In its home baking report, Packaged Facts found that sales of baking-related products grew by 24% to $26.5bn in 2020 compared to 2019, a departure from 2016-2019 modest growth trends for baking ingredients.
According to Packaged Facts, part of the reason home baking took off so strongly (aside from consumers being cooped up at home) is because it was able to fulfill two strong consumer needs: the ability to make comfort foods at home and a way for consumers to take part in wellness trends by baking better-for-you (e.g. keto, paleo, grain-free) options.
“Sales are expected to continue rising in 2021 as consumers continue to work from home or spend more leisure time at home. Comfort and wellness trends that have a positive effect on baking activity are also expected to continue in 2021,” said Jennifer Mapes-Christ, food and beverage publisher for Packaged Facts.
And while sales are expected to level off as consumers can more freely and safely shift towards away-from-home dining, the impact of the pandemic has changed the trajectory of the baking products market -- Packaged Facts forecasts that total sales of baking products will be higher in 2025 than in 2019.
A growing nation of bakers?
In its November-December 2020 National Online Consumer Survey, Packaged Facts reported a growing number of consumers who consider themselves bakers (84% of respondents reported baking at home with some frequency during the last year).
The survey also found that 45% of consumers surveyed consider themselves "avid bakers" who bake at least once or twice a month.
King Arthur Baking Company (which completed its first rebrand in the company's history last year to capture a growing legion of home bakers) has seen sales of its flour products grow exponentially.
According to sales data provided by the company, King Arthur Baking Company sold over 156 million pounds of flour in 2020, a more than 58% increase (in lbs.) from 2019, and enjoyed 61% sales growth in 2020 (outpacing 33% sales growth for the category).
King Arthur also reports that the trend of home baking seems to be more than a fad to pass the time, and more of an enduring consumer trend as the year progresses. In January to February 2021, the brand sold 22 million pounds of flour, up 53% (in lbs.) from the same period last year, and registered a 47% increase in flour sales.
From August to December 2020, King Arthur produced more than 2x all purpose flour and more than 3x bread flour, versus 2019, the company reported.
The company's website traffic, which averaged 40% more sessions in recent months (September 2020 - February 2021), also demonstrated continued consumer demand for at-home baking recipes. King Arthur's 'No-Knead Sourdough Bread' recipe saw a 2,730% year-over-year in online visits, the company said.
Along with increased consumer baking activity, the category is expected to see an influx of new innovation. This year, King Arthur has launched a lineup of new products including: Organic Rye Flour, Baking Sugar Alternative, ‘00’ Pizza Flour, Keto Wheat Flour and two new flavors of Gluten-Free Single Serve Cups.
"Baking remains at elevated levels and while we don't expect baking to continue at the same levels we saw last Spring, we are anticipating a sustained long-term increase in baking post-pandemic, compared to pre-pandemic."