There is a shift away from the traditional idea of dieting, towards holistic health and wellness, said Emma Gubisch, strategic insight manager at Leatherhead Food Research.
“There is a lot of negativity connected with dieting. There’s a move to enjoy food and for it to be an enjoyable experience, which I think is positive for industry,” she told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“There has been a lot of scrutiny around diet and obesity and the idea is that dieting isn’t the solution but rather a more holistic way of eating… It’s now about changing people’s eating habits and one way is via slow-release energy foods.”
The concept of satiety foods started in bakery, she said, and this continues to be a huge growth area that the bakery sector can capitalize on.
Claims that count – no broken promises
However, Gubisch said manufacturers had to be clever in communicating satiety claims to the consumer.
Consumers have been plagued by mistrust in the wake of the horsemeat scandal, she said, and while this hasn’t directly hit bakery, it certainly has had a ripple effect when it comes to trust.
“We see a more skeptical consumer. Consumers are more wary about manufacturers and retailers and they are thinking more about their purchases.”
This means that it’s even more crucial to get a claim on-pack that draws consumers in but also correctly represents the product, she added.
“It’s about having claims that count. Consumers are getting much savvier; they don’t just swallow everything down. Claims need to match products and also regulatory requirements…Regulatory and marketing teams may have to come together on these.”
For example, she said that ‘feeling fuller for longer’ would perhaps be easier to understand than a GI claim. “But there is obviously very strict regulation about what manufacturers can say relating to their product,” she added.
‘Sweeteners are quite interesting when it comes to bakery’
In the same way satiety promise fits into consumer sentiment on health and wellness, so do natural sweeteners, Gubisch said.
“Sweeteners are quite interesting when it comes to bakery… We are seeing movement to using sweeteners in the bakery sector, but it’s still quite a small and niche area,” she said.
There is particular interest in plant-derived sweeteners such as stevia, she added.
The reason it remains fairly niche in bakery is predominantly due to formulation challenges relating to taste and texture, but also regulation in the EU, she said.
Stevia is not currently approved for use in baked goods in the EU, but it is in other markets like the US and Japan, for example.
Gubisch said that there are huge opportunities to improve and overcome technical hurdles with sweeteners in baked goods.
“The sweetener formulations for bakery aren’t going to happen overnight – it’s not going to happen in 2014, but it’s something to watch over the next three to five years in the bakery sector,” she said.
In the short-term, she said bakers could look into reducing sugars by changing inclusions – for example switching chocolate with fruit or vegetable ingredients in a cake.