Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com, group R&D head and large accounts director at Puratos Pierre Tossut said manufacturers face the challenge of satisfying complex consumers.
“What is amazing is to see these paradoxes at a consumer level. For example they want nutrition but indulgence, tradition but longer shelf-life, quality yet price,” Tossut said.
“The consumer wants the best of everything. It’s quite a challenge to satisfy them.”
In the future consumers will attach more and more importance on the quality of food, Tossut said. This includes a focus on health and nutrition, convenience and pleasure – like taste and texture of products, he said.
A taste of innovation
Globally, Puratos focuses on a variety of R&D projects that relate to taste, nutrition, texture and waste and cost reduction, he said.
“One of our key important projects is fermentation to improve bread quality. The future of bread lies in its past - longer fermentation gives a longer shelf-life, better taste and texture,” he said.
“The second important area is nutrition and this trend is coming from mature and emerging markets,” he added. There are demands for sugar, salt and fat reduction, he said, but also enrichment of breads with grains and cereals.
For example, Mexico is seeing a strong trend towards fat reduction in the traditional bakery sector, he said, to cut fat content in typical breads like ‘concha’ which is quite rich in fats and sugars.
Tossut said more and more manufacturers are looking to differentiate and innovate in their space and at the same time cut costs and increase efficiency at production level.
Puratos invests around 2.3% of its sales on R&D every year, according to CEO Daniel Malcorps. To fuel R&D further, the company also takes loans from other resources.
Last week it signed a loan contract with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for €45m until 2015.
“The EIB is a good partner for Puratos, it’s a strong reference,” Tossut said.
The money will be invested in European R&D, he said, but spread over different projects.