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Bread & Grain Trends

Insights, Innovation and Market News


Dunkin Donuts Is Way Smaller Than Starbucks, But Better Loved By Customers

Dunkin’ Donuts is doing a lot of things right, a fact reflected in its most recent quarterly financial report showing higher-than-expected earnings and revenues. Starbucks, however, with 25 times the revenue of Dunkin’, “has lost its mojo” and Wall Street “is losing faith” in its management team, according to Forbes. At least part of the problem is the fact, confirmed by data from LikeFolio's consumer insights, that for the first time Dunkin’ Donuts happiness levels are higher than Starbucks. Other key factors at play: Dunkin' Donuts is growing its customer base and adding stores, while Starbucks is closing locations; purchase intent mentions for Dunkin’ Donuts are at multi-year highs; Starbucks has a serious employee morale problem; Dunkin’ is more inclined to give customers – rather than environmental activists – what they want; and Dunkin’ Donuts has delicious donuts, rather than pastries. [Image Credit: © Starbucks]

Sales Of Plant-Based Food Substitutes Continue To Soar

Nielsen data published by the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) show that plant-based foods that directly substitute for animal products grew ten times faster than those animal-derived counterparts. Sales of plant-based food substitutes for seafood, meat, eggs, and dairy products jumped 20 percent last year, compared to two percent in these same categories. The plant-based substitutes market is still dwarfed by the real products: the entire meat market is $85 billion, while the plant-based substitutes market is $670 million. Nevertheless, improvements in taste, variety, and competition have all led to sales growth and mainstreaming of plant-based foods, according to the PBFA. [Image Credit: © Beyond Meat]

Milling Company Says Its High Fiber Flour is Non-GMO Project Certified

Bay State Milling Company’s HealthSense High Fiber Wheat Flour, derived from high amylose wheat, has secured non-GMO Project verification. The Mass.-based company said the wheat combines in one ingredient the benefits of wheat flour taste, the functionality of resistant starch fiber, and traceability to the farm. The company says food manufacturers can replace traditional hard wheat with the HealthSense flour and “close the dietary fiber gap that currently exists in the American diet without a fiber additive.” [Image Credit: © Bay State Milling]

Following String Of Acquisition Flops, Starbucks Tries Again With Italian Bakery

Starbucks hasn’t had much success in buying and locating companies either within its stores or as stand-alones. One memorable flop was the bakery Boulange. But Starbucks is trying again, and with another bakery: Princi, a small but high-end chain launched in 1968 in Italy that has no U.S. locations yet. Starbucks has committed to making the brand the exclusive food partner at its global Reserve and Roastery locations. A Princi has opened inside the Shanghai Roastery and in the first Reserve store at the Seattle headquarters. Princi will also be included in upcoming Roastery locations in Milan and New York. Starbucks plans only a few Roastery locations around the world, but possibly 1,000 Reserve stores. Stand-alone Princi locations will also open in two major markets: New York and Chicago, where there are Roastery locations. [Image Credit: © Princi.com | Starbucks]

Dunkin' Donuts Launches First Gluten-Free Pastry: The Fudge Brownie

Dunkin' Donuts’ new, gluten-free fudge brownie is made with potato starch instead of wheat flour containing gluten, rendering it safe for anyone who has celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or a gluten intolerance. The brownies are packaged in a plastic wrap, similar to store-bought snack cakes, to guard against gluten contamination in the bakery case. Courier Journal staffers who tried the snack said “there was something different about it,” but not different enough to keep them from trying it again. One reported described the brownie as a dense "sucker punch of chocolate" that was "pretty darn good." [Image Credit: © Dunkin’ Donuts]

European, Asian Heat Wave Signals Higher Wheat Prices, Smaller Global Stockpiles

The heat wave that is searing Europe and Asia is also scorching forecasts for wheat harvests and driving prices up. North American wheat farmers are likely to benefit from the higher prices just as the Trump tariffs dampen demand for other crops, especially soybeans. The USDA forecasts a significant drop in global wheat stockpiles – the first time in five years – thanks to hot temperatures and drought that stunt the growth of cereals and reduce their quality. Chicago wheat futures hit three-year highs early in August, while a key European benchmark reached a four-year high. The price of Paris-traded milling wheat has soared 33 percent so far this year, which means more expensive animal feed in some regions and possibly more expensive bread. Agricultural analysts say the heat wave is an aberration, some observers predict an eventual shakeup for farming in parts of the world as the prospect of global warming looms.

