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Dawn Foods has been working closely with Dr Morgaine Gaye, a respected ‘food futurologist’, to identify key trends across all food categories and advise high street bakers on how they can best use this trend information to develop a profitable product offering and build their business.
Jacqui Passmore, Marketing Manager UK and Ireland for Dawn Foods looks at both the mega trends driving today’s fast paced bakery, and also the subtler trends identified by Morgaine that are shaping NPD:
Then and Now
Nostalgia is still important in the bakery sector, fuelled in part by the popularity of TV baking programmes such as The Great British Bake Off. As well as a return to many of the traditional cakes our families have loved for generations, we are also seeing new traditions being created, as young bakers add their own dimension to time served bakes. We’re even seeing a hybrid of classic desserts and cakes such as Trifle Bakewells or Eton Mess Cake, as recipes are mixed and matched.
Our interest in the past may explain the growth in Kidults too, a trend identified by Dr Gaye. Kidults are young adults who still live with their parents but have a high disposable income, and as a result, we’re seeing an increase in adult versions of children’s foods from the past. Think cutesy, play food but with a new adult-appropriate twist such as super-sized, with alcohol, or irreverent packaging. Brands are now involving notions of play in their message in order to appeal to this market.
Dr Gaye sees futuristic trends in food too with space age food, space travel and space clothing pointing towards the desire for a new future and a sense of ‘cool futurism’.
She sees space and the future wrapped in foil and tin. Metallics are being used to adorn, wrap and coat food, while gold and silver leaf will be added to liquids, baked goods and used to decorate sweet treats. We can see this particularly in icings that glisten, golden molten fillings in desserts and glamorous wedding and celebration cakes – all designed to catch the eye.
Feel the Texture
New flavour combinations have been stealing the show for many years, but now its texture’s turn to step into the spotlight, says Dr Gaye.
There’s a new focus on mouthfeel, imprinted foods, embossed coatings and multiple textures in one. These can be contrasting mouthfeel experiences, such as a creamy sweet filling, along with a crunchy sprinkle of nuts on top, or a refreshing fruity and wet filling against a smooth icing. All add creativity, dimension, and essentially, a new life to already well known products. At a time when many products and ingredients are being reformulated to use all natural flavours, consumers are still after the same taste and texture in every bite.
Eating ‘feel’ is now more important than ever as consumers are looking for bakery items that deliver on every level – how they smell, look and feel in the mouth. Just as food needs to taste great in the mouth, how food feels in the hand also adds to our sensory response to it. The feel of packaging can also exert a similar influence over the consumer’s in-mouth experience.
Healthy and Clean
‘Better for you’ and better for the environment has never been higher on consumers’ checklists. Nielsen’s Global Health & Wellness Report 2015 revealed that consumers seek fresh, natural and minimally processed foods. Beneficial ingredients that help promote good health are also significant. Health attributes are most important to emerging-market consumers, who are also most willing to pay a premium for health benefits in a product. This is a trend that is certainly continuing with the growth of simpler and ‘cleaner’ labels as an indicator of a more natural product. Sustainable sourcing is also high on the agenda for consumers, with manufacturers looking to source sustainable ingredients such as UTZ certified cocoa or sustainably sourced Palm Oil for example.
An awareness of health and more natural products means that consumers are looking for ‘real flavours’ – fruit fillings made with real fruit for example and a back story that goes with them – the source of the fruit, its variety and provenance. Dawn’s Fruit Fillings are made with 58-70% real whole fruit content, some with origin fruits such as Senga Sengana strawberries, Canadian blueberries and Montmorency red cherries.
Real products are significant too - artisan bakery items that are hand crafted using natural ingredients for example. This presents some fantastic opportunities for high street bakers.
Dr Gaye says that added benefits are one of the most powerful USPs in food, giving value to existing products to enable consumers to live longer, sleep deeper and perform better.
Brands will see value in creating foods with added health giving properties that have more than one function. We will see fortification and high-performance, bio-available nutrition enhancing a variety of foods, while regular food staples will be imbued with added benefits too.
Indulge in a little of what you fancy
While healthy categories are growing fast, there is still room for occasional treats in consumers’ diets. Today’s consumers are time pressed and work hard, so rewarding themselves with some ‘me time’ whether in the office, on the go or at home is now more popular than ever. We have developed a culture of ‘I deserve a treat’ as a 2016 MCA Eat Out Survey reveals. Seventeen and a half per cent of respondents said that having a ‘treat’ was their main mission for snack visits out of the home.
Experience and indulgence are important means of escapism for consumers, particularly in today’s uncertain political climate. Consumers are increasingly looking for bakery items which deliver an experience and provide an element of indulgence, with sweet treats a growing category in bakery.
From both filled and topped donuts, to loaded traybakes, sandwiched cookies, quadruple chocolate brownies to tri-flavoured cakes and unusual flavour combinations, indulgence is definitely king!
Dr Gaye agrees: adults are increasingly looking to create more fantasy and escapism, with brands blurring the real and the unreal to create added value and another dimension to ‘everyday’.
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