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Trends & Ideas

Trend for American inspired products continues to grow in the UK.

The trend for American continues to grow in the UK and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. American food has a fun and colourful image – think 1950s diners, the glamour of NYC or Hollywood and the heritage of the Deep South. Today’s American dishes show a real mix of flavours and textures from all over the world too and it is this exciting combination of cultures and history that make it particularly attractive to us Brits. US-inspired treats, such as muffins, brownies and tray bakes, even waffles for breakfast and brunch are proving hugely popular with consumers.

The latest trends in American-inspired sweet bakery are centering on ‘bigger is better’ plus nostalgia and comfort. There’s a big trend towards ’over the top’ loaded brownies, tray bakes and donuts plus beverages such as ‘freak shakes’ loaded with sweets and other goodies.

Sweet bakery products are often impulse purchases that are emotionally and comfort-driven, so nostalgia is a key trend when it comes to appealing to consumers. Think vintage American – hand cut squares of Carrot Cake, authentic Brownies, Muffins and Cookies ‘like mama used to make’.

Operators can go to town with product merchandising too in order to tempt consumers – displaying cakes on wooden boards, muffins in traditional metal oven trays, or cookies in vintage jars. Brown paper serving bags or cakes wrapped in waxed paper also give a nostalgic feel. Cakes in jam jars or muffins in mugs create an artisanal feel and also make puddings portable – particularly important if you have a food to go offering.

Combined with wider trends in bakery such as eating on the go, a passion for indulgence and concerns about health, high street bakers have many opportunities to build business by ‘travelling State-side’.

We have also noted the growing European patisserie trend prevalent in specialist areas of the bakery market. TV programs such as GBBO Crème de la Crème that showcase pastry chef skills have also meant an increased interest in classic patisserie as a dessert option. In France consumers will often stop by the local baker for tarts or specialty patisserie, dessert or tray bakes late afternoon to enjoy at the weekend and by replicating this model, UK bakers have another opportunity to drive sales. High street bakers are in a prime position to deliver home-made desserts often with an individual twist and a premium price point. There are many ingredients and finishing products that bakers, depending on their skill set, type of outlet, budget and time available can use to get creative with their desserts range.

Consumers are increasingly caught between the desire for healthier options and the need for an indulgent treat. Offering smaller sweet treats with a perceived healthier image can be a big selling point and ideal for health conscious consumers looking for a tasty snack without the added guilt. Gluten free options are also popular in both bakery and desserts with many quality products now available to caterers to meet the needs of both true allergy sufferers and those who prefer to adopt a gluten free diet.