As consumers of today become the consumers of tomorrow, keeping up with the trends is more than just a necessity. The bakery business is no exception, and your consumers are changing. The doyens of the bakery are being challenged by start-ups, with new products and newer ideas each day. These changes have been further accelerated by the pandemic.
Big Challenges Faced by the Baking Industry
Perhaps the biggest challenge associated with bakery food is that they are perceived as calorie-rich foods that are more an indulgence. With more and more health-conscious consumers, bakers world over are struggling to reposition their products from merely high-calorie density food to necessary products. On the other hand, bakers are constantly stressed by the increase in raw material prices. Though consumption of packaged baked products saw some minor lift during the various lockdowns, most bakers faced challenges as consumer spending is yet to pick up to pre covid levels.
How do you take on these dual challenges and continue winning in an increasingly competitive market? What strategies can you apply to see growth in the coming years? Whether bread, cake, cookies, or croissants, how can you keep your customers excited and coming back for more, while you adopt a healthier positioning for your products.
We’ve identified 5 trends that have gained momentum in recent times and are expected to become the focus of new development in the years ahead. Whether you are an industry veteran or just starting up keeping up with these trends will help future-proof your business.
Trend 1. Sustainable Baking
To win consumers, companies need to echo sentiments that matter to them. Sustainability is perhaps the core consumer issue today. From sustainable farming and packaging to sustainable utilisation of Energy, consumers are taking note of how companies are responding to this need.
Packaging and energy efficiency
With initiatives such as plastic-free cities, manufacturers need to relook at how they can optimally deliver great taste and shelf-life while ensuring their packaging is eco-friendly, compostable etc. Furthermore, they need to relook at how their processes particularly baking and related processes can be performed energy efficiently with periodic carbon footprint audits.Trend 2. Demand for Aspirational Foods
Today is better than yesterday, and tomorrow will be better than today.
Softer tastier bread and buns, multi-grain cookies and fluffier cakes, the list is endless, but at the core is the aspiration for tastier food. Though bakery products have among the highest calorie per rupee, several consumers irrespective of their educational background are willing to pay the extra for the indulgence they so desire. As consumers have upgraded from glucose to milk and from milk to butter cookies, we have seen similar upgrades in other categories from white bread to milk bread, milk to brown and now multi-grain whole wheat etc. And today this has gone further with fortified with minerals like calcium, high fibre, gluten-free etc.
Bakery comes full circle with digital
One also notices a trend of food that was once upon a time served only fresh taking packaged forms. For instance, croissants were exclusive only until Pauli launched them in packages recently. Further with the advent of apps, consumers are ordering fresh from the oven produce, and they expect to get them hot!Trend 3. Reinvent the Favourites
Back to the roots, reliving the tastes of the yesteryears
While on the one hand, a group of consumers are craving newer tastes and benefits, another group of customers crave nostalgic tastes from the yesteryears, particular familiar tastes from their childhood. The marketing manager at Bakels says, "Nostalgic bakery products give out a warm feeling and are likely to be a perfect agenda in the upcoming months." Also, a recent survey proved that 83% of people believe that nostalgic flavours will be popular in the upcoming years. For instance, consumers constantly seek products like sourdough bread, muffins, pretzels, and other local options in some markets. Closer to home, ethnic Indian favourites Kesar pista, etc are taking new avatars.
Trend 4. Healthier, wealthier and wiser
From reinvention to evolution, the next big evolution that bakers need to take note of - is upping the health quotient of your bread, cakes, cookies etc.
Consumers are becoming more mindful of what they eat. They are questioning the nutritional value of otherwise calorie-rich indulgent bakery products. This requires bakers to relook at standard recipes through a healthier lens.
With consumers longing for healthier alternatives, whole wheat bread, fortification with fruits etc has become the norm. "Bakeries will also add ingredients like omega-3 and omega-6 to bakery products for better health," agrees Kevin Srivastava.
Higher on Health and Immunity
Immunity and general health are in focus, particularly after covid., bakeries are adding ingredients that enhance flavour and while also helping you keep you healthy. Healthier options include high protein, fibre, and natural fruit content to ensure better wellness. Also, manufacturers are seeking suppliers that offer more nutrition-rich foods and high-quality ingredients.
Going plant-based is development is something we’ll see sooner than later, particularly egg replacements. Eggs are extensively used in bakery products, but as consumers search for vegan alternatives, alternative egg-free versions, the plant-based bakery has come into focus. Companies like EVO-Foods are pioneering natural plant-based alternatives to eggs, which provides both tastes as well as structure to bakery products.
Consumers are demanding natural products, especially from a health angle. They feel that being closer to nature, minimally processed, implies healthier and better for you. Natural Colours, Natural flavours etc. have helped deliver the true goodness that consumers associate with natural products. Also, the use of artificial ingredients is going to decrease in the coming years drastically. Instead, natural ingredients like flax seeds, bananas, tofu, and plant butter will grow in their popularity.
Trend 5. Technology-Enabled Immersive Experiences
In the indulgent category of products, consumers today want a fully immersive experience. In yesteryears, this may have meant merely visuals and texture, in addition to taste. But consumers in the future are going to look at food as fully immersive sessions, and bakery is no exception. From virtual luncheons to customized baking kits, consumers look at food as a mode of engagement as well as nourishment. With technology like AI, Augmented reality, virtual reality growing, From virtual factory floor walkthroughs to immersive baking and tasting session brands are leveraging the power of technology to create ever more personalised immersive and engaging experiences.
- International Food Information Council. 2021 Food & Health Survey. 19 May 2021. https://foodinsight.org/2021-foodhealth-survey/