Branded confectionery gives bakery the ‘wow factor’: research

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Nestlé Professional partnered with Rich's to create a new cookie range for the bakery, hospitality and foodservice channel. Pic: Nestlé Professional
Nestlé Professional partnered with Rich's to create a new cookie range for the bakery, hospitality and foodservice channel. Pic: Nestlé Professional

Related tags Sweet bakery Nestle Professional Tommy Banks Confectionery consumer research Baker hospitality Foodservice Competition

Nestlé Professional tapped into UK social networks and found that branded confectionery can play a significant role in boosting the enjoyment of sweet bakery.

Despite cutting back on spending – meaning Brits are sacrificing larger treats – they are still veering towards the little rewards that the sweet bakery category delivers, making it the second biggest segment in the £19.3bn UK snack market (combined retail and OOH).

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Confectionery has traditionally been the most popular snack, but sweet bakery is hot on its tail – worth £4.3bn in consumer spend in October ’22 – and is rapidly gaining interest with consumers looking for a treat: so why not combine the two?

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The company monitored more than 41,000 online conversations that mentioned muffins, cookies, doughnuts and brownies and found that branded references topped unbranded mentions by 11%. Overall sentiment also increased in positivity by 2%, proving the ability of brands to boost sweet bakery’s ‘wow factor’.

Nestlé Professional used Delve social listening tool to measure 41,000 online UK conversations, which took place across social networks (TikTok, Facebook, Instagram & Twitter), forums and microblogs during May and June 2023.

The research was aligned with the launch of a new cookie range co-created with Rich’s. One of the UK’s most favoured sweet bakery formats, the cookies incorporate Rolo, Aero and Matchmakers and are responsibly sized to offer consumers a permissible indulgence. Aimed at convenience and foodservice operators, they three-strong range is available in bags of four in ‘ready to bake’ and ‘thaw and serve’ formats.

“With more people now going back into the office, it’s likely that demand will continue to rise as they pick it up as a treat at work or whilst commuting,”​ said Danielle Carney, BDI category lead for Nestlé Professional.

“The assumption is that products bought in retail would be eaten at home, however, our research reveals that over 70% of consumers buy sweet bakery from retail to eat it OOH.”

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Fresh insight

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To help bakers and foodservice operators make the most of the booming sweet bakery market, Nestlé Professional has made the Sweet Baked Goods report free to download.​ Its packed with insight and market data on who, what, when and where, including who is eating sweet bakery, what products and occasions are most popular, and when and where they’re consuming it.

“When consumers buy sweet bakery, they’re looking for something extra special and exciting. Wellknown and loved brands like Aero, Rolo and Matchmakers hold a special place in the hearts of consumers – no doubt explaining their allure in sweet baked goods,”​ said Carney.

“Operators have been using our branded dessert ingredients for 15 years, creating desserts and snacks that combine their craft with our confectionery. We’ve also delivered successful collaborations with leading operators and retailers: muffins with Costa Coffee, doughnuts with Krispy Kreme and McFlurries with McDonalds, to mention just a few.”

Tommy Banks returns to Toque d’Or judging panel

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Nestle Professional Tommy Banks

Meanwhile, Nestlé Professional has opened registrations for the 36th​ edition of the competition aimed at enriching the next generation of hospitality pioneers, with the award-winning chef and restaurateur back in the hot seat as a judge.

Banks was also on hand to provide this year’s cohort with expert advice and mentorship, giving them an up close and exclusive view of a passion close to his heart: farm to fork dining. The chef holds two Michelin stars, one each for his restaurants – The Black Swan at Oldstead and Roots in York – as well as a Michelin green star for efforts with sustainable gastronomy.

Farm to fork and sustainability is again the theme for the 2024 battle.

“We’re delighted to welcome back Tommy to the judging panel,” ​said Katya Simmons, MD of Nestlé Professional UK&I.

“It goes without saying his outstanding experience and knowledge of the industry as well as his background in farming and Michelin green star underlines Toque d’Or’s continued theme of sustainability.”

Added Banks, “I’m delighted to be involved in Toque d’Or 2024 after such a competitive and inspiring competition this year.

“I really enjoyed mentoring this year’s cohort on incredibly important industry topics such as sustainability and provenance. It’s my pleasure once again to help them learn all about sustainable farming and to master the art in crafting sustainably sourced menus.”

Sparking inspiration

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“The 2024 competition is set to be as memorable and inspiring as ever, and we look forward to welcoming and supporting the competitors throughout their journey,” ​said Symonds.

Since its inception in 1989, Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or has worked with more than 150 colleges across the UK, providing opportunities and learning to over 10,000 hospitality and culinary arts students.

Toque d’Or 2024 takes place over six stages, with entrants competing in college heats before being shortlisted for the National Heats, which take place in March at The Grand Cookery School in York. The Grand Finals take place in April.

College lecturers have until 12 January 2024 to register their Level 2, 3 and 4 back and front of house students for the next event, which will see winners embarking on an unparalleled trip to Switzerland.

The students will have time to reveal in the country’s breathtaking landscape, explore its popular tourist attractions and gobble down into its unforgettable gastronomy. But more importantly, they will be granted the rare opportunity to delve into Nestlé’s origins and Swiss heritage as they visit the company’s headquarters and its famous chocolate factory

“The hospitality industry offers dynamic and rewarding careers; it allows you to constantly learn, grow and meet diverse people; and it’s full of opportunity to make a positive impact on customers and create memorable experiences,”​ said Simmons.

“Through our prestigious Toque d’Or competition, we are perfectly positioned to help hospitality and culinary arts students bridge the gap between classroom learning and our incredible industry.”

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Last year’s front-of-house (FOH) winner Joshua Kerr said the competition gave him a boost in confidence, both from a personal and professional standpoint.

“I’d recommend the Toque d’Or experience to any budding chef or restaurateur,” said Kerr, who won a food trip to Brazil.

“Not only does it allow you to showcase your knowledge, skill and passion to influential people across the industry, but you also get so much personal growth from the competition in terms of the confidence it gives you and the new people you get to meet.

“If you want to better yourself and your career prospects, Toque d’Or is the competition for you. All you have to do is reach out to your college lecturer who will express your interest, and then it’s over to you.”

Over the years, Toque d’Or has attracted high-profile judges such as Anton Mosimann OBE, sommelier and wine expert Raul Diaz, and food writer and influencer Julie Jones. As a result, the competition has developed a strong network of supporters, judges and competitor-alumni, including some of the biggest names in the culinary world – both on and off UK TV screens – like James Martin, Jamie Oliver, Brian Turner and James Tanner, among others.

Hospitality is at the heart of Nestlé Professional – from inspiring the next generation of culinary talent through Toque d’Or to working with farmers, chefs and operators to make bigger strides towards a more sustainable food system.

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