It seems no one is eating just plain cake donuts these days.  First, it was the New York panic over “Cronuts,” the melt-in-your-mouth combination of a croissant and a donut.  And now the big craze in Chicago is focused on “Wonuts”, a yummy hybrid of donuts and waffles.  Wonuts are available in several Chicago bakeries in a wide variety of flavors and shapes including red velvet, Mexican chocolate and green tea.  According to new market research by IBIS World (April 2014), consumers are increasingly demanding gourmet and custom-made cuisine at an affordable price, especially in regard to baked goods.

Growth rates of Bakery Cafes are forecasted at 7.5% annually through 2015.  Consumers are motivated by what’s new, novel and interesting versus the old standbys for bakery snacks.  The growth trend also covers in-house bakeries, which have shown sales increases every year since 2008.  Packaged Facts, market research consultants, expects these gains will continue through 2017 and beyond, and estimates retail sales of in-store bakery goods totaled over $12.8 billion in 2012.  Despite lifestyle and demographic changes toward healthy food choices, consumers are still choosing to indulge in novelty baked goods, especially when they are a clever hybrid of two classics.

And the latest bakery trend comes from Japan with “Animal Donuts,” which are adorable cake donuts dressed up like animals with cute faces, ears, noses and other decorations.  In Japanese, they’re called “doubutsu doonatsu” or literally, “animal donuts.”  Popular in Tokyo and Osaka, evidently the trend was started by a customer request, quickly spreading in popularity and demand.  Very much like the “Cronut” and “Wonut” trends, the Japanese “Animal Donuts” are enjoyed by not just children but also by adults, teens and seniors.  Trend spotters in Japan report that Animal Donuts, and really donuts in general, are becoming more popular in Japan, especially in convenience stores.  For example, the Seven-Eleven chain launched in-store donuts last fall and their rival, Lawson Inc., has now introduced donuts at 600 of its outlets in Japan, selling then for 100 yen each (about 84 cents).


And the hybrids just keep on coming!  The popular US bakery chain, Au Bon Pain, has introduced a new bakery hybrid, the CroisBun™ which is a unique combination of flakey croissant and buttery bun.   The CroisBun also has an easy-eating design with 3 separate sections that can be gently pulled apart into bite-sized pieces.  Au Bon Pain has introduced CroisBuns in a variety of flavors including sweet cheese, almond raspberry, and peanut butter chocolate.


Finally, if you’re looking for a bakery hybrid for your Friday happy hour, try the new “Tequila Shot Doughnut Holes.”  This great innovation transforms boring, bite-sized donuts into delectable, tequila-filled treats with a double coating of lime glaze, and topped off with a dash of salt.

All these new bakery hybrids have coatings of frostings, icings, glazes and often multiple combinations of various coatings.  To achieve the correct texture and stability of icing or frosting, specialty ingredients are often employed in the formulation.  Need help to convert your big bakery idea into reality?

Contact Nagase for assistance in creating unique textures in bakery and confectionery with TREHA® trehalose, a unique food ingredient with multiple benefits in finished products.


Bakery Cafes Market Research Report, April 2015, IBIS World, 800-330-3772.

Packaged Facts, In-Store Bakeries: U.S. Market Trends, January 2014

Elite Daily, online news forum, “The Voice of Generation Y.” Breaking News and Entertainment for and by Millennials. 

Kotaku East – Asian Internet culture radio show and online newsletter, @Brian_Ashcraft.