bakery products on wooden sandwich board

What's New in the Bakery Aisle for 2021?

The past year has driven renewed demand for foods that offer benefits like convenience, comfort, or healthy nutrition. These effects are being seen throughout the grocery store—impacting even consumer choices in bakery aisle staples like bread. Here we explore some of the bakery trends growing in 2021 and what food manufacturers can do to meet these needs.

2021 Bakery Trends

New bakery aisle launches took a hit last year due to COVID-19 as manufacturers worked to keep up with increased demands for traditional staples like bread, as well as breakfast items like donuts and bagels that consumers used to get during their morning coffee shop run. While this shift in gears meant fewer new product launches, certain trends can still be discerned in the bakery aisle.

Prior bakery trends in health, convenience, and sustainability have not gone away. In fact, COVID-19 has brought a heightened awareness of the role of foods and ingredients in health and wellness. In addition, with more consumers at home, bakery aisle foods have been especially valued for their convenience by providing quick and easy meal options for the whole family (like toast at breakfast and lunchtime sandwiches) that are also familiar and comforting.

couple eating bakery products at table

While surging demand for indulgent, sweet treats during COVID can be seen in bakery purchases in the cookie aisle and the in-store bakery department, consumers are approaching center aisle bakery purchases more thoughtfully, with an eye on nutrition, health benefits, and sustainability. With this in mind, here’s a look at 2021’s bakery aisle trends:

1. Low-Carb Breads

One of the most notable bakery trends is the uptick in breads with front-of-package carb claims—particularly low carb and zero net carbs—to appeal to keto consumers and other dieters. As consumers work to shed those lockdown pounds, staple foods like bread are expected to play an important role. Increasingly, manufacturers are boosting the protein and fiber of their breads to help get those carb levels down. 

2. Grain-Free Bagels

While the innovation of gluten-free breads directly addressed the needs of consumers with gluten sensitivities, some companies went a step further with grain-free breads to attract a wider range of consumers—from gluten-intolerant to diabetic to paleo consumers. Now, grain-free bagels are on the rise, offering a convenient breakfast option for these consumers. Grain-free baking relies on ingredients such as almond, coconut, cassava, and chickpea flours, as well as tapioca starch.

3. Superfood Inclusions

With health top-of-mind for consumers due to COVID, foods with beneficial ingredients can stand out on the shelves. Healthy superfood inclusions like quinoa and flaxseed, as well as the incorporation of fruit or vegetable powders, can create a better-for-you bread that offers consumers the nutrition boost they’re seeking. The addition of a custom premix can further boost vitamin and mineral levels to ensure the product can make a good or excellent source claim.

bakery ingredients on table

4. Vegan Breads

Vegan bread is another emerging trend to watch in 2021. Consumers’ growing preference for sustainable, plant-based products, combined with a rise in mindful consumption, is leading to a greater awareness of product ingredients. The surge in home baking during the COVID lockdown has also allowed many consumers to explore alternative, plant-based ingredients firsthand. As more consumers check their bread labels for egg and dairy, expect more manufacturers to look into alternative baking ingredients, such as plant-based emulsifiers and binders.

Rising to the Occasion

As things begin to return to normal this year and innovation gets back on track, bakery products will continue to play a key role in supporting consumers’ health and weight management goals. Manufacturers can rise to the occasion by focusing on healthy formulations and nutritious ingredients for 2021.

We have decades of bakery formulation experience with a portfolio consisting of a wide range of functional and nutritional bakery ingredient systems, including clean label ingredients, natural mold inhibitors, dough improvers, crumb softeners, shelf life extenders, bread and flour enrichments, and gluten-free and plant-based solutions. Our mixes and bases contain a blend of ingredients for use in specific bakery applications. Collaborate with us and see how we can help you develop bakery products that are sure to entice and nourish your customers. 

Explore trends in bakery for 2022

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