Consumer’s interest in consuming baked goods has only increased over the years. However, bakery products made of refined flour, preservatives, additives, sugar, artificial sweeteners and other ingredients that are not shown on the label are being perceived to be harmful to health. Over the last few years, a growing rate of health conscious consumers have been moving away from considering food as simply a caloric need to giving importance to products positioned as natural and healthy. The bakery industry is addressing these health related concerns by incorporating ‘better-for-you” bakery products aiding to consumers’ guilt-free indulgence and healthy alternatives. The bakery industry projects a CAGR of 4.8% from 2019 to 2023.
Main Attributes of Better-for-you Bakery Items
“Better-for-you products” have different meanings to different individuals. Nevertheless, it constitutes of three main attributes.
1. Clean Ingredients
Consumers relate ‘clean’ ingredients to natural, real and organic ingredients. Consumers are more likely to pay for products with real ingredients such as real cane sugar and pure vanilla rather than artificial sweeteners and imitation vanilla. According to NPD research, about 65% people associate clean eating with healthy eating. Consumers also prefer humanly raised animals such as cage-free eggs.
Manufacturers are replacing trans-fat containing margarine or butter used in cakes with healthy alternative such as olive oil. Fruits and vegetables extracts, containing nutritional value, are replacing artificial flavours and colours.
Sugar-free bakery products are being developed to satisfy the demands of these health conscious consumers. These products entail natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, molasses, fructose and stevia. Even though natural sweeteners contain more calories than artificial sweeteners, consumers prefer natural sweeteners because it is perceived to be ‘clean’.
2. Functional ingredients
Producers are incorporating functional ingredients like fiber, protein, whole grains, and super fruits etc. that add ‘extra goodness’ to bakery products. 62% of Western Europe Millenials perceive the best cakes or pastries to be the ones with healthy or good for you ingredients added in.
Whole-wheat flour is replacing refined white flour. Whole-wheat flour is a good source of fibre, calcium, iron and other minerals such as selenium. It is also a major component in reducing risk factors of Type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Multi-grain bakery products made of oats, cracked wheat, buckwheat, barley, millet and flax provide fibre and health benefits. Popular in-store multi-grain bread is the ‘six-grain’ bread that contains flax seeds, wheat gram, bran and oatmeal. Chia seeds are also popularly used to add extra healthiness.
High-fibre bakery products include plant polysaccharides and lignin that are resistant to the digestive enzymes and can help prevent diseases such as bowel cancer, piles, and stop constipation. Fibre is low in fat and can help prevent cardiovascular disease.
3. Limited Ingredients
Products with the ‘bad stuff’ removed fit into this ‘better-for-you’ bakery trend, too. These products are dairy free, sugar reduced, gluten free, GMO free or even Vegan.
Sustainability – An Indirect Aspect
Consumer considers ‘better-for-you” products to be not only beneficial to them, but also to the environment. 54% of global Glen Z are concerned about the sustainability of the planet. (Innova Consumer Lifestyle and Attitudes Survey, 2018)
The sustainability factor of a product, its packaging and ingredients resonate among the Milleanials and GenZ consumers. Concerns about the sustainability of the planet also shifts consumers to a more plant-based diet.
Local ingredients in the products also resonate well with the consumers. Local ingredients result in lower carbon footprint, leading to a positive feeling for the consumer. Thus this holistic approach is deemed as both ‘better-for’ you and the planet.