Five trends rising to the top of the bakery sector

Wednesday, 03 July, 2024

Five trends rising to the top of the bakery sector

Global market insights provider Innova Market Insights has shared details about its ‘Top 10 Trends’ for the bakery industry for the year.

The research backing the trends is based on wide-ranging global consumer surveys, the company’s network of researchers and the tracking of new product launches.

Of the ‘Top 10 Trends’, the company cites five trends as the most influential in the bakery category:

  • Ingredients taking the spotlight
  • Prioritising prevention
  • Indulging in health
  • Nurturing nature
  • Local goes global

Ingredients taking the spotlight

The first bakery trend is “Ingredients taking the spotlight”. This trend relates to companies capitalising on positive consumer attitudes towards key ingredients by promoting a product’s ‘star’ element.

The company’s research shows that consumers are looking for value from the ingredients in their bakery products and are always looking for ingredients of interest on the product packaging.  Of these ingredients, consumers globally say that protein is the most important ingredient.

The research highlights that more than one in five consumers globally say that the bakery category is their preferred protein source. However, consumers are not seeking protein simply for muscle growth. Research indicates the top two drivers for consumers’ protein intake are energy and stamina, and for weight management.

Companies are already looking for innovative ways to include more protein in their bread products.

Other functional ingredients, such as probiotics and collagen, are more niche, but are still accepted by consumers. Almost half of consumers will accept probiotics and collagen in their foods.

Prioritising prevention

“Prioritising prevention” refers to the trend of preventing health concerns before they arise, driving consumers to products that meet their personal wellbeing needs.

Research shows that more than one in three consumers claim to be proactive in preventing health issues. When asked about their major concerns related to their physical health, weight management, heart health, and bone and joint health were chosen most often. These concerns are seen as being addressed by bakery product claims such as “grain fibre helps with weight management” and “improves bone health”.

Consumers are wary of their ageing, and more than one in three consumers globally say that weight management and observing a balanced healthy diet are the most important steps taken for healthy ageing. In bakery products, claims such as “Improves immunity and has anti-ageing effects” are noticeable for addressing these concerns.

However, different generations of consumers have different health concerns, allowing companies to target specific audiences with their bakery products’ health claims. For instance, heart health claims have risen 17% over the past three years in bakery products, targeting older generations, while claims of preserving appearance appeal more to younger generations.

Indulging in health

“Indulging in health” refers to health brands moving into indulgence while comforting treats come with added goodness, creating an ideal mashup.

There is a growing consumer interest in indulgent treats with health benefits. A majority of consumers around the world indicate a willingness to sacrifice indulgence in favour of healthier food choices. Indulgent bakery products with active health claims are now on the rise, with a 14% increase in the past five years. The fastest-growing health claims in indulgent bakery products are prebiotics, immune health, probiotic and added calcium.

Additionally, research indicates savoury snacks with active health claims are on the rise. There has been a 52% growth of savoury biscuits or crackers with an active health claim over the past year. These products are also being consumed more often, with more than one in five customers globally choosing healthier alternatives for savoury snacks.

Nurturing nature

The “Nurturing nature” trend highlights business responsibilities going beyond just sustainability, and requiring actions that make a positive difference to nature protection.

There is an increasing consumer interest in products with environmentally focused claims. More specifically, consumers place nature protection as their most desired environment-focused action from brands and companies. Bakery products can be seen relating to these desires with several claims.

Food and beverage products with a forest protection-related claim have been on the rise, growing 37% between 2020 and 2023. However, carbon-related claims on bakery products have grown 48% within the same period. Finally, regenerative agriculture-related claims have more than tripled between 2022 and 2023. 

Local goes global

“Local goes global” relates to claims of international, ‘authentic’-style products, as well as local ingredients growing in the bakery sector.

Two in three consumers globally say that they are open to trying new global cuisines.

Alongside this consumer interest, companies are increasing production of more specific, region-based products. African flavour profiled products have increased by 13% CAGR between 2020 and 2023, while East Asian has increased 5%. Social media is also increasing the exposure of global cuisines, tapping into the market of younger consumers.

Research also indicates consumers are increasingly valuing locally sourced ingredients in their bakery products. When asked about which product categories they are looking for with locally sourced ingredients, consumers chose bread and bread products as their number one category. Additionally, more than half of consumers globally say that they actively look out for claims and labels of locally sourced ingredients.

What’s next?

The findings indicate the combination of indulgence and health benefits is rising in bakery products, with consumers desiring the benefits of both ends of the spectrum. This may create a market opportunity for companies that manage to create healthy products, which also don’t detract from the indulgent experience consumers desire.

Finally, as consumers become increasingly environmentally conscious, interest in sustainable, local ingredients will likely not decrease, especially as younger consumers enter the market.

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