As British Baker relaunches to meet the demands of today’s dynamic bakery market, we ask some of the industry’s major players what the next 10 years could mean for product development

The future of NPD

Ian Harris

Head of marketing, Lantmännen Unibake

Breakfast continues to see strong growth due to the on-the-go market, while snacking accounts for 52% of food-to-go visits. Bakery products need to meet on-the-go consumer requirements through hand-holdable shapes and easy-to-eat formats.

The on-the-go trend is heavily influenced by busy and time-poor consumers. We’ve seen delivery giants like Amazon Fresh and Deliveroo see an opportunity off the back of this, investing and growing their food delivery services.

Personalisation is an emerging trend set to grow rapidly, predominantly in the eating-out restaurant market. The bakery market needs to ensure future products offer solutions to consumers and outlets by being flexible enough to be customised or able to be presented as part of a range that offers something for everyone.

‘Mindful ingredients’ encompass a range of mini trends – including sustainability, health, story, provenance of ingredients and diet – that are rapidly gaining traction and are set to become a mega-trend in the bakery market.  Consumers will want to know the heritage, process of how it was produced, where it came from and its sustainability. This is the perfect trend for the bakery market to capitalise on, by offering insights into the baking process of their products, using heritage grains, seeds and cereals, as well as utilising superfoods as inclusions or toppings.

Jenny Hardwick

Senior nutrition manager,  Premier Foods

The trend around health will evolve over time. We are seeing free-from growing, and protein as an added-value ingredient is another example of a trend that looks set to continue. We have seen different categories experimenting with this, including confectionery. What bakery can learn from this is that the possibilities are endless as consumer behaviour changes – shoppers want healthier alternatives to the products they love and will try new concepts.

We may experience raw ingredients emerging within the bakery market. We have seen health food suppliers launching ‘raw energy balls’ as a convenient and healthy snacking option, and the initiative could work well in the future as bakery suppliers explore new formats.

Shane Vaughan

Head of retail marketing, Aryzta

Bakery will continue to play a huge role in the booming food-to-go category across both c-stores and foodservice. Growth is coming from premiumisation through artisan or speciality breads. Products such as sourdough will continue to be a star performer of the category.

There’s also a big opportunity for gourmet sandwiches freshly prepared in-store. Using a range of varied and interesting carriers as an alternative to pre-packed sandwiches offers a real point of difference.

Scratch bakery is an interesting concept. Outlets are using local mixes and baking in-store to deliver on local and provenance needs.

The health agenda will continue to play an important role. The focus is currently on soft drinks and confectionery but at some point, sweet bakery will come into focus. We need to be aware of this and balance indulgence with education.

Mike Faers

CEO, Good Sense Research

We are changing the way we consume, buy, and think about food – and the millennial consumer will be driven by trends including customisation and personalisation, which is what they have grown up with, from designing their own Nike trainers to social media wishing them happy birthday.

Two developments will make this possible within the bakery world:

Edible inks to customise bakery products like you do a birthday card.

Edible packaging, because sustainability is a real concern for this consumer and they will prioritise what they buy with that lens.

The rise of delivery with Amazon Fresh and Uber Eats means this consumer will expect what they want when they want it. Ten years ago, if you wanted fresh bread in the morning you had a bread-maker machine; now you will have it delivered.

This consumer will not buy loaves of the same size we do now, portion size will reduce and portability will increase. Consumers will manage health by portion size, but expect quality, indulgent treats in return.

Simon Solway

Sales & marketing director, AB Mauri

Key trends developing in recent years include health and wellness. These trends will continue.

Encouragingly, changes in the conventional wrapped bread market have resulted in a couple of signs of stability, with growth among white and wholemeal varieties. This, of course, will remain a challenging journey for all associated.

We expect customers to continue growing their interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) including sustainable product supply chains.

Jacqui Passmore

Marketing manager, Dawn Foods

As well as a nostalgic return to traditional cakes, we are seeing new traditions created as young bakers add their own dimension to time-served bakes. There are also futuristic trends in food, pointing towards the desire for a new future and a sense of ‘cool futurism’. This is reflected in more use of metallics to adorn, wrap and coat food: icings that glisten, golden molten fillings in desserts and glamorous wedding and celebration cakes designed to catch the eye.

