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Premium products and new ingredients drive innovation in bakery [Interview]

Article-Premium products and new ingredients drive innovation in bakery [Interview]

The bread and bakery category is undergoing rapid new product development. The latest trends clearly show that increasingly health-conscious consumer are willing to pay more for an original, high-quality product.

Ancient and whole grains, all natural ingredients, and no added preservatives increase the value of the bakery products. While new ingredients such as acorn flour or teff, superfoods or vegetables appeal to consumers who are looking for a better-for-you snack without sacrificing on indulgence. We talked to Clara Talens, Senior Researcher at AZTI, about the latest innovations.

Can you tell us about the recently developed Spanish bread law and how it will impact the Spanish bakery market?

“The new Spanish bread law requires specifying what percentage of the flour is wholemeal, which leads to confusion over the total product. We have recently seen bread on the supermarket shelves that specifies the percentage of whole wheat flour over the total content of flour. Some brands, for example, they have been renamed ‘70% whole grain’, but by looking at the ingredient list, consumers can check that they contain only 41% whole wheat flour. This is because the 41% refers to the total content.”

What type of innovations in bakery products do you most often see?

“Recent patent activity for bread and other bakery products shows innovations for ingredients and processing methods that improve taste, texture, and freshness. Innovation in industrial baking ovens can have a significant impact on the performance, energy efficiency and product quality. Also, the use of different cooking methods can provide exciting flavours and authentic textures that open many opportunities for innovation.”

What ingredients are being added to bakery products to enhance their nutritional profile?

“To give just a few examples, cookies sweetened with stevia, high-protein cookies or flaxseed crackers for the carb-conscious have recently been launched. Biscuits that feature healthy and nutritionally dense ingredients such as niche flours (acorn, teff, chestnut flours), seeded varieties, superfoods and sprouts can appeal to consumers who are looking for a better-for- you snack without sacrificing on indulgence. The addition of fibre to gluten-free bakery products, is a common strategy for increasing their nutritional value while improving their texture and mouthfeel.”

What health benefits are consumers looking for when consuming bakery products?

“Apart from the benefits mentioned above, consumers also pay attention to allergens as part of their health and wellbeing. Gluten is the protein in wheat that contributes to the structure of bread. Recent patents filed for gluten-free bakery include using rice, pea protein and other ingredients such as broad bean flour to replace gluten enhance the sensory properties of this category.”

What expectations do consumers have from bakery goods?

“Above all, freshness, convenience and taste. These are the common consumer’s expectations through the whole bakery sector. All the innovations that target these three aspects will at least attract the interest of bakery consumers.”

What should we remember when reformulating bakery products to meet clean label demands?

“Ingredient lists which are short and focused on natural and organic ingredients appeal to consumers who are seeking a clean-label product. A visual representation of composition can aid consumers to understand and highlight the brand’s transparent approach to ingredients.”

Can you give a few examples of ingredient innovations for the bakery market?

“There are new enzymes and leavening agents being developed that claim to improve texture. Enzymes used in industrial breadmaking include: amylases, which improve the formation of protein networks in dough that affect crumb structure and bread texture, and improve shelf life; glucose oxidase and lipase to improve dough strength; lipoxygenase to bleach and strengthen dough; and asparaginase to reduce acrylamide formation during baking.”

“Bread leavening is usually performed using Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast (bakers’ yeast) but recent patent activity highlights alternative yeasts with potential for breadmaking. New developments in leavening agents seek to avoid unpleasant aftertastes that can occur with conventional leavening aids, such as bicarbonates and phosphates.”

What exciting bakery product launches have you recently seen?

“Brands are innovating with niche and novel ingredients to boost nutrition. Novel ingredients such as insect protein and cauliflower flour have recently been used in other food categories but are relatively unexplored in crackers and cookies. Such ingredients can appeal both on novelty and nutritional features. Insect and invertebrates as ingredients are exceptionally niche, but in the last year, there has been a notable rise in launch activity, primarily in the form of energy and protein bars.”

What are your predictions for the bakery market over the next 3-5 years?

“Global influences are infiltrating bakery product trends and development. Consumers have similar concerns regardless of where they come from and this will affect innovation. Latest trends clearly show an increasingly health-conscious consumer. Ancient and whole grains, all natural ingredients, and no added preservatives will increase the value of the bakery products. Consumers are also willing to pay more for an original, high-quality product that blends an ethical lifestyle and transparency, and these will be reflected in future launches.”

What are your predictions for the F&B industry over the next 3-5 years?

“Apart from the trends that repeat themselves in each sector of the F&B industry (namely health and wellness, convenience and sustainability), there will be two important social aspects that will influence new trends and consumer behaviour: one is the personalization of food products including personal tastes and even medical data; and the second is that customers are already heavily relying on social media marketing and this will empower consumers to unknown levels.”