Sweet Treats Never Go Out of Style

Despite consumers adopting healthier lifestyles, there’s still a lot of room for indulgences, especially in the baked goods category.

Of course, Starbucks showed off sweet treats’ popularity by opening its first stand-alone Princi bakery in Seattle, reported Fortune (July 31). The standalone Princi location includes an oven for on-site baking and a manual espresso machine. The innovative coffee firm backed the upscale Italian bakery chain in 2016 and agreed to license it globally. Starbucks is attempting to develop a new engine of growth with its brand-within-a-brand strategy, as well as combat higher-end third-wave coffee chains. It plans to eventually open 1,000 Princi bakeries globally.

For its part, Sara Lee Frozen Bakery marries baked goods’ appeal with the strong frozen foods category. The company, which Tyson Foods recently sold to Kohlberg & Co., is introducing a new supply chain and innovative products, and also brought on three new chief officers in the supply chain, human resources and information technology departments. To take it to the next level as an independent brand, the bakery company is building a new research and development facility and test kitchen adjacent to its corporate offices in Oakbrook, IL, to accelerate product and packaging innovation.

Pinnacle Foods is refocusing on its gluten-free bakery products, which includes Udi’s muffins and cookies, reported Seeking Alpha (Aug. 2). Company CEO Mark Clouse noted Duncan Hines’ Perfect Size For 1 cake mix was especially disruptive to the snack category, with nearly 40% growth year to date.

In New Zealand, Nestle is looking to focus on its baking business, in addition to its major chocolate and medicated lozenge brands. To help achieve that, the company will sell some of its smaller candy brands to Australia’s Quadrant Private Equity, reported Reuters (July 12).

Last, Rise Baking Co. was just acquired by private equity firm Olympus Partners. The Minneapolis-based company produces premium cookies, dessert bars, artisan breads and flatbreads, and currently supplies the in-store bakery, foodservice and convenience channels in North America. Under the leadership of CEO Mike Shultz, Rise expanded its geographic reach and product offering, and currently employs more than 1,000 people across six facilities. With the acquisition, the company aspires to grow into a North American bakery leader.

While other food categories are seen as more trendy and exciting, consumers will likely always look to the baked goods space when they want to indulge.