Baking & Snack - May 2018 - 51


Summertime sales spikes have bun companies looking for more ways to move the needle north.
by Nico Roesler


Buns have long been a vessel for many popular foods.
They are portable, accessible and easily paired with hot
dogs, hamburgers and sandwiches. But a sizable percentage of sales occurs on seasonal waves. There is always a spike as summer holidays approach, and many
companies depend on those sales bumps. However, in
today's market, buns face some stiff headwinds.
Premiumization and ethnic influences are changing
the way consumers see sandwiches. No longer do they
have to use a bun or roll; they can be wrapped or stuffed
into a pita pocket. Buns must also compete with perceived healthier alternatives with reduced carbohydrates
and other nutritional benefits. These factors have created
an uncertain market for bun producers over the past
two years, according to Wade Henson, principal with
Technomic. Mr. Henson cited three factors driving the
bun market: flat sales at quick-service restaurants lead
many leading chains to implement cost control measures; the introduction of "healthier" bun alternatives
challenges traditional products' previous growth; and
the success of select sweeter or spicier buns appeals to
consumers' cravings for new flavor profiles.
ACE Bakery, Mississauga, ON, a Weston Foods brand,

adjusted to the winds of change and created a strategy to
producing buns that appeals to the shifting market. "The
expansion of globally influenced foods is elevating the bun
industry and providing a different perspective on the everyday bun," said Nicole Pekerman, director of marking,
Weston Foods, Toronto. "There has been an influx of street
food culture, creating a desire for portable sandwiches with
different globally inspired flavors."
Reaching consumers with shifting tastes might require
bakers to make some slight adjustments in the sails to
catch the right breeze and capitalize on current trends.

Summer is on its way, and
bun producers say it's
one of the most important
times of the year.
Joshua Resnick -

Watching the horizon
During the past year, sales figures for rolls and hamburger and hot dog buns have remained flat, and unit
sales for this category have decreased slightly, according
to data from IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.
The numbers show that dollar sales for all fresh rolls,
bun and croissants increased just 1% to $2.2 billion for
the 52 weeks ending Feb. 25, 2018. Hot dog and hamburger buns, however, dropped 1.2% to $1.9 billion.
These sales numbers may be influenced by the fact that
people are eating out more today than in the past. But / May 2018 Baking & Snack 51

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