Back-to-basics comfort meets forward-thinking nutrition

Today’s growing base of home bakers are driving old and new trends; ADM delivers wholesome solutions

September 29, 2020

5 Min Read

Along with working and schooling from home, home cooking and baking has become part of the new normal. According to proprietary research from ADM, 44% of consumers plan to bake from scratch more than ever in the next six months, and 34% plan to buy more staple ingredients like flour and sugar[1]. Why?

Baking is meeting a variety of consumer needs in the era of COVID-19. It beats boredom and calms fears. It provides a sense of accomplishment. And it allows for a permissible and comforting indulgence, especially if home bakers opt for functional ingredients that provide vitamins, plant proteins or other health-boosting benefits. The best ways to appeal to today’s home bakers? Understand exactly who they are and what they’re looking for, and then find a supplier who can help meet those needs.

Understanding today’s bakers[2]


Meet: The Experts

Nearly one-quarter of consumers consider themselves to be expert bakers, meaning they are comfortable using a range of baking ingredients and tools, and are confident in their skills. These consumers see baking as a passion, something they love doing to relax or have fun.

Demographic: These bakers skew older, female and higher income. They’re likely to be parents of teens and tweens, in the New England or Pacific areas of the U.S.

Meet: The Intermediates

About 40% of consumers see themselves as intermediate-level bakers. These consumers will experiment with recipes, but they don’t often stray too far. They see baking as an adventure and will likely feel a sense of accomplishment when they’re successful.

Demographic: Intermediate level bakers skew a bit younger than experts, with younger children. They’re likely to live in the Central Northwest and Central Southeast regions of the U.S.

Over 60% of home bakers characterize their skills as expert or intermediate.

Inspiration ahead!


Inspire confidence: Virtual cooking classes allow brands and manufacturers to connect with home bakers and provide a service, all while maintaining proper social distancing.

Inspire creativity: Expert and intermediate bakers are willing to put their own spin on homemade baked goods. Here are their most trusted and share-able inspiration sources.

  • Celebrity chefs: 38%

Top mentions: Rachel Ray and Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman

  • Websites and social media: 35%

Top mentions: YouTube and Pinterest

Inspire purchase: Half of home bakers already shop some of their baking ingredients online (most likely flour, sugar, spices and seasonings). Drive sales with promotions, product reviews, lower prices and offering products not available in stores.


Meet: The novices

About 30% of bakers consider themselves to be novices. This group isn’t confident in their skills, and generally tries to follow basic recipes or use a mix. At best, this group sees baking as a challenge and, at worst, they see it as a burden.

Demographic: Young males with a lower income.

94% of consumers bake and have an interest in baking. With so many opportunities to appeal to the needs of the home baker, from branded to private label baking essentials, a quality partner is critical. ADM has over 80 years of experience in delivering in this dynamic space, providing consumer-friendly extracts, baking cocoa, spices, flour and more.

What’s hot in baking trends?


About 40% of consumers say they're baking from scratch more today than they were before the pandemic, with as many as half of all bakers doing so on a monthly basis. Why? Consumers say baking from scratch is fresher, tastier and, most importantly, healthier[3]. And they’re craving ways to give homemade baked goods an additional health boost.

Natural flavors are one way to appeal to clean label shoppers. ADM is the leading global supplier of natural flavors, ingredients and systems for food and beverages. Its Colors from Nature® line offers a bright portfolio of fruit-, vegetable- and botanically-derived colors.

Plus, as many as 60% of consumers would pay more for a baking ingredient with health enhancements. Topping their list are the following claims:

  • Added/high protein: 45%

  • Antioxidants: 45%

  • Added/high fiber: 43%

On the rise: ancient and whole grain flour


Whole and ancient grain flours provide a better-for-you baking ingredient with clear and easy-to-understand nutritional benefits. Though they account for just seven percent of sales, organic flours are growing 1.5 times the rate of their conventional counterparts[4].

Retailers and manufacturers can tap into this growth opportunity by investing in private label baking staples, especially, as consumers are now equally as open to using these options as they are to using brand names. Plus, shoppers say private label options are a better value for the money, higher quality than in recent years, and as good quality as brand names. In all, about 70% of consumers believe buying private label is a smart decision.

Behind sugar and pasta, flour is a top category consumers are interested in buying from a private label brand.

With the industry’s most comprehensive Baking portfolio, including flours, ancient grains, sweeteners, fats & oils, flavors & colors and private label solutions, plus best in class applications expertise - ADM offers extensive, tailored solutions to meet your growth needs and win with consumers. 

Top Flavor Trend: Vanilla

Nearly 80% of consumers purchase vanilla extract—it’s more popular than sugar, baking mixes, flours and frosting. And, nearly half of all bakers stock up on this pantry staple every month for baking needs in addition to marinades, cocktail mixes, homemade ice cream, coffee flavorings, shakes, frostings and more. Their top demands are:

  • Flavor

  • Quality consistency

  • Value - 83% of vanilla extract users look at price per ounce before making a purchase decision

Tap into ADM’s traceable vanilla solutions, ranging from pure vanilla extracts to cured vanilla beans, spent vanilla beans, vanilla paste and more, to invest in grower communities worldwide while achieving best-in-class taste and quality.


[1] ADM OutsideVoice Survey, April 22, 2020

[2] ADM OutsideVoice Baking & Vanilla Insights Study

[3]  ADM OutsideVoice Baking & Vanilla Insights Study

[4] IRI Total US Food, L52 ending 4/19/2020

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