Baking & Snack - July 2020 - 35

TRENDS
Pastry

From the pandemic to an unprecedented economic downturn,
pastry producers have their work cut out for them.
by Joanie Spencer

P

Pastry producers can take comfort in something:
Americans have a sweet tooth. As consumers seek ways
to soothe themselves during troubling times, creators of
these sweet baked goods must rely on creativity, endurance and commitment to innovation, even if the odds
seem to be stacked against them.
"Trying to paint a picture of the pastry marketplace has
proven difficult due the pandemic," said David Skinner,
marketing manager, James Skinner Baking Co., Omaha.
When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit,
consumers went haywire for a bit, and that threw bakery
production into a tailspin. But that was only the beginning ... the road ahead is going to be a long one.
"We're seeing a muddled picture as we witness so
many additional influential variables," Mr. Skinner said.
"When we assess performance of a certain pastry product, we have to look at influences such as availability,
panic buying, e-commerce presentation, stimulus check
surge, inflation indexes, demographical economic situations and more. The list goes on, and the situation seemingly changes weekly."
The landscape for pastry trends is shifting quickly,
and it's hard to see the results of it right away, especially
in terms of predicting the viability for new product
launches. That creates a conundrum for pastry bakers ...
at least the ones without a crystal ball, that is.

"There's a delay for us reporting products," said
Tom Vierhile, vice president, strategic insights, North
America, Innova Market Insights, a research firm that
tracks new product launches. "The pandemic happened
in mid-March, and we're just now starting to see it show
up in the new product numbers. So, 2020 may be a
rough year, but it really depends on how things go over
the next few months."
That said, companies like Chicago-based Gold
Standard Baking Co. are forging ahead in R&D to navigate shifting consumer trends and people's propensity to
indulge.
"I don't think there's been a massive change in consumer behavior on the consumption of sweet baked
goods," said Haq Chaudary, chief commercial officer and
general manager, Gold Standard. "The American population, in general, has a sweet tooth. I have three kids,
and I can testify to that."

American consumers'
sweet tooth often kicks
in during troubling times,
which opens the door for
opportunities in pastry
product development.
┬ęKati Finell - stock.adobe.com

Capitalizing on comfort food
Before COVID-19 turned the world on its head, consumers were ramping their preferences up a notch,
prompting pastry bakers to up their game in response.
"Upscale, European-style quality type of products
have made it to the US, and the consumer has become very educated, whether it's in foodservice or the

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Baking & Snack - July 2020

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