned
Fully closing the Take & Bake line doesn’t adversely have an effect on high quality, because the crust crispens when heated within the oven, Ms. Prociv mentioned. She mentioned La Brea is wanting for packaging options for its different products that present extra full closure however with out giving up high quality.
Flowers specializing in bun extensions
For Flowers Foods, Inc., Thomasville, Ga., 2020 was a year for a number of product line extensions, and extra can be forthcoming in 2021.
After the profitable 2019 launch of Nature’s Own Perfectly Crafted Brioche Style bread, Flowers in 2020 expanded the idea to hamburger and sizzling canine buns and butter rolls, mentioned Brent Bradshaw, senior vp, core manufacturers. The line incorporates a brioche-style texture and a subtly candy taste.
“Through extensive consumer research we had learned how consumers use our products and what needs we could meet, and we saw a real opportunity with this expansion,” Mr. Bradshaw mentioned. “We also have engaged consumers with online recipes, offering them a little of inspiration and confidence to elevate meals or learn fun and innovative ways to use these products. Overall, we have been very pleased with the growth of the Perfectly Crafted line.”
He mentioned the buns and rolls have had strong trial and repeat. The whole line has no synthetic preservatives, colours or flavors and in addition is Non-GMO Project verified.
This year, the Perfectly Crafted line will develop with the addition of a gentle rye.
“It will feature a flour-dusted crust, soft, thick slices consumers know and love from Perfectly Crafted, and an authentic, balanced rye flavor,” Mr. Bradshaw mentioned. “Consumer research and in-home usage testing showed high interest from consumers who are currently buying or interested in buying rye and this was an area where we were underrepresented.”
In 2020, Flowers launched a pair of bun varieties underneath the Dave’s Killer Bread manufacturers. Dan Letchinger, senior vp, progress manufacturers, mentioned buns for years had been atop the checklist of products DKB clients, dubbed “Breadheads,” had sought.
“Knowing that this category is dominated by economically priced white buns, we wondered if consumers would pay a premium price for the organic, whole grain nutrition for which the DKB brand is known and loved,” he mentioned. “After more than a year of extensive consumer research and our own R&D, we confidently launched two killer hamburger buns, with flavors that are a nod to two of our best-selling loaf breads: 21 Whole Grains and Seeds Bun, and Burger Buns Done Right.”
The launch was essentially the most profitable in DKB’s historical past, Mr. Letchinger mentioned, simply beating the corporate’s objectives.
Rye bread is also slated for a brand new product introduction underneath the Dave’s Killer Bread model.
“Over the years, we have often heard from Dave’s Killer Bread loyal fan base that a rye bread would be a great addition to the DKB loaf bread line-up,” Mr. Letchinger mentioned.
The product will launch this spring and is “anything but ordinary,” he added.
Named Righteous Rye, Mr. Letchinger mentioned it incorporates a seed-coated crust for crunch, and a definite caraway taste balanced with a little bit of sweetness. Each slice has 10 grams of complete grains and a marbled dough.
Buns additionally have been seen at Flowers as a possibility for the gluten-free class, and Canyon Bakehouse Burger buns have been launched in spring 2020, Mr. Letchinger mentioned. He mentioned there are numerous product areas during which gluten-free suppliers are ”enjoying catch up.”
“In this relatively underdeveloped segment of the gluten-free bread category, something as simple as a burger bun can have a tremendous impact when it lives up to the expectations of great taste, wholesome, high-quality ingredients, while also being able to hold up to many burger toppings,” Mr. Letchinger mentioned. “Given the success of our product extensions beyond loaf bread, including bagels and English muffins, launching a burger bun was a natural fit for the Canyon Bakehouse brand.”
The buns are provided underneath the Canyon Bakehouse Stay-Fresh line, which makes use of modified environment packaging (MAP) expertise to increase the freshness and shelf-life within the contemporary bread aisle. The same hamburger bun is bought within the freezer aisle.
“Having both options allows retailers to sell a gluten-free bun in the two parts of the store where gluten-free consumers shop the most,” Mr. Letchinger mentioned.
