Baked goods have always provided nostalgic comfort, but today's new offerings also deliver premium twists, global flavor adventure, and never-before-seen convenience, according to the "Baked Goods: Culinary Trend Mapping Report" from Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and leading market research publisher Packaged Facts.

Found in nearly every channel, these newsworthy sweet and savory baked foods nurture, indulge, and satisfy the modern consumer, even those with dietary restrictions.

"Despite economic challenges, baked good sales have grown in the last few years," says Kimberly Egan, CEO of CCD. "Consumers continue to connect with affordable baked goodness for the comfort it delivers, a comfort experience that now comes in many more varieties, shapes, and sizes to meet everyone's needs."

Using CCD's proprietary trend mapping process, this report profiles seven emerging and arriving trends to provide an exciting view of what's making news in the baked good category and to offer strategic translations for baked good product development.

Emerging Stage 1 trends include micro-patisseries, a younger, hipper version of the main street bake shop. These bakeries offer premium, artisan-crafted goods made from local and seasonal ingredients, enlivened with global flavor touches, and alfajores, the delectable Latin American sandwich cookie filled with creamy dulce de leche, found at farmers' markets and from Latin American bakers online.

Classic American popovers are making a welcome comeback at Stage 2, along with a French cousin, the cheesey cream puffs called gougères. Found in restaurant breadbaskets and on menus stuffed and served as snacks, these savory puffs can be flavored in a host of cravable ways.

Convenience drives Stage 3 trends as consumers seek and find impressive ways to bring the joy of making and tasting baked treats at home with specialty frozen desserts and better baking mixes now available more widely and in more sophisticated flavors and types.   

Pretzel-mania is hitting consumers who are discovering updated, hand-crafted pretzels in restaurants and bakeries, as well as flavored and stuffed pretzels in the freeze aisle and in specialty shops, all reminding us of the satisfaction a pretzel's salty chew can give.

Gluten-free baked goods have gone mainstream as new formulations for pizza, doughnuts, cookies, and bread fill the aisles of both natural and mainstream grocery stores, thanks to efforts from major brands as well as natural bakeries.

Among these trends are fresh ideas for manufacturers and restaurant operators to enliven stale offerings, spruce up the breadbasket, and add excitement to both the baking aisle and freezer case.

Consumer Trends, Desserts, Emerging Concepts, Menu Innovations, News