There is no doubt coronavirus has put consumer priorities on a rollercoaster ride.
The start of the outbreak saw shoppers dashing out stock up on goods that offered comfort and solace. But with the pandemic set to continue into the new year, this is being replaced by a skew towards healthier options to ensure a more combative immunity system and to tackle lockdown weight gain.
A quick survey by the UK’s Craft Bakers Association (CBA) last month found that a majority of its members believe health will be a priority in 2021 – reflective of the way 2020 has encouraged people to consider how food can impact on their overall wellbeing.
This will obviously also filter down into the baked goods they first reach for.
Over half (53%) thought that low sugar options would be key, followed by allergen labelling (40%) and high fibre options (35%). Plant based and superfood options were also predicted to be popular by nearly one in three bakers.
Cashless deliveries of local bakes
That doesn’t mean to say that indulgence will go out the window.
Products made locally or with proven provenance, (as with craft bakers), are part of the value proposition, and three quarters (76%) of bakers feel that this will be an important purchasing consideration next year.
British bakers expect their customers to continue seeking out treats that offer comfort and escapism, with 84% of respondents placing nostalgia and tradition on the top of the leader board, followed by seasonal bakes to celebrate Easter and Valentine’s Day (59%).
They also believe the products that will particularly appeal to consumers will be those locally made – or at least with a proven provenance – in vivid colours and sporting eye-catching decorations (38%).
There’s little surprise that 88% of bakers think that hygiene will be one of the top concerns for customers when shopping in-store. However, 63% believe home delivery options will continue to replace the brick-and-mortar experience, while nearly three quarters (71%) expect cashless payment options to become a priority.
The events of the year have had a crushing blow on many peoples’ finances and value for money is predicted to be the purchasing decision maker or breaker for customers in 2021 (selected by 82% of bakers).
“Perhaps unsurprisingly, after all that has happened this year, the survey results show that bakers expect hygiene to be the biggest concern for consumers in early 2021,” said Karen Dear, CBA’s director of operations.
“However, the continued move towards shopping more locally and purchasing foods with real provenance also looks set to continue into next year, as does the focus on great taste and quality – all of which is extremely positive for the craft baker.”
The CBA – the voice of the sector since 1887 – represents around 500 bakery businesses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, supporting more than 3,000 shops on the high street alongside wholesale companies and specialised confectionery businesses.