CREDIT CAKE BOSS. THE TLC SHOW HAS helped popularize at-home baking, and grocers agree that more Canadians are donning aprons to whip up cakes, cookies and breads.
“Absolutely more people are baking at home,” says Doug Lovsin, vice-president of operations at Freson Bros. in Alberta. “Young people especially are a bit quicker to engage in baking, rather than spend three hours trying to figure out how to make osso bucco.”
According to Ipsos Canada, 18- to 34-year-olds are the most likely group to crave–and make–homemade baked goods, followed by boomer seniors. Nielsen data on Canada shows the sale of many baking-supply categories overindexes among households 65 or over.
“Baking is not as intimidating [as cooking] and, of course, it’s sweet and tastes good,” explains Lovsin.
Freson Bros. is tapping into the back-to-baking trend with the Baker’s Shop, which opened last March at its new flagship Fresh Market store, in Stony Plain, Alta. The store-within-a-store is located next to the bakery and features kitchen tools, bakeware, cookbooks, aprons and other baking ingredients.
“When we were planning the store, we felt that the kitchen was the heart of the home, and we looked at how we could make a difference in the in-store shopping experience when it comes to that idea,” says Lovsin. “Today, baking is a family activity. So that was the inspiration behind it.”
Quality Foods is playing on the at-home baking trend as well with its A Step Above kitchen shop, which is located on the second floor of five Quality Foods grocery stores on Vancouver Island.
The store sells cookware, bakeware, decorative accessories and kitchen tools from brands including Cuisinart and Le Creuset. Stores range from 7,000 sq. ft. to 10,000 sq. ft. and feature a home kitchen complete with an island, cupboards, pot racks and more.
Dianna Rivard, buyer for A Step Above, shares another leading factor that’s influenced the resurgence of baking: Pinterest. The social media site is chock full of baking ideas, inspiration and recipes.
Ipsos notes 65% of Canadians who consume home-baked goods are female, and women make up at least 80% of “pinners,” says consulting firm RJ Metrics.
Besides Pinterest, Rivard says those in the younger generation are driving the back-to-baking trend, as more of them are making things from scratch.
“They can’t afford to go out as much, so they invite their friends over and cook,” says Rivard. “I really see a lot more nesting happening.”
While the A Step Above concept launched more than a decade ago, it’s reaping the benefits of the renewed interest in baking.
“Sales [of baking products] have really moved up in the last year; it’s back to the old-fashioned way of doing things,” says Rivard. “You used to buy Dairy Queen ice cream cakes, but now people are learning to make and decorate cakes themselves.”
A shift to all-natural rather than ready-to-eat baked goods is also feeding the current baking frenzy.
Although not every grocery retailer has the space to launch a separate kitchen shop, there are other ways to boost the profile of baking items.
“Many of the ingredients needed for baking are scattered through- out the store,” says Dina Clark, VP of marketing, Canada, at McCormick & Company.
“Creating a central baking destination with recipes and product displays at store level makes the shopping process more enjoyable and offers inspiration to bakers.”
McCormick’s Club House and Cake Mate brands have teamed up with baking brands such as Robin Hood and Hershey on a recipe booklet, as well as in-store bake centres.
“Partnering with these baking brands helps serve up a full solution and spectrum of baking ingredients from start to finish,” says Clark.