Dawn joined data from 75 global sources with context from its own 100-plus market visits to bakeries, foodservice spots, and more, ultimately landing on eight global food trends. The family-owned company shared its findings at the International Baking Industry Exposition in Las Vegas, September 8-11, where we spoke with Jennifer Lapaugh, senior director of regional and artisanal marketing, about their implications.
She emphasized that although these trends focused on the broader food market, they shed plenty of light on the power of bakery.
Digital connections and ‘momentary escapes’
Technology has changed the way consumers interact with their food, especially as nearly everyone carries a smartphone, she told us: “It’s sped up the way we think and do things.” Geopolitical shifts have also swayed the market, as people seek even the briefest of moments to relax or indulge.
That uncertainty has been ‘good for food,’ she said, pointing to ‘enlightened eating’ and the continued prominence of ‘blissful indulgence.’ For her, the latter is “the most interesting part of bakery right now,” as ‘that momentary escape’ often starts with a cupcake, a cookie or other small treat.
“You can’t do that every day,” she added.
Yet consumers have found a way to incorporate these permissible indulgences through choosing products made with healthier ingredients and without artificial preservatives, for instance.
“People are looking for something tasty but better-for-you,” explained Lapaugh. In other words, they want to “get the bad-dies out [and] get the goodies in” – a movement that is less about the lifestyle but rather the choice to improve upon oneself, she said.
Transparency is also integral to this sensibility, as consumers demand to know where their food is from and where it might be going. They prefer brands that are bigger than their products alone, Dawn’s research showed, whether donating a portion of proceeds to a particular cause or helping build a community garden.
“If you have something that you stand for,” said Lapaugh, “definitely commit because people want to know it.”
‘You are what you eat’
That mentality has also spurred the rise of personalization, which Dawn coins ‘My Food ID.’ Lapaugh pointed to food-oriented tattoos, T-shirts exclaiming the bearer’s allegiance to the local farmers market or artisanal baker, and of course the prevalence of Instagram influencers. The experience of eating has likewise wooed consumers with memorable dishes that require interaction or unique knowledge, such as a password to enter a subterranean speakeasy, mentioned Lapaugh.
As people increasingly connect with one another online, especially through a photographic app like Instagram, barriers between cultures have fallen. Flavor mashups have thus gained popularity, according to Lapaugh, calling out the Cronut (a hybrid croissant-donut). She also sees McDonald’s addition of the stroopwafel McFlurry as evidence that influences can start – and permeate – any place at any time.
In that regard, finding new dayparts for baked goods to play a role will increasingly matter. The ‘Twenty-Five 7’ reality of consumers’ busy lives makes ‘easy, efficient experiences’ ever-important.
“Time is precious,” added Lapaugh, exacerbated by technology – which she argued has eased consumer access to food through apps like DoorDash and Grubhub while complicating the picture for food makers.
She compared the personalized results of television shows or movies to watch on Netflix, or the curated shopping lists pushed by Amazon based on a user’s browsing habits and purchases.
“It feels like you’re getting exactly what you want out of it,” she said, and according to Dawn’s food trends report, that connection will rule in 2020.
Dawn Foods' senior application chef Melissa Trimmer designed a range of recipes to showcase how to harness these trends in bakery.
A seemingly simple milkshake receives a donut on top, plus a chocolate-based glaze that spills over the glass – sticky enough to adhere salty pretzels or Lucky Charms cereal, for instance, to satisfy consumer desire for 'eatertainment.'
Old fashioned donuts dip into flavors like strawberry streusel poppyseed, matcha macadamia nut and caramel pecan.
A chocolate bundt cake adds beet root powder for added benefit.
The push-pop (typically a cream-based cylindrical popsicle on a stick) gets a makeover as a layered cake treat, each cake layer a different color.