Raising Issues

The future of fine bakery: Kerry delves into the challenge of answering the growing demand for indulgence without the guilt and other topical issues

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Matthew May
Matthew May

Related tags: Kerry group, Innovation, fine bakery, Acrylamide, Clean label, Social media, nutri-sense science

Ireland-based Kerry – one of the world’s largest taste and nutrition companies – hosted its second Bakery Innovation Seminar focused on the drivers of innovation in fine bakery goods, including cakes, cookies, crackers and muffins. BakeryandSnack’s Raising Issues caught up with Matthew May, Kerry’s head of bakery for Europe and Russia.

BAS: Tell us about Kerry

Ireland-based Kerry is a taste and nutrition company founded in 1972. In the past 40 years, it has grown from an ingredients company into one of the world’s largest taste and nutrition companies located across 140 countries.

We recently hosted our second Bakery Innovation Seminar at our Global Technology Innovation Center in Naas [Ireland], and had several speakers in the morning session, as well as a number of breakout meetings and workshops that ran throughout the afternoon.

Bakery Innovation Seminar speakers

  • Anne Fremaux, director of Bakery at Girag & Associates, spoke on market trends and influences
  • Martin Lundell, MD of the Association of Swedish Bakers and Confectioners, examined the impact of social media
  • Aisling Aherne, Kerry’s nutrition science manager for Europe & Russia, delved into how nutrition science influences change
  • Marianna Domolki, Kerry’s regulatory specialist looked at what’s happening in regulatory

BAS: What were the breakout sessions?

The first was focused on the challenges involved in delivering nutrition in fine bakery – that is, the reduction of salt, fat and sugars, as well as fortifying with cultures to aid health.

The second space was dedicated to taste, texture and visual appeal. This was really how we can make products stand out against the competitors.

The third room was around process optimization, discussing ways in which the baking industry could become as efficient as possible.

Another room touched on sensory capabilities and how they can be used to guide the innovation process.

Finally, we had a session on the future of bakery and looked at the pressures involved in innovating the day-to-day offerings and creating differentiation in the market place. We also looked at how is the baking industry is going to meet the challenges of the population growth.

BAS: How important is innovation?

Innovation is important for every business as it drives sales and make sure you’re still relevant in the market place. We’re also a taste and nutrition company – we believe in helping our customers create great tasting food that is better for consumers.

BAS: How does Kerry differentiate itself from its competitors?

Kerry is a company that has innovation at its heart. We work closely with our customers on their innovation projects to help bring them to life in a timely manner as possible.

BAS: Does the company use social media?

We use social media and are particularly active on platforms like LinkedIn.  It’s a great way for us to share stories about what we’re doing. We also monitor social media platforms to ensure we know what consumers are talking about so we can reflect that in what we offer our customers.

BAS: Would you recommend your customers use social media?

I think the customer has to do what the customer feels is right, but ultimately, the demographics of the world are changing. The younger generation – who have grown up with social media era – are becoming the next buyers and MPD managers. They, of course, will use social media because it’s what they’re used to.

So, it’s beneficial to understand how best to utilize social media, as well as know the pitfalls.

BAS: Please expand on some of the key nutri-sense science trends that can help a producer innovate to meet consumer demands

Dr Aherne’s presentation focused on the nutritional landscape of Europe, in relation to understanding the challenges involved in reducing sugar, fat and salt in baked goods.

She also looked at how sensory cues such as texture can influence calorie intake and food choice. For example, if you were to eat food quickly, higher quantities of food is usually consumed before the feeling of fullness (i.e. satiety) kicks in. However, if you were to eat food more slowly,  less food is consumed because the satiety signal has time to be initiated. Therefore, chewing food more significantly reduces appetite and food intake while promoting satiety

So, a producer can use food texture to reduce eating rate and energy intake, if desired. However, the opposite can also be achieved.

BAS: Do you see playing around with textures becoming a big trend in the bakery industry?

I think it’s an area the bakery industry would probably want to pay a bit more attention to, especially with regards to innovation.

BAS: What regulatory changes were discussed at the seminar?

We tried to give our customers a view as to where the legislation is currently in the European Union and how it might impact innovation. We touched on the introduction of the acrylamide legislation in April, as well as the regulation around enzymes and how they may be labeled going forward.

BAS: What are the current global food trends in bakery?

Kerry's Bakery Innovation Seminar main pic

Clean labeling is already quite well established and can mean different things to different people: it’s not just about taking names off the back of packaging, but it can be about being more sustainable in terms of the use of, say, palm oil or organic ingredients.

The health and wellness trend is, again, something that's driving innovation, particularly with the guidelines that are being launched in different jurisdictions within the EU around sugar and fat levels, and calorific content.

In terms of indulgence, bakery is one of the those industries that has a challenge in marrying it with everyday staples, like bread. Consumers want permissible indulgence, so the challenge here, for example, is how to produce a really indulgent cake that’s lower in fat and sugar, but tastes just as good as the full fat version.

BAS: What do you think the next best thing in bakery will be?

That’s a very good question. I think it’s about retaining indulgence in fine bakery, but giving the consumer the opportunity to enjoy the products knowing they’re healthier than they used to be.

What was the feedback from the attendees?

We received really positive feedback that both the discussions and the workshops hit the mark in terms of where the industry's going.

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