This presents lots of opportunities for manufacturers working with retailers to develop gluten-free options for in-store bakeries, said the director of the clean label specialist Adrian Short.
“There are an increasing number of people who want a reduced gluten or gluten-free diet because of the perceived health benefits. The people who are making the choice to have a free from diet are people who have more disposable income – they can afford to make that choice,” Short told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“There is immense potential for in-store bakeries to benefit from this growing trend by investing in a greater variety of products that meet consumer demand,” he said.
Consumers who have chosen to go gluten-free want choice and a perception of quality, Short said.
“They want to buy specialty cakes and bread. There’s a gap there and in-store bakeries could fulfil the needs of these consumers.”
“…People perceive breads from in-store bakeries as higher quality than packaged,” he said.
Frozen and baked-off in store…
The easiest option for in-store bakeries would be to buy frozen dough and bake it off during the day, Short said.
“Gluten-free has a tendency to have a shorter shelf-life, but if it can be baked off through the day there will be less waste,” he said.
There are obviously contamination issues that need to be addressed by retailers, he said, but it would be possible to store, bake and display the breads separately.
The technical challenge
Part of the reason we haven’t seen a shift to gluten-free among in-store bakeries, is the technical challenge it presents, Short said.
“It seems natural to me that the sliced gluten-free loaf has been cracked and is doing very well,” he said, but noted that when it comes to gluten-free par-baked breads, the technical challenges are even more significant.
“For par-baked bread, even with gluten, it’s quite difficult to make a nice eating product let alone when you take out the key functional ingredient – gluten.”
“You have to go back to the drawing board and almost forget the classic baking techniques and think about the functionality,” he said.
For gluten-free par-baked products, it is important that the final product is not too dense, Short said. This can be ensured by working with a combination of flours, starches and raising agents, he said.