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2 8 Store Brands / December 2015 / www.storebrands.info H ome baking is already big business in America, but the number of people turning to their own ovens for desserts, breads and other treats is likely only going to grow in the coming year — and not only for the pleasure of a home-baked treat. As the recently published "Global Food & Drink Trends 2016" report from global market research firm Mintel notes, consumers are becoming more adventurous in the kitchen so that they can show off their culinary achievements to others. "The rise of food-centric media has sparked new interest in cooking, not only for the sake of nourishment, but for the purposes of sharing one's creations via social media." The good news for retailers is that baking mixes can make home creations in the kitchen a lot easier, and sales data show that time-strapped consumers remain interested in buying them. According to "Baking Mix & Prepared Food Production in the U.S.," an April report from Los Angeles-based market research firm IBISWorld, revenue for the baking mix and prepared foods mix industry will grow 1.7 percent annually to reach $26.5 billion in 2020. The report warns, however, that consumers' growing health concerns are driving many of them to seek organic and fresh ingredients rather than processed and premade food. Trends with traction One trend that will continue to give consumers a better-for-you feeling about baked goods is gluten- free. No, gluten-free isn't new, but it is still growing at rates that are more than impressive. According to the Packaged Facts division of Rockville, Md.- based MarketResearch.com, sales for gluten-free products jumped 34 percent between 2009 and 2014. The market is expected to reach more than $2 billion by 2019. "The gluten-free market is cementing its staying power as more than a mere dietary fad and continues to make national headlines," notes a press release for the company's January "Gluten- Free Foods in the U.S." report. The whole-grain trend also continues to make news, with two out of three people now making at least half of their grains whole, according to the 2015 Consumer Insights Survey conducted by the Boston-based Whole Grains Council. Sixty-four percent of Americans have increased whole-grain consumption either "some" or "a lot" since the last survey in 2010. Trends on the horizon Consumers aren't just looking to avoid certain ingredients; they are also looking to consume healthful ingredients. One growing trend in the baking aisle that is poised to become more relevant is the inclusion of ancient grains in products. Some examples include quinoa, spelt, millet and sorghum. According to Packaged Facts' "Food Formulation Trends: Ancient Grains and Sprouted Ingredients," report, released in August, consumers see ancient grains as more natural, with some of the attraction also coming from the fact that some of them are naturally gluten-free. A consumer survey conducted by the market research agency points to quinoa, barley and chia as the most popular of them, but the report also says lesser-known ones will likely start to become more common. "Packaged Facts anticipates red fife wheat will increase in popularity in the United States as a result of being included in more products featuring ancient or heirloom grains, especially breads, cereal, snack crackers and snack chips," the company says. — M. Hogan Health-up the mix Gluten-free offerings, ancient grains and other health tweaks could help retailers boost sales of own-brand baking mixes. BakinG Mixes