As a result of the pandemic, in-store bakery went from occasion-based to everyday-based, observes Jonna Parker, principal with IRI’s Fresh Center of Excellence. With no one celebrating Mother’s Day, graduations and the Fourth of July with large gatherings, cake sales dried up during what is traditionally its hottest season. But the in-store bakery pivoted and put forth items like breads and rolls, sales of which are up 4.2%, along with offerings like cookies and brownies that aren’t necessarily perceived as special occasion. And while IRI reports sales of specialty desserts are down nearly 20%, sales of English muffins are up by nearly the same percentage.
“It’s similar to what we saw in the 2008 recession, people are willing to spend $3 to $4 on an artisan Asiago freshly baked bread at their local grocer. High-end specialty breads are growing, driven by a desire to elevate the everyday experience,” says Parker. And given that breakfast is doing so well in the perimeter, sales of bagels are also strong.
Through a focus on making each day special with baked goods, the bakery department garnered dollar sales of $33.8 billion for the year ending Aug. 9, according to IRI.