Seeking Comfort Through Baking in Times of COVID

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From retail bakeries, to pizzerias to restaurants to consumers — everyone is looking for comfort in these uncertain times. Food is the quintessential way to soothe, both in preparation and enjoyment. In fact, 33 percent of consumers told Datassential that they were eating comfort foods more often now than before COVID. The way to the heart is through the stomach, and the LloydPans innovation team rounded up the top comfort food baking trends making their way through America.

Indulgent Baked Goods, i.e. Chocolate!

It comes as no surprise that indulgent baking sales are rising, Confectionary News reports, as 70% of consumers “admit to purchasing more comfort food now than in previous months.” Chocolate is king during stressful times, along with childhood indulgences that take consumers back to their roots. Cinnamon rolls, s’mores and personalized birthday cakes in particular are trending through the summer, with no signs of stopping through the end of 2020. 

Innovation

With an economy that’s slowly reopening, c-stores are seeing sales of single-serve and individually-wrapped pastries, muffins and sweet goods on a slight incline. There’s a fresh window of opportunity for competition in this space, and restaurants, bakers and pastry chefs are heading to social media to begin to get the word out. Nutrition company Kerry shared some of the more fun ways professionals are giving the shout out, from sharing mouthwatering photos to live baking demonstrations to safety videos outlining how takeout and delivery orders are being handled. For example, chef and baker Christina Tosi, Milk Bar founder, launched a free baking club on Instagram posting tips for home cooks and follow-along recipes. New York-based Supermoon Bakehouse launched a “weekend care pack” for delivery or carry out. Care pack inclusions have ranged from sourdough bread and assortments of baked goods like doughnuts and cookies. 

Pastry

Baking Business notes “the landscape for pastry trends is shifting quickly,” with unpredictable factors and variables like panic buying, availability, inflation indexes, economical situations and more taking over, “creating a conundrum for pastry bakers.” Haq Chaudary, chief commercial officer and general manager of Gold Standard Baking Co., told Baking Business that there’s not too much of a massive change in consumer behavior when it comes to the consumption of sweet baked goods. “The American population, in general, has a sweet tooth.”

Trends in the pastry industry include upsale, European-style quality products made of fine, indulgent ingredients — but perhaps with a twist: the bite size. Consumers feel less guilty with a smaller portion size, so they’re getting the best of both worlds with an indulgent baked good in a fun size. Bakeries that are transparent with more educated consumers will shine, as Americans are becoming savvier about ingredients that go into products. And, they’re making their purchase decisions based on ingredients, even if they’re butter and sugar. 

Plant-Based Pizza

Pizza provides comfort, says CSPDailyNews.com, and we couldn’t agree more. Even though consumers are eating for comfort, 25% told Datassential that they were eating healthy and better-for-you foods more often than they were before COVID. Although pizza can be indulgent and comforting, plant-based pizza can be a happy medium. CSPDailyNews.com reports that 63% of consumers are choosing pizza when asked what food they’re ordering at restaurants, and 51% said they are opting for plant-based foods. They cited concerns about safety, transparency and clean-label offerings free of artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils as top reasons for the choice. Pizza serves up a bevy of positive attributes. It’s wonderful to eat with family and friends; great for takeout and, thanks to plant-based trends, allows for an endless supply of delicious topping choices.

Ready to provide your customers with extra comfort? Don’t forget LloydPans as your bakeware provider. We’re here to provide comfort right back.

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