KANSAS CITY - The instore bakery department has “yet to return to normal,” said Todd Hale, principal at Cincinnati-based Todd Hale LLC, noting this part of the business has underperformed during the crisis. This department can make progress through new spins on popular pre-COVID-19 trends, he added.
“There had been a lot of demand for single-serve items like bagels or cookies. So how about more packaged single-serve?”
Consumers are unlikely to completely abandon their new home-based behaviors when the COVID-19 crisis is over, Hale predicted, referring to at-home baking and cooking.
“I don’t think people will become weary of cooking and entertaining at home,” he said. “It will continue to be a growth engine. I would suggest more advertising that helps continue to fill demand around the enjoyment of eating at home and family togetherness.”
Digital marketing has the potential to fuel momentum for bread and baked goods, said Hale. He pointed to an 8% average weekly growth rate for these categories in the latest eight weeks, not including impacts from the Labor Day period.
“How do you keep this going?” he asked. “Can you be creative with digital engagement? What’s in your innovation basket to fuel growth?”
Hale urged bakers to make investments that position their businesses for the future, despite near-term challenges.
“Don’t sit on the sidelines and think you can win,” he said. “Companies that invest during a recession come out ahead.”
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