donut with sprinkles

A Bright Outlook: Retail Baking Color Trends for 2023

donut with sprinkles

Story by Maggie Glisan

KANSAS CITY, MO — Each year when Pantone announces its Color of the Year, it causes a big stir in the fashion and home decor industries. But retail bakeries should also be taking note. Just as color trends influence what dresses, armchairs and paint colors make it to market, they also trickle down to decorated sugar cookies, wedding cakes and birthday cakes. And if Pantone’s 2023 pick Viva Magenta is any indication, it’s going to be a very bright year ahead.

The unconventional shade is brave and fearless, a pulsating color whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative, according to the color experts at Pantone. Consumers are attracted to the vibrant, fierce shades of hot pink that take note from the Barbiecore esthetic (a trend inspired by the Mattel fashion doll) — and perhaps a desire for a bit of fun and nostalgia after several challenging years.

The trend is a good sign for bakers and signals consumer demand for a rainbow of unexpected and adventurous hues and flavors. In an FMCG Gurus 2021 report on flavor, color and texture trends, 56% of global consumers stated they like the food they eat to have bright and intense colors. Social media has also popularized over-the-top colorful baked goods on TikTok and Instagram.

Bakers who specialize in special events should be aware of wedding color trends. According to The Knot, bold and surprising color palettes are expected to reign in the coming year. In addition to Barbiecore pinks, emeralds and sophisticated jewel tones are predicted to be popular choices for brides and grooms.

And although many consumers are steering clear of all things artificial or overprocessed, there are still plenty of ways for bakers to incorporate vibrant colors naturally, using trend-forward ingredients such as ube, a bright purple yam from Southeast Asia, or butterfly pea, a blue-ish purple flower that can be used as a natural food dye.

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