Baking & Snack - June 2020 - 37

TRENDS
Bagels

Consumers' return to comfort foods, and their interest in
better-for-you products, have bagel sales growing again.
by Nico Roesler

B

Bagels have long been the standard for a quick, satiating
snack that can be taken on the go. Their market success
has dismissed any need to reinvent the proverbial wheel,
but some bakers are finding new ways to capitalize on
the best aspects of this time-tested favorite.
Dollar sales for bagels were strong last year despite
fewer households stocking up on them. IRI data from
2019 shows that packaged bagels grew 4.5% in dollar
sales vs. 2018, outpacing the projected four-year CAGR
of 2.3%. Tim Grzebinski, principal, client insights, IRI,
said this growth was driven by an increase in dollars
spent per trip to the store even though household penetration dipped to 39.9%, down 1.2% from 2018.
Some of the top brands in terms of absolute dollar
growth were Thomas Bagels, Dave's Killer Bread and
Canyon Bakehouse, according to IRI.
However, bagels are still fighting those negative opinions about bread products, carbohydrates, gluten and
the perception that they are unhealthy. Innova Market
Insights reported that consumers still have mixed opinions of bread with a slightly higher percentage of people
saying they have decreased consumption. According to
a 2019 Innova category survey, the split is around 17%
saying they decreased consumption to around 14% who
say they have increased consumption.
"The bottom line is that bagels and other grain-based
products do have some nutritional baggage, which has
made things more challenging for product marketers,"
said Tom Vierhile, vice president, strategic insights for
North America, Innova Market Insights. "Worries over
gluten and carbohydrates are not helping things, and
neither are diet trends like paleo and keto."

Comfort mixed with wellness
People have a tendency toward loyalty with their favorite baked products. They have their favorite flavors and

brands that they'll return to again and again. Because
of that, Mr. Grzebinski said there weren't many blockbuster bagel launches recently. There have, however,
been subtle changes to familiar brands that target new
consumer groups and promote health benefits to their
loyal followers.
IRI sales data shows that the health-and-wellness
claims demonstrating the most growth in 2019 were
non-GMO, organic and gluten free.
"Low-sugar, low-carb, high-protein diets continue to
be popular," Mr. Grzebinski said.
As consumers return to a new normal, look for those
wellness trends to continue.
Clean label is another better-for-you buzzword
making an impact in the bagel market. Innova Market
research showed that introductions of bagels making a
"GMO-free" claim grew at a CAGR of 26% from 2016 to
2019. Mr. Vierhile said vegan claims also showed positive growth.
To bring people who might be turned off by the carbs
associated with bread products back to bagels, these
producers are cleaning up labels and increasing other
beneficial ingredients.
"Protein has a much greater influence on consumer
purchase decisions with 64% of Americans responding
that protein influences their purchase decision either 'a
lot' or 'quite a bit,' " Mr. Vierhile said. "The latter does offer bagel makers some latitude for innovation."
One example that's attracting those carb-fearing consumers is the Pagel by Bedrock Bakers, New York. It's a
paleo, vegan and gluten-free bagel that comes in Plain,
Everything, Sesame and Cinnamon Raisin varieties. The
Sesame Pagel offers 4 grams of protein per serving.
Another example is Van Nuys, Calif.-based Western
Bagel's Perfect 10 Maxx Healthy Grain Bagels. The company advertises the bagels as thick "like a full-size New

Bagels offer recognizable
comfort, and new
products now add betterfor-you attributes to
attract more consumers.
┬ęStockRaphy - stock.adobe.com

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Baking & Snack - June 2020

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