Over the last 12 months, 63% of global consumers said they have become more attentive to the ingredient listings on food products, 2021 research conducted by FMCG Gurus revealed. When questioned as to the motivation, the two most popular responses were increased health concerns arising from the pandemic (62%) and a desire to minimize intake of “bad” ingredients (60%).
Additionally, 9 out of 10 (91%) respondents indicated they purchase bakery products. More than half of consumers (53%) said natural formulation claims were important to them when buying bakery products in general—including cakes and pastries—and 62% said this applied when specifically purchasing bread.
When asked what type of free-from claims they like to see in the food industry overall, consumers most frequently selected “additive-free” (79%) and “non-GMO” (69%). However, even terms such as “vegan-friendly” are growing in popularity (24%). The bakery industry can respond to these preferences by streamlining ingredient lists where possible and ensuring products carry a variety of free-from claims.
Moreover, if bakery products are to be positioned as better-for-you and artisan, clear label strategies should be adopted. After all, 51% of people stated they were concerned about hidden ingredients in products via complex nutritional labeling.
Globally, consumers are also adopting the notion of “good for me, good for the Earth”—reflecting a sentiment that health and sustainability are interlinked. The bakery industry can capitalize on this, as consumers seek out products they feel are better for them as well as considerate toward the environment.
FMCG Gurus research conducted in 2020 showed that 52% of consumers deemed sustainability claims important in the bread sector, 53% said this for biscuits/cookies, and 57% for cakes and pastries. In addition, 48% of consumers indicated they made changes to their diets over the last two years in order to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.
Bakery brands looking to tap into this trend need to ensure products are as green, and supply chains as short, as possible—while also developing strategies to minimize or eliminate carbon footprint and any impact on natural resources. Bakery brands must also be proactive in communicating this information while ensuring they are not making misleading or exaggerated claims.
Although health and sustainability are important to consumers, indulgence remains the primary reason they turn to food. Especially true in an era of uncertainty, people can regularly turn to small indulgences such as biscuits/cookies, cakes and pastries for moments of escapism and to alleviate stress.
Natural and sustainable positioning is important, but bakery brands would also do well to look for ways to push the boundaries of sensory appeal. Flavor innovation is one way of achieving this. FMCG Gurus research conducted in 2020 revealed 52% of consumers believe flavor innovation in the bakery market in general could be improved, with 37% saying this for biscuits/cookies.
Consumers increasingly view their eating philosophies as experimental and want new flavors that they feel reflect their good taste and sophistication. Brands should look to introduce new and novel, and flavors from around the world. When launching such globally inspired flavors, it is crucial that they are deemed to be more of a novelty and instead, enhance the consumption occasion.
As consumers continue developing intentionality in their purchasing habits across the food industry, artisanal bakery will likely benefit. Bakery brands need to actively enhance their value propositions to encourage consumers to trade up.
Editor’s Note: To access additional content on the bakery niche, visit the “Fresh baked: Blue ribbon strategies for the bakery aisle” digital magazine.