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For bakers, Christmas 2020 is set to bring new trends, while dragging along some of 2020s less-desirable restrictions. COVID will not be a distant memory and many guidelines, including social ones, will probably still be in place.

What can your bakery expect come late October, when the Christmas rush begins? We’ve put together a roundup of the latest food, flavour and customer trends to prepare you.

While some of us looking ahead are already deeming this year’s yuletide celebrations as “COVID Christmas”, we’re adamant that the virus won’t see off celebrations like it did Easter and summer festivals. Regardless of the size of your bakery, there will be opportunities. 

If your bakery had been able to adapt during the virus, Christmas time could have a lot in store for you. 

For those ready to acknowledge trends that have emerged from consumer behavior earlier this year, and from Christmases of the past, there are opportunities. With local delivery, and large shops becoming much more commonplace (delivery and food spending is up 50% YoY since lockdown), local bakeries could be set to receive bulk orders for the festive period. 

Celebrations are likely to remain local. One metre distancing and wearing masks are all measures likely to still be in place come Christmas 2020. Home will truly be at the heart of your consumers’ festivities. There is likely to be a spike in demand for festive treats either as a part of meals, for snacking or as a gift. Consumers will feel a need to bring luxury bakes into their homes—we always meet uncertainty with a return to tradition and comfort.

So, as bakers preparing for the Christmas period, here’s what you need to know. 

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Uncertainty brings a craving for comfort and tradition

If there’s something that recessions of the past have shown us when it comes to food trends, it’s that uncertainty brings a craving for comfort and tradition in our bakes. So much so that 39% of UK consumers have resorted to comfort food to tackle stress in the last 12 months (Mintel).

The 2008 recession showed us that when times are uncertain, consumers still spend more at Christmas—they upgrade their basket with luxury items they would not normally purchase. 

Baking is set to play a large part in this comfort and tradition, and with shoppers likely to buy with several meals in mind, variety boxes and bulk-bake purchases could see popularity. And while value will inevitably play a role this Christmas, luxury treats will certainly have a place. 

Exclusivity in trips will mean consumers are happier to pay more 

For those consumers who are willing to make the trip from the safety of their homes, they will appreciate exclusivity in bakes and experiences. It’s likely that this exclusivity could carry a higher price-tag they’d be willing to pay for. 

In-store only offers or products are likely to get those who know about them out of their homes, and down to the bakery. 

Safely distanced experiences such as cake or cookie decorating for children, consumers will embrace. Especially those looking to bring a bit of normality to their Christmas. 

Favourites from the past

With tradition and comfort a major player in this year’s purchase decisions, it’s worth looking at top performing bakes from years past. 

Mince pies, all shapes, all sizes

Consumers have welcomed mince pies in all forms, year in-year out. Incorporating this traditional bake in the form of a cupcake, financier or even a pancake infusion have seen bakeries succeed. 

With this traditional bake expected to fly off the shelves more than last year, small and medium craft bakeries who offer a luxury alternative could be set to prosper. 

Croissants, with a Christmas twist

While traditions are here to stay, European choices have found a place in consumer’s hearts. The Christmas-inspired croissant was a huge hit in 2019, and with Christmas holiday enthusiasts having to curb their needs to step on a plane this December, the croissant (alongside other options such as stollen, panettone and salted caramel florentines) is set to be a hit.

Last year saw the rise of infusions such as nuts, gingerbread, pear and cinnamon. A lot of options carried design extras too, such as gingerbread men, Christmas hats, trees and stars. 

Doughnuts and cakes, perfect for gifts 

Festive doughnuts and cupcakes have been – and will continue to be – a winning choice for bakers. Last year saw some delicious infusions including spiced pumpkin, peppermint, mincemeat, zesty orange, gingerbread, white chocolate and panettone. 

Adorn with a festive design, sprinkles or artwork and you’ll find gift boxes and singular bakes dashing off your shelves. 

Vegetable infusions

From root vegetable Christmas cake to candied beetroot to spiced pumpkin curd cones, vegetable options are increasing in popularity. With more consumers, notably generation Z, caring about health infusions in their food choices, baking is no exception. 

With Christmas bringing with it a range of vegetable options to experiment with, now might be the time for craft bakeries to work their magic on some new recipes. 

Social media and content could have a huge role to play

For those bakers who are making strides with their social media, video content such as a “bake-alongs” or similar, are likely to continue trending. 

With more families at home, embarking on their own home-bake adventures these videos or live feeds will be a great activity to take part in. Bakers could cash in by selling (or even delivering) ingredients or extras to accompany these videos, or by using the content as a platform to advertise more complex or impressive bakes that customers can find in-store. 

Sustainability and eco-conscious decisions 

Sustainability and eco conscious purchase decisions have only heightened during COVID-19, so shopping locally, asking about ingredients and packaging is part of the buying decision now. Ensure you cater for sustainability in your designs and bakes, it will set you apart from competitors. 

When should you tease your Christmas bakes? 

Trend data reveals that consumers begin their search for Christmas bakes at the end of October and early November. This trend continues upwards until it falls dramatically a few days before Christmas on the 21st-23rd of December. 

Using this data, it would make sense for your bakery to promote Christmas bakes, discounts and gift ideas at the end of October. 

Helping bakers across the nation this Christmas 

If you’re looking for help kick-starting your baking activities this Christmas, why not put your trust in a company who’ve helped to deliver baking perfection since 1904? We’re here for your industrial and retail bakeries this Christmas; let us help keep your consumers jolly. Get in touch via email or phone