It’s no secret that carbs and sugar seem to be public enemy number one in the last few years. With the rise in popularity of the keto diet, products high in carbs have lost market share to products higher in fat. Bakery is a category that has had to get creative to draw in consumers who are avoiding carbs and gluten. While bakery is a staple in many households, loaves of white bread are not flying off the shelf each week like they used to. There are so many varieties to choose from and more appear each day.
So what is the bakery category doing to stay relevant in today’s definition of “healthy eating”?
Back to Basics
Not just in bakery, consumers are looking for simple labels with ingredients they can pronounce. Bread is one of the foods we have been eating for thousands of years, so luckily, we have some old recipes to follow! Sourdough is a variety that consumers are familiar with. (And who hasn’t started a sourdough starter during COVID-19?) According to Mintel, the production method of sourdough aids the breakdown of gluten in dough, which makes it easier to digest for those with gluten, yeast, or wheat sensitivities. Perfect for lots of people on special diets from gluten sensitivities to consumers looking to improve their gut health.
Some bakeries even promote how old their starter for their sourdough bread is. In fact, a member of a Sourdough Facebook group exclaimed recently, “I just got a starter that is an ancestor from Joseph Smith!” (Smith is the founder of the Mormon church.) Any product that can claim “hand-made” or simple ingredients taps into consumers desires to know where their food comes from, which in turn makes it seem healthier than a loaf of bread that was shipped across the country in a plastic bag.
Convenience is a close second to gluten-free options in bakery claims, according to Innova. Having healthy bakery options in smaller portions, portable options, or resealable options appeals to the on-the-go consumer. You’ve no doubt noticed the in-store bakeries that offer single slices of cakes, mini cookies and brownies, or half-loaves of bread. A smaller indulgence is seen as more acceptable than buying a whole cake just because you want something sweet. Keep an eye on what private label products are appearing in in-store bakeries, because they’re giving national brands a run for their money. I also found a place recently that focuses on making delicious, outrageous donuts, but they’re tiny little donuts. I suggest trying the Elvis and perfect for on-the-go grabbing!
And of course, COVID-19 simply reinforced this need for portable bakery products!
Where to go next in healthy baking? ?
What will bakery look like in 5 years? While we don’t have a crystal ball, we can anticipate a few things in particular:
- Alternative flours and plant-based bases: For those with wheat and gluten intolerance, the use of flours from almonds, coconut, or chickpea will be a welcome addition so they can enjoy bakery products more often.
- Innovative flavors and textures: Look for textures to be called out on packages to distinguish between all other items on the shelf.
- Continued efforts to make more sustainable and artisan products: The idea of local, hand-made products will only continue to increase as consumers look for human interactions in their busy lives.
So what do you think? What will be the next health fad and how will it affect the bakery category? Comment below! ??