There is a new focus on mouthfeel, imprinted foods, embossed coatings and multiple textures in one. These can be contrasting mouthfeel experiences, such as a creamy filling, along with a crunchy sprinkle of nuts.

‘Better for you’ and better for the environment has never been higher on consumers’ checklists. Sustainable sourcing is high on the agenda.

While healthy categories are growing fast, there is still room for occasional treats. Experience and indulgence are important means of escapism for consumers, particularly in today’s uncertain political climate. Consumers are increasingly looking for bakery items that deliver an experience and provide an element of indulgence, with sweet treats a growing category in bakery.

Chris Brockman

Research manager, Mintel

Given the fragmented, regionalised nature of the global bakery market, there are opportunities to bring concepts from one region to another. Street breads from the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, for example, have potential as packaged products to engage consumers in Europe.

A growing focus on quality and artisanship in bakery can be expected to continue, creating space for more premium varieties to grow the value of the market. In bread, consumers are linking rustic-style and natural and unprocessed indicators to a more healthy and high-quality/artisan purchase. This offers bakers a way to combat some of the negative health messages surrounding the sector.

The use of sourdough, ancient grains and heirloom wheats will continue to develop as consumers put their trust in tradition and buy into the back-story of a product.

With a continued focus on health, indulgent sweet bakery products will need to find a middle ground – offering indulgence and taste appeal, but making ‘some’ concessions to a better-for-you profile, be that sugar reduction, boosting health benefits such as fibre content, or the use of more natural ingredients.

Jonny Bingham

Director, Bingham & Jones

We are working with a number of gluten-free brands that are focusing on the ability to provide a fantastic, comparable and viable alternative to ‘off the shelf’ gluten-free bread and cake products. These are essentially bake-at-home mixes that rewrite the rules. The way in which they do that is by guaranteeing consistency in a home bake. We have tasted breads and cakes that are about to launch that are better than their gluten-containing rivals.

Erwan Inizan

Sales director, Bridor

We have identified four key trends that will influence our NPD:

Mix and Match – Following recent hybrid creations and mash-ups, expect to see further mixes. An example of this is our new croissant burger bun.

The New Normal – With consumer choice wide and palates a little jaded, classic items such as baguettes are considered run-of-the-mill. Consumers need to be re-engaged with products that are enhanced and given a new high-end interpretation.

Measured Indulgence – Pastries and desserts are going to become smaller, while taste buds are going to be tantalised with more intense flavours. In the age of Instagram, products are going to be even more visually appealing.

Zero Waste – Expect to see new ways in which stock can be better managed, such as just-in-time delivery and thaw-and-serve.

The future of ingredients

Marjolein Slingerland

Product group manager, Sonneveld

Eating is based on a new daily routine: we eat when we want and where we want, and food that is consumed out of home will continue to grow. This must be convenient and quick, but healthy, tasty and sustainable.

In an effort to achieve a healthy lifestyle, people move to diets that can vary from free-from or reduced-fat, to calorie or carbohydrate diets – all driving polarisation of the market.

The market for healthy single-packed snacks will grow, as well as ready-to-eat, tasty bakery products.

Transparency is very important for the consumer. Ingredients must be understandable where simple words are more important than no e-numbers or a logo.

Janet Carr

President, Craft Bakers Association

Retail bakery is being hammered when it comes to health. You only need a celebrity to endorse a new diet for every supermarket to jump on the bandwagon. If you add to this the latest advice and sustained campaigns from the FSA and government, the next 10 years are going to be a minefield for small bakery producers/retailers.

Do you jump on the bandwagon and set your sights on being perceived by customers as the fresh and healthy option? Or do you decide you make products that look and taste nice, are to be enjoyed as a treat or luxury?

You could opt to be all things to all people. Is there an argument for zoning production into different areas: everyday, healthy/specific health benefit and luxury/indulgent?

Whatever you decide to do, the trick will be to commit to it and do it well.

Alan Clarke

Chief executive, Scottish Bakers

Currently every chef on TV is pretending to be a baker and I suspect during the next ten years that won’t change.

