Pre-packaged bakery is a staple item for consumers across the globe, with the majority purchasing bread, cakes and biscuits on a weekly basis.
“This is not surprising given that the option remains a staple ingredient for informal and casual eating occasions in the morning and the afternoon,” said Will Cowling, marketing manager for the Hertfortshire-based market researcher.
“Standard bread products remain a more popular option than better-for-you alternatives, however, there is a rise in consumers looking to address their health.”
According to FMCG Gurus, the number of consumers more focused on health is higher than ever before, which is driving the back-to-basics approach to nutrition.
So, what will this mean for the bakery market?
Health vs indulgence
Cowling said the extent to which consumers prioritise indulgence over health in many product categories shows there is scope for brands to push the boundaries of premium through promoting experimental and hedonistic flavours, as well as the use of high-quality ingredients that will help position products as a genuine experience.
“When it comes to flavours and sensory appeal, consumers tend to prefer traditional flavours,” he added, noting FMCG Gurus research shows 7 in 10 consumers prefer chocolate, raspberry and vanilla.
“As well as the hedonistic element, these flavours will appeal to consumers because they are associated with trust and comfort. This is crucial in a time of uncertainty when consumers are prone to turning to products for moments of escapism from daily stresses.”
Although a sensory appeal is key when it comes to a baked treat, consumers still scrutinise the label to monitor (or eliminate) certain ingredients. On average, 35% of global consumers claim they regularly check nutritional labelling – and their top priority: sugar content.
Sugar has long had a reputation as a dietary evil because of the link between excessive intake and rising levels of obesity and diabetes. In fact, Cowling said the war on sugar is expected to intensify over the next few years, especially as the general population has noticed a weighty gain as a result of reduced levels of activity and increased levels of comfort eating during lockdown.
Elimination vs addition
However, he noted that consumers today are not only looking to avoid or moderate their intake of certain ingredients, but would like to include more functional ingredients.
“This is a trend that has also intensified as a result of COVID-19, with consumers seeking out active ingredient claims on products in order to minimise vulnerability to disease and illness,” said Cowling, adding this has certainly created an opportunity for fortification within the bakery market. Particularly protein, with 53% of global consumers to find high protein claims appealing in the bakery market.
“Protein continues to have something of a health halo attached to it because of its association with a variety of wellbeing benefits, meaning many consumers are adopting the ethos of the more protein in their diet, the better.
While consumers prioritise indulgence when seeking out pre-packaged bakery products, that means the importance of nutritional value cannot be dismissed.
“One way for bakery brands to respond is by positioning products as guilt-free and conveniently nutritious, by promoting active ingredients like high fibre and protein content.”
This is bound to appeal as consumer embrace the concept of positive nutrition and are looking to maximise their intake of functional ingredients, concluded Cowling.