This coming spring, Flowers will introduce two new gluten-free bread products underneath the Canyon Bakehouse model — a sub roll and a Hawaiian candy 18-oz loaf. Mr. Letchinger described the sub as a complement to the hamburger buns, appropriate for sandwiches and meal makes use of.
“We’ve had tremendous success with our similar Hawaiian Sweet bread in Stay-Fresh shelf packaging, and this launch is an expansion to the freezer where we’ll be able to reach more consumers,” he mentioned. “In the gluten-free category, the Hawaiian sweet bread flavor is unique to Canyon and will add another offering to our current frozen 18-oz loaf lineup, including our No. 1 and No. 2 gluten-free loaves, Mountain White and 7-Grain.”
Bimbo steps up innovation late in ‘20
Quiet through much of 2020, Bimbo Bakeries USA stepped up its new product introductions late in the year. In October, BBU announced it was partnering with Land O’Lakes, Inc. to introduce Arnold, Brownberry and Oroweat branded Country Style Butter Bread baked with Land O’Lakes butter. BBU mentioned the road is baked with easy components, together with complete milk and sea salt and is free from synthetic preservatives, colours and flavors.
“As the largest premium bread brand in the country, we are delighted to partner with the leading branded butter, Land O’Lakes, to elevate a classic pairing,” mentioned Jessica Grane, advertising director of premium and artisan bread at BBU, a subsidiary of Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV. “This strategic alliance brings America’s favorite butter to the bread aisle and is sure to become a household staple.”
Also in October, BBU introduced it was rolling out The Rustik Oven signature artisan bread line nationwide. The roll out marked an growth following a take a look at advertising of the road in California since 2019. The Rustik Oven is accessible in three varieties — Sourdough, Artisan White, and Hearty Grains and Seeds. The bread is Non-GMO Project verified and made with none synthetic colours or flavors. Produced with a sourdough starter, The Rustik Oven bread is baked slowly in a stone oven, guaranteeing even baking and permitting the loaf to develop a agency, golden crust. The sourdough selection ferments 24 hours earlier than baking.
“For so long, we heard our consumers’ feedback over the struggle of choosing between the superior quality of bread from their favorite local bakery and the longer shelf life and convenience of bread from a grocery store,” Ms. Grane mentioned. “Thanks to our signature baking process, we’re proud to bring this unique offering to the artisan bread category and offer our fans the taste that they love in a more convenient way.”
A month later, BBU launched Sara Lee Artesano Potato Bakery Bread. The bread options thick slices containing sea salt, butter and the flavour of potato bread. BBU mentioned the introduction was prompted by analysis displaying customers gravitating towards extra savory bread varieties, together with brioche and potato.
“With potato bread becoming a growing go-to for the American consumer, Sara Lee is thrilled to add this favorite to our family of varieties,” mentioned Ben Buch, advertising director of Sara Lee Bread. “We hope this new addition to our Artesano Bakery breads portfolio will spark inspiration for new family-favorite recipes this fall and winter as they indulge in the flavors of the season.”
BBU launched the Artesano model within the United States in 2015 underneath the Sara Lee banner. The product, which originated in Bimbo’s enterprise in Colombia, has loved nice success over the previous 5 years.
Reflecting the persistent prevalence of carbohydrate avoidance, BBU in January expanded its Sara Lee Delightful line with a brand new selection — Sara Lee Delightful White Made with Whole Grain. The firm described the bread as “keto-friendly.” It comprises 6 grams of internet carbs per slice and 12 grams of internet carbs per two-slice serving. The bread options 90 energy per two-slice serving. The Delightful line was launched in 2003 by Sara Lee amid one other wave of carbohydrate avoidance.
In addition to its all-new selection, BBU has refreshed the packaging of Sara Lee Delightful to characteristic clear and vibrant colours that mirror the simplicity of the premium product.
“As 2021 kicks off, we at Sara Lee know that diet-based New Year’s resolutions are top-of-mind for many consumers who are looking to start the year off on a healthier note,” Mr. Buch mentioned. “With a sleek new look for our Delightful packaging and a delicious new variety, we’re proud to continue providing our fans with flavorful options that are made with whole grain and prove healthy can be delicious, too.”