Home News C-store bakery sales rise amid inflation: Trends, favourites and healthier options

C-store bakery sales rise amid inflation: Trends, favourites and healthier options

by Celia

The convenience store bakery sector encountered a distinctive blend of economic challenges and consumer behaviors in 2023. Despite a 2.1% decline in unit sales attributed to inflationary pressures, overall dollar sales surged by 6.3%, illuminating the intricate dynamics at play within bakery purchasing trends. Jack Ince from the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) identified inflation as the primary driver behind the decrease in unit sales while acknowledging the resilience displayed in dollar sales figures, emphasizing the multifaceted impact of economic factors on consumer decision-making within the bakery domain.

Analysis of Impulse Purchases and Popular Items

Findings from the 2023 Circana “Omnibus” survey by IDDBA revealed that 30% of consumers continue to engage in impulse bakery purchases as a means of self-reward, with an additional 29% doing so to treat others. This trend underscores the enduring appeal of small indulgences among shoppers, despite inflationary pressures. Notably, doughnuts and cookies, particularly those featuring innovative flavors and toppings, emerged as standout performers in this landscape. Dysart’s Travel Stops in Maine, for instance, have successfully capitalized on this trend with unique offerings such as pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and a diverse array of whoopie pies, garnering significant customer interest and highlighting the potential for convenience stores to drive sales through distinctive and enticing bakery products.

Evolving Preferences Towards Healthier Options

The bakery sector is witnessing a notable shift in consumer preferences towards healthier options, albeit with varying interpretations of what constitutes “healthier.” From sourdough and seeded loaves to portion-controlled treats like cupcakes, there is a broad spectrum of demand for products catering to diverse dietary needs and preferences. This evolving landscape reflects a nuanced consumer approach to health and indulgence, wherein traditional bakery items coexist harmoniously within a balanced diet. Dysart’s success in offering a diverse range of cookies and sweet breads further underscores the opportunity for retail bakeries to cater to varied consumer demands, striking a delicate balance between indulgence and healthier choices.

Adaptation to Economic and Consumer Trends

The mixed performance observed within the bakery category in 2023, characterized by the interplay between inflationary challenges and consumer indulgence, provides valuable insights for convenience stores and retail bakeries alike. By aligning their product offerings with emerging trends such as health consciousness and the demand for unique, indulgent products, businesses can effectively navigate economic pressures. The resilience demonstrated in dollar sales despite a decline in unit sales underscores the significance of adapting to evolving consumer preferences and economic realities, thereby ensuring the sustained appeal of bakery items within a dynamic market landscape.

Looking Ahead to 2024

As convenience stores and bakeries contemplate the year ahead, the lessons gleaned from the mixed performance of 2023 will be instrumental in shaping strategies that capitalize on evolving consumer trends while mitigating the impact of ongoing economic pressures. The enduring popularity of certain bakery items, coupled with the growing demand for healthier options, presents a dual pathway to growth, striking a balance between indulgence and well-being that resonates with today’s discerning consumers.

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