Consumers are increasingly turning to pre-packaged bakery treats for guilt-free eco-friendly escapism

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

With chocolate treats being a favourite for many, UK consumers are increasingly looking for goods that offer better-for-you nutrition. Pic: GettyImages/Tara Moore
With chocolate treats being a favourite for many, UK consumers are increasingly looking for goods that offer better-for-you nutrition. Pic: GettyImages/Tara Moore

Related tags: FMCG Gurus, trendspotting, pre-packaged, Bakery, Price, Flavour, Transparency, Health

Priority is given to products that offer genuine sensory appeal – providing new and experimental flavours, as well as those associated with comfort, familiarity and simplicity.

Despite the growing priority for taste over health, FMCG Gurus research found that 68% of Brits are drawn to flavour (along with price) when choosing between pre-packaged bakery treats, specifying a strong need for indulgence.

“However,”​ added Kate Kehoe, marketing executive at FMCG Gurus, “our research has indicated that consumers are becoming more quality-orientated and health-conscious.

“Ultimately, consumers do not want to feel a sense of guilt in the circumstance of indulgent consumption, which conflicts with wider health goals. This highlights that while consumers prioritise indulgence and taste, companies must be aware of the importance of the nutritional value of pre-packaged bakery products, too.”

Consumer nutrition

According to Kehoe, outlining the active ingredients in products has been proven as an effective way to promote a bakery treat and presenting it as guilt-free and conveniently nutritious.

“One way to do so is by displaying ingredients like fibre and protein,”​ she said.

“Our market research experts have collected data that reflects this demand for more healthy bakery products. For example, 53% of consumers who purchase products that contain ancient grains do so due to them being considered as a healthier option, while 52% of consumers purchase these products as a result of them being high in fibre.

“Therefore, if brands promote their products’ nutritious ingredients, it will cater to a large portion of consumers who want to increase their intake of functional ingredients.”

Green supply chains

Supply chain in baking
Pic: GettyImages

With an ever-increasing concern for the planet, it’s becoming increasingly essential for brands to be transparent about their supply chain and highlight their green strategies to minimise their carbon footprint.

“As a result of this environmental awareness, more and more consumers are adopting green, eco-friendly practices into their everyday lives and choosing products based on their environmental values,”​ said Kehoe.

She added FMCG Guru’s research found 51% of respondents purchase products that contain ancient grains because it is considered better for the environment.

“Our research demonstrates that the environmentally-harmful processes of food waste and carbon emission are key topics of concern for consumers. However, this is something that brands can work on, by indicating their resourceful processes throughout the supply chain.”

Sugar reduction

Checking bread label VLG
Pic: GettyImages

Sugar stands as the primary dietary evil, linked to obesity and its associated health problems, such as diabetes.

Data from FMCG Gurus reveals that, of all the consumers who regularly check ingredient and nutritional labels, 74% are most likely to look for sugar, while 65% watch out for  additives.

“Due to this health-conscious approach from consumers, products that incorporate reduced and free-from-sugar claims are on the rise and are in growing demand from brands,”​ said Kehoe.

However, she added the act of reducing sugar from already established products should be approached with caution.

The result of the reduction could compromise the taste and sensory appeal that consumers know and love, ultimately driving them away.

“Our research illustrates the majority of consumers value indulgence over health, with 71% valuing the indulgence of (soft baked) pretzels over health, and 73% favouring the indulgence of muffins and cupcakes over health.

“As this can seem contradictory, companies should consider releasing new and healthier versions of existing products in order to cater to all.”

The take-home message

While consumers favour indulgence when purchasing pre-packaged bakery products, the importance of nutritional value cannot be disregarded, said Kehoe.

“Our research illustrates a growing portion of consumers are becoming more health-conscious and are searching for products that will improve their health long-term. This is shown through a growing consumer interest in the ingredients of pre-packaged bakery products.

“In contrast, there is still a high demand for indulgence and sensory appeal is very important.

“Our research also demonstrates that consumers value the comfort found in familiar flavours. Chocolate, for example, was the respondent’s most popular flavour, at 74%. In addition, consumers are also adventurous and drawn to new flavours.”

Lastly, price, perceptions of value and affordability are more important today than ever before as food inflation becomes a crippling issue for the majority of Brits struggling with everyday living costs, concluded Kehoe.

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