According to the producer of baked goods, including viennoiserie, pâtisserie and breads, for foodservice providers, retailers and bakers around the world, pastry fans love to snack.
In fact, the company’s latest research found that 66% of the respondents report the snacking occasion to be the biggest reason to indulge on viennoiserie.
Working from home during lockdowns has also driven the snack occasion, with 28% of consumers saying they have increased their home-based pastry intake during the pandemic.
“Snacking has also replaced traditional mealtimes for some consumers, giving operators more opportunities to sell viennoiserie throughout the day,” said Stéphanie Brillouet, marketing director of Délifrance.
“Looking forward to a more ‘normal’ life and almost the same number (29%) say they will snack more on pastries while dining in at a café or restaurant in the future.”
Health versus indulgence
The pandemic has driven interest in health and wellness, along with interest in more healthy ingredients.
“Our research shows that organic and plant-based viennoiserie are important to consumers, with the most popular choice being the croissant for those who would like to buy plant-based pastries (54%) and those interested in organic pastries (62%),” added Brillouet.
To help bakery operators capitalise on the demand, Délifrance recently launched its Vegan Baskets range. The plant-based pastries – crafted from buckwheat puff pastry – include a variety of wholesome recipes that are nutritious and convenient, free from palm oil and additives, and designed to satiate cravings between meals.
The bread category is also being challenged to develop nutritionally balanced recipes with healthy inclusions and reduce salt across the board.
“According to our report Prove It – The Great British Bakery Report 2019, 40% of consumers say they want healthier bread options, while 21% say they want breads with more flavour choices and made from different flours,” said Brillouet.
“We’re seeing the market being driven forward by a continued consumer interest in fresh, traditional, hand-crafted breads that offer premium, authentic experiences, as well as nutritious inclusions. Furthermore, consumer interest in baking at home during lockdown has driven curiosity around ingredients.”
To answer this demand, Délifrance introduced the Nordic Loaf, made using three different types of flour (wheat, rye, and barley) and packed with seeds (sunflower, linseed, and sesame), reflecting shifting consumer perceptions around bread.
Consumers are also allowing themselves some permissible indulgence, with two-thirds of consumers saying they eat pastries as a treat, reward or to cheer themselves up.
“Indulgence, taste and treating are the key reasons that consumers opt for pastries, and viennoiserie is the ideal answer for those looking for permissible indulgence – after all, health and wellness in the Covid era is also about self-care.
“Smaller formats are a useful way to fulfil this trend, as they play into both health & wellness and indulgence.”
Snacks with a story
There is a growing audience for sustainable snacks that come with a story. Consumers are asking producers to place more emphasis on strategies to tackle food waste, reduce carbon, responsibly manage water use, eradicate hunger and weigh in on the dichotomous burden of malnutrition and obesity.
“Some 70% of respondents say sustainability is important when choosing where to buy pastries and almost as many (69%) believe authority and heritage is key,” added Brillouet.
Though individually wrapped items came to the fore for hygiene reasons in 2020, sustainability is still a priority for both businesses and consumers and there is a reluctance to make single-use plastic a firm fixture in the longer term.
“We can expect to see greener practices adopted when it comes to packaging with more uptake on recycled plastic if it must be used or more eco-friendly alternatives.”
To help businesses combat food waste, Délifrance launched its ‘No Waste, All Taste’ initiative, which includes devising simple recipes that are intended to help its customers upcycle yesterday’s bread or viennoiserie to create dishes their customers will love, rather than throwing them away.