Customer purchase trends impact how you stock supermarket shelves, but they should also be considered when selecting your kitchen equipment. This year is evidence that purchasing behavior can change overnight. Is your oven equipped to deliver?
With more shoppers opting for grab ‘n go and ready-made meals, as well as “mini indulgence” trends in the bakery, you should select an oven with versatility to remain competitive.
Shoppers used to purchase fresh bread, bagels, croissants, muffins and doughnuts through self-serve cases. Now, they seek baked goods that are individually packaged to avoid cross contamination.
Prepackaging bakery items adds an extra step for your staff. But, it supports a growing trend for smaller portions and eating on-the-go, like a single packaged bagel.
Food trend predictions also show a desire for artisanal bakery items that are low in added chemicals and preservatives. There is heightened interest in ethnic flavors, sprouted bread, and food with a “story,” like ancient grains.
Ancient grains like millet, barley, bulgar, farro, buckwheat and chia, are rooted in history, as they have remained unchanged for hundreds of years. Many shoppers seek ancient grains to follow an ancestral diet.
To support gluten-free dietary restrictions, there is greater demand on bakeries to use alternative flours such as oat, almond and rice flour in recipes. There is even a push for fruit and vegetable-based flours for a grain-free alternative, including sweet potato, coffee, mango, cassava and banana flour.
Bakery desserts are also undergoing a change. Sweet baked goods have always prompted impulse purchases. Now, there is greater emphasis on presentation, as buyers want to “share” their treats on social media.
Shoppers are also looking for “permissible indulgence” through small and mini-size offerings, said Jordan Beazley, global consumer insights associate at General Mills Convenience and Foodservice in an article. This trend prompted Pillsbury to introduce mini cinnamon rolls, which satisfies the desire for bite-sized and on-the-go indulgence.
Foodservice directors can implement this trend in their bakery with bite-sized brownies, single slices of pie, four-inch cheesecakes and mousse in a shot glass. By dividing their products into smaller portion sizes, bakers can increase volume while maintaining production.
For years, convenience has dominated food trends. As consumers get busier, they have less time for meal prep and cooking. This has inspired many grocery stores to prepare heat-and-eat dinners and grab-and-go meals.
Deli sandwiches, wraps, sushi, salads, pasta bowls and fruit have always been staples for grab-and-go. To give these quick meals a trendy upgrade, integrate plant-based protein in your food court. Vegan and plant-based diets are on the rise. Retail sales of plant-based foods increased 11 percent from 2018 to 2019, reaching a market value of $4.5 billion.
Try tofu on salads, hummus on wraps and beans in pasta salad to diversify your offerings and remain competitive with vegan and plant-based eaters.
As eager as shoppers are to eat more healthily, supermarkets shouldn’t neglect the need for comfort food in their ready-made meals as well. Meatloaf, pasta, mac ‘n cheese, fried chicken, jackfruit barbecue sliders, mashed potatoes, pot pie, broiled shrimp and rotisserie chicken are classic, family-style meals shoppers seek for an easy and delicious dinner.
These comforting classics can also serve the grab-and-go customer with wings, hearty soups, pizza by-the-slice and all-day breakfast.
Integrating these food trends into your grocery store’s bakery, deli section and food court keeps you a step ahead of competitors and aligned with your customer’s needs. By prioritizing the right kitchen equipment, you ensure long-term success, no matter how trends change.
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