I cannot emphasize enough how much bread means to me. There was once a time when this carb-enthusiast (me!) enjoyed more than a fair share’s worth of bread for breakfast every day—simply because it’s important to start the day off right, and bread is one of the most right foods to ever have been created. According to Lilea Eshoo, COO of Atoria’s Family Bakery, I’m not the only consumer with this mindset. In fact, she disclosed to me that bread is making a comeback in the greater consumer consciousness.
“Carbs are back!” Lilea said, starting our conversation about the burgeoning bread trend on the very best foot. “For a few years, we saw consumers shying away from bread. Now, there’s a shift in demand to bread with clean ingredients. This is being driven by healthy eaters looking for better-for-you, crafted, artisan quality breads.”
If bread wasn’t on your 2020 trend predictions list, you're not alone. Lilea assured me, however, that this isn’t surprising considering there’s been a few things missing from the category that have left it off of the industry’s radar. But with companies like Atoria’s Family Bakery giving the category a fresh makeover, it’s easy to see why Lilea and co. are so adamant about bread products dominating this year.
“In the past, pronounceable ingredients and real bread were missing from the bakery category. Many commercial breads shorten their process and extend their shelf life by adding conditioners and artificial preservatives. The consumer trade-off for breads that last a month on the shelf is a chemical taste and an artificial ingredient list,” Lilea explained. “Consumers, however, want three things from bread products: taste, health, and convenience. Atoria’s delivers on all three. Baked with a short list of simple ingredients, Atoria’s is a real bread with great taste.”
Atoria’s “real bread” products only further emphasize the company’s belief that food should taste good—a concept that is making a comeback alongside bread as more producers in the industry lean into the health trend. And it’s not just retail that’s reaping the benefits.
“We’ve seen foodservice demand for our flatbreads—especially our Lavash used in ready-made pinwheel programs and meal kits—skyrocket over the past five years,” Lilea disclosed. “As consumers embrace meal prep, they buy our breads to prepare healthy meals at home.”
On top of its Lavash, Atoria’s lineup is one rich with delicious and healthy products. This lineup includes its flatbreads, Lavash, Naan, and Pitas.
“Our whole grain flatbreads are always in high demand, which is why we added flax to our Whole Grain Lavash and reformulated it into 100-calorie sheets. In addition, based on consumer demand, we’re introducing a mini version of our Whole Grain and Flax Lavash that appeals to consumers who follow a low-carb way of eating,” Lilea shared. “All of our products pair perfectly with proteins and plant-based ingredients, which makes the in-store decision easy for consumers and hits that target healthy eaters are looking for."
A crucial part of meeting current consumer demand is ensuring the packaging has all the right labels. Lilea told me that sales of clean label products are up across the entire store, which she attributed to the fact that the practice of reading labels has become a way of life across all shopper demographics. In the bakery category, Atoria’s is only furthering this practice by offering healthy bread products with simple ingredients lists, which are highlighted on their website (Atorias.com).
“We don’t have time to take shortcuts and never will. We bake real bread produced in a family-owned bakery steeped in heritage and tradition. This family recipe comes from the source of civilization—and the Atoria’s story is one full of love and passion and we want to recreate that experience. All of this is reflected on our packaging,” Lilea emphasized. “Consumers love stories, and Atoria’s is rich with its history, but also its future. The next generation is assuming the leadership role, making our brand a great American story of success.”
As bread continues to rise to the front of shoppers’ grocery lists, Deli Market News will continue to bring you the latest from those bakery providers like Atoria’s that are on the front lines of healthy bread advocacy—so stick with us!