LAS VEGAS — In its new consumer research study, “Life Through the Lens of Bakery,” conducted by 210 Analytics and sponsored by Corbion, the American Bakers Association (ABA) revealed findings on how American consumers fit bakery into their daily lives and special occasions.

The ABA study’s author, Anne-Marie Roerink of 210 Analytics, presented the findings during the International Baking Industry Exposition, which took place Sept. 18-21 in Las Vegas.

The study surveyed 1,555 consumers in July 2022. From the grocery store and restaurant to the digital shelf, the comprehensive report gathered a fresh picture of the role bakery plays in consumers’ everyday experiences.

Consumers have been through a lot in the past three years, but today, COVID concerns have been dwarfed by cost-of-living increases. According to the study, 56% of American shoppers reported changing when, where and how they purchase baked goods.

But there’s good news for the industry: Despite inflation, bakery remains a priority for consumers.

Although nine in 10 Americans are concerned over high grocery, restaurant and gasoline prices, consumers consider baked goods an affordable indulgence. In fact, 64% make room in their budgets for an occasional baked treat, and 80% make baked goods part of special occasions.

Meanwhile, meals remain more home-centric with people emphasizing baked goods in their home-prepared meals. On average, 68% of meals that include baked items are prepared at home.

However, today’s economic climate has shopper demographics ranging from Gen Z to baby boomers seeking sale specials more often. A quarter of consumers ranked this as the main change when shopping for baked items in store.

“It seems change is our only constant, and yet we are not the ones in charge of the rollercoaster ride,” said Christina Donnelly, director of industry relations and strategic initiatives at ABA. “Now grappling with inflation in addition to COVID-19 and other concerns, consumers continue to shift dollars between online and in-store; retail and restaurants; and between value versus premiumization.”



“It doesn’t matter if whether people buy a lot of baked goods or just a couple — or what generation they are — the important thing is that there’s a permissibility for baked goods, and that’s a really important starting point from which to build.” —Anne-Marie Roerink | 210 Analytics


Roerink cautioned that the roller coaster ride is far from over, noting that it’s more important than ever for the baking industry to maintain a strong relationship with its consumers, especially considering the supply chain disruption’s impact on the consumer experience.

“What we’re seeing is that when consumers set out to purchase bakery items — in a store or a restaurant — about 22 percent of them have not been able to buy the exact item they’re looking for,” Roerink said. “They might buy different brands or different items, or they might even go to another store or restaurant. But at the end of the day, out-of-stocks are having an impact on people’s ability to purchase, and it’s not in one particular channel. So, it’s important to really sit next to the consumer as they go through this ride and try to understand how it impacts bakery at every step along the way.”

Bakery is integral to everyday life and special occasions. Baked goods have very high permissibility, allowing consumers enjoy the occasional baked treat. In the report, 84% percent agreed it is perfectly fine to occasionally treat yourself with some baked desserts such as cookies, cupcakes, donuts or pie.

“This is one of the most important statistics in the study,” Roerink said, noting the high level of permissibility for baked goods. “It doesn’t matter if people buy a lot of baked goods or just a couple — or what generation they are — the important thing is that there’s a permissibility for baked goods, and that’s a really important starting point from which to build.”

ABA studyThe study also revealed that bakery is an important part of family traditions, special celebrations and holidays, according to 80% of respondents. With nearly 75% of Americans back to celebrating special occasions as they did before the pandemic, baked goods take center stage in those moments.

That said, packaging is heavily impacted, despite the return of celebrations, especially for events like school treating where bringing cupcakes a dozen or two at a time is now a thing of the past. Individually packaged baked goods are a much higher priority today.

“These are the kinds of things the industry must keep in mind because it could push dollars from the instore bakery into the center aisle, where more items are individually packaged,” Roerink said.

When it comes to holidays, the study showed that nearly every major one in the US has a baked good attached to its focus. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, winter holidays like Christmas, Easter, Independence Day or birthday parties throughout the year, baked goods of nearly every type are high on the celebration radar.

While engagement can vary by the types of holiday and demographics of those celebrating, spikes in baked goods purchases can be seen at various points throughout the year in retail and foodservice.

“That’s the thing about bakery,” Roerink said. “You can buy it anywhere, and that means consumers are engaging with it everywhere.”

The “Life Through the Lens of Bakery” study is free for ABA members and available for purchase by non-members. Visit for more information.