Einstein Says It Has Perfected Its Mobile App

Colorado-based Einstein Bros. Bagels is launching its “perfect” smartphone app with a rewards program and a one-day offer of a free bagel and shmear with purchase to anyone who shows a restaurant brand's mobile app on their device. To participate, customers need to download the app and sign up for the Shmear Society Rewards program. Members are eligible to enjoy a free egg sandwich with purchase on their birthday and two points for every $1 spent in-store, which can be redeemed at any time for food and beverages at participating locations. Einstein Bros. Bagels is part of the Coffee Bagel Brands family, which includes Caribou Coffee, Bruegger's Bagels, Noah's New York Bagels, and Manhattan Bagel. [Image Credit: © Einstein Bros. Bagels]

Fermented Foods Are The New Superfood, Dieticians Say

A survey of more than 2,000 registered dieticians found that the top superfood of 2018 is fermented foods, a category that includes everything from yogurt to the pickled cabbage known as kimchee. The popularity of fermented eats stems from the fact that they contain healthy bacteria that is beneficial for the human gut. Basically an ancient, pre-refrigeration method of food preservation, fermentation is used to make kefir, a fermented milk drink; kombucha, a fermented black or green tea; miso, a paste made from fermented soybeans; and tempeh, a fermented soy food frequently used as a meat replacement. [Image Credit: © KVDP | Wikimedia Commons]

New McDonald’s Breakfast Sandwich Is Anything But Heart Healthy

For the first time in five years, McDonald’s is testing a new breakfast sandwich in 200 locations in four cities in Minnesota – and it seems to be an artery-clogging doozy. Two years in the works, the new McGriddles French Toast sandwich was developed after consumer research found that fast-foodies are looking for a more filling breakfast option. The sandwich is certainly that, made from egg-coated brioche bread, American cheese, egg, pork sausage, and applewood-smoked bacon. The $4.39 concoction has more than 37 grams of fat, 650 calories, and 85 milligrams of cholesterol: 129 percent of the daily recommended intake. Said a McDonald’s spokesman: “'People were looking for regular, everyday flavor profiles.” The company will roll out the sandwich nationally in 2019 after it irons out some kinks in its supply chain. [Image Credit: © McDonald’s]

Successful N.Y. Artisan Bakery Begins Expansion

New York-based HeartStone Artisan Bakery takes its time creating its artisan breads. There’s the slow rising loaves – all prepared with locally grown and milled heirloom grains such as spelt, rye, emmer, einkorn, and red fife sourced from farmers in Central New York and the Finger Lakes. All loaves are made with a naturally fermented starter. The dough for the ciabatta, sourdough, garlic lovers, and light deli rye breads then spend at least 24 hours in a walk-in cooler. The resulting flavors and textures are catching on big in the Syracuse area. HeartStone breads are now available at nine regional markets and stores, and online.  The success has convinced the couple to spend $300,000 to expand its Lebanon site, adding more space and a professional artisan oven from Italy. When completed, the bakery will produce about 120 loaves at a time, rather than the 35 baked now. [Image Credit: © HeartStone Artisan Bakery]

Muffins Sneak Up The Rankings Of Popular Breakfast Options - Report

Market researcher Packaged Facts issued a report on breakfast foods in the U.S., noting that cereal remains the most popular– an 87 percent market penetration ($11 billion in sales) in 2017 – followed by eggs, drinkable yogurt and, “somewhat surprisingly,” muffins. Concerns about sugar have dampened the cereals category – sales slid 1.9 percent from 2016 – but the search for protein and convenience foods has buoyed the other categories. Muffins are the third fastest growing category projected through 2022, despite consumer trends toward more healthful breakfast options. Sales of muffins grew 9.6 percent from 2016 to 2017 to reach $1.17 billion and are projected to have a seven percent CAGR through 2022. Sugary packaged muffins are most popular among black households and families with children. [Image Credit: © SKopp | Wikimedia Commons]

Socially Conscious Bakery Now Sells Plant-Based Cakes, Cupcakes In Retail Stores

Twenty-five-year-old Rubicon Bakers, whose mission is to employ formerly incarcerated people who need a second chance, has launched four clean label and vegan cupcake and cake SKUs. More than 2,500 in-store bakeries are now scratch-baking plant-based chocolate blackout cake and cupcakes, and vegan vanilla cake and cupcakes, each with 100 percent vegan cream filling and frosting. With Rubicon’s new vegan products, in-store bakeries can take advantage of a major trend: sales of plant-based food in the U.S. rose 8.1 percent in 2017, topping $3.1 billion. The new 4-inch vegan vanilla cake with vanilla filling and frosting, and 4-inch vegan chocolate blackout cake with chocolate filling and frosting, are available as double-layer 11-oz desserts with an SRP of $6.99 each. [Image Credit: © Rubicon Bakers]
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