The food industry, including the baked goods sector is being driven by consumer’s demand for products that deliver on all fronts including flavour, quality and variety. On top of this is the expectation for convenience, healthfulness, a clean label and social and environmental responsibility.
Now more than even the ‘baker’s job’ has become even harder as they try and deliver on all these expectations.
According to an article published on THE BAKER’S TAKE , these challenges also present opportunities for those bakers and suppliers who are able to tick all the boxes.
In the article JoAnn Rupp, global market insights manager for Lenexa, Kansas-based Corbion, identified certain trends that are influencing the baking industry:
1. Ethical and Responsible Consumerism: Consumers are looking for products that look, feel and taste authentic. Transparency and trust are important factors driving purchase decisions for many consumers, and bakers will need to ensure they’re meeting these demands by being clear about ingredients. Consumers want products that contain “real” ingredients with things like artificial flavours or colours being excluded.
2. Evolving Landscapes: The world’s population is becoming more concentrated in urban cores. The result is a diverse customer base with varying needs. The baking industry will need to find convenient solutions that allow them to save time, control product quality and continue to ensure product freshness.
3. Food Safety & Regulation: Massive global supply chains has made monitoring food safety a major challenge. This includes adequate preservation of products, regulatory compliance and meeting the labeling requirements of clean label, organic certification and non-GMO products.
4. Circular Economy (Environmental Sustainability): Younger consumers in particular are seeking out products that have strong sustainability messages, including sustainably sourced and fair-trade ingredients, as well as compostable packaging and materials made from renewable sources. Bakers will need to ensure that they’re effectively communicating their sustainability practices to consumers via packaging or website information in order to win these buyers over.
5. Global Wellness: Consumers are becoming and it is believed will continue to focus on food ingredients as they relate to overall health. This means a continued shift toward products that are plant and vegetable-based including protein, flours, seeds and grains. Food fortified with vitamins, vegetable-based ingredients, fruit infusions, and ancient and specialty grains are also increasingly popular. The baking segment will also continue to see a drop in some categories due to low-sugar or low-carb diets, however they will still have to cater for products using fermented foods and ingredients that consumers associate with better gut health, and gluten-free products.
6. Generational Divide: All generations of shoppers whether it Gen Zers, Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers, want their shopping experiences to be quicker and their products to be fresher. On-the-go meals, snacking options and mini meals are all trending upward. Consumers short on time are turning to online shopping with home delivery or using food delivery apps. It will therefore be imperative that bakers understand how each generation of consumers shop, purchase and use their products in order to respond to these changes in real time.
7. Screening Alternatives (New Tastes/Adventurous Eating/Taste and Texture Revolution): Manufacturers trying to differentiate their products from competitors are crafting sophisticated versions of ordinary products as well as creating plant-based versions. Once reserved for vegans and vegetarians, these plant-based items are catching on with mainstream consumers looking for new tastes and healthier options. With the arrival of better technology, bakers are able to deliver these more adventurous eating experiences. In the baked goods category, consumer sentiment places texture experiences above even ingredient lists, with the most appealing ingredient qualities being softness, moistness, crusty toppings, chewiness, creamy fillings, crispiness and tenderness.
8. Artisan Style Experience: Consumers are also looking for a more artisan-style products that contain ancient or sprouted grains, fruits or herbs. These products feel more authentic to them and may feature more interesting flavours than traditional baked goods.
9. Less Artificial Ingredients: Consumers do still want familiar ingredients with the exclusion of artificial ones because these products are viewed as less processed or harmful. The demand for healthier, more nutrient-rich baked goods has encouraged bakers to formulate products that fulfill consumers’ needs.
These consumer demands and other trends make the future of the industry a challenging one. Tapping into these and other trends will be critical for those businesses looking to thrive in a new competitive environment.
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