MINNEAPOLIS — The ongoing pandemic has sparked a rise in consumers’ cravings for familiar comfort foods and indulgent items, according to a recent survey. Specifically, more than one-quarter of Americans (26%) said they are craving more baked goods than they normally would over the past six months.
And more than one in four Americans (28%) are eating more baked goods as a result of the pandemic over the past six months, according to the nationwide survey conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by General Mills Foodservice.
Items such as cookies (57%), bread (50%) and cake (42%) top the list of baked goods Americans have been eating as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past six months, according to the survey.
The nationwide poll surveyed more than 2,000 adults ages 18 and older to learn how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their cravings and eating behavior, both at home and when dining outside of the home.
“Most of us have been baking more at home during the pandemic, but there are ways restaurants and foodservice operations can meet consumers’ cravings for baked goods,” said Kelley Walhof, a marketing strategist for General Mills Foodservice. “Whether it’s promoting that items are baked fresh onsite, sharing free samples or offering add-ons like an extra loaf of bread or a dozen cookies to take home and enjoy later, the poll gives a glimpse into consumers motivations for purchasing baked goods when dining out.”
Results from the poll show that among consumers who are eating more baked goods in the past six months as a result of COVID-19 are doing so because they crave sweet things (48%), to get a sense of comfort (42%) or induce happiness (41%). More than a quarter (27%) said it is because they are giving themselves permission to indulge right now.
Highlights about consumers’ appetite for baked goods:
- Nearly three quarters of Americans (73%) say that when dining out, they would like to beable to purchase bakery items to take home and enjoy later (for example, an extra loaf of bread; adozen cookies, muffins or biscuits; or a family-style dessert).
- About two-thirds of Americans (68%) are more tempted to buy baked goods when diningout if they know they are baked fresh onsite than if they are prepared offsite.
- Seventy-seven percent said both the smell of fresh baked items and seeing fresh baked itemson display has enticed them to purchased baked goods.
- Over two thirds (67%) of Americans say that being offered a free sample of fresh bakedgoods has enticed them to buy baked goods.
Minneapolis-based General Mills and its Pillsbury brand offered these tips to bake up more sales:
- Give patrons more of what they want by menuing a variety of the top baked goods that consumers are seeking right now.
- Promote items baked fresh onsite. Use social media, menu boards, signage and more to letyour customers know that items are baked fresh onsite.
- Shine a spotlight on bakery items; display baked goods near the cash register and offer free, bite-size samples, if possible.
- Keep a batch of cinnamon rolls or cookies baking to create an enticing aroma.
- Offer consumers opportunities to purchase an extra loaf of bread or a dozen of cookies, muffins or cinnamon rolls to take home and enjoy later or share with others.