The health and obesity agenda will still be high on the government agenda and soft drinks won’t be the only food items affected by the sugar tax. The UK will have left the EU, the Scottish government is talking about a second independence vote and speculation is rife that “indyref2” could be as soon as Autumn 2018. 

Bakers are used to dealing with whatever is thrown at them, but the current spate of legislation (the National Living Wage, Pension legislation and training levy) combined with significant ingredients costs rises and the uncertainty of access to migrant workers has certainly had a major impact on the sector. Unfortunately, this could also be the case during the next 10 years!!

Henry Ford said “thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”  But as a sector we need to think, what will our customer base look like in 10 years and what are the plans that we to put in place to make it happen.

Michael Schofield

Marketing manager, Bakels

Generational differences in the type of breads that are bought, especially amongst millennials, is leading a surging  interest in breads with perceived health benefits like seeded, multigrain and ancient grain varieties.

Extending the impact of perceived health benefits into convenient formats like flatbreads, wraps and thins can help achieve maximum relevance to modern consumer lives.

Products such as banana bread and other fruit/vegetable-containing products deliver consumer appeal, with a consideration for convenience which can demand a higher price.

Morgan Larsson

Global head of culinary, CSM

We expect to see even more creativity from bakers, particularly focusing on hybrids, savoury and sweet combinations, healthier alternatives, and ethnic inspirations.

There will also be a nod to traditional ingredients that have been used for hundreds of years, as their benefits are rediscovered. There are no rules to follow, so this gives bakers the opportunity to produce stunning creations using the highest-quality ingredients.

Taste buds in the UK are changing; more indulgent and darker flavours are popular and trends include chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, fudge and spice blends. Ethnic spices are a big trend, with ginger, paired with orange, or cardamom and savoury herbs and flavours a great way to create a range of breads or cakes.

Karin Meissner

Business development, Ingredion

As many manufacturers focus on removing ingredients such as sugars and fats, others will look to fortify products with nutritional ingredients, such as vitamins, fibre and protein.

With their high protein content, neutral colour palette and consumer-friendly labels, adding pulse-based flours and proteins to baked goods improves their nutritional profile. They may also support claims such as clean label, ‘high in protein’ and gluten-free, while maintaining an appealing texture, taste and look.

Selecting the right combination of ingredients will be key to ensuring the product replicates the binding, elasticity and moisture retention performance of gluten. Naturally gluten-free flours derived from tapioca and rice can be used to deliver improved dough rheology and enhanced hydration for a softer, smoother, tastier gluten-free baked good, while keeping a ‘flour’ labelling that consumers recognise. Alternatively, cold water swelling starches can help with the processing of gluten-free doughs, giving the necessary elasticity to crackers and biscuits, or improving the ability of loaves and buns to hold their shape.

Ingredion’s own consumer research found that an increased drive towards authenticity and realness will manifest itself as a demand for less perfect, less uniform-looking products. This will result in packaged bread manufacturers looking to replicate the charm of its handcrafted artisan counterparts to compete against the appeal of in-store bakeries.

Jonny Bingham

Director, Bingham & Jones

Bread companies have moved heaven and earth to reduce the salts and sugars in their products, and are now looking for ways to add back some flavour.

They are seeing that their customers are, in the main, moving away from packaged sliced breads, due to concerns over quality and flavour and are seriously looking to try and win those customers back.

Things like miso and seaweed powders are being trialled by some of the larger players.

Dr Pretima Titoria

Consultant, Leatherhead Food Research

Sugar reduction will continue to be an important trend. Identifying the best sweeteners or sweetener blends for different applications without  a detrimental effect on flavour profiles or cost implications is vital.

Exploitation of flavours as a sugar reduction tool is now gaining attention. DouxMatok claims to have developed a flavour-carrying particle which can reduce sugar content and calories by more than 50% without losing sweetness or raising costs. Nestlé has also announced that it has ‘successfully’ modified the structure of sugar, leading to sugar reduction in chocolate by 40%.

Developing gluten-free products that meet consumers’ sensory and price expectations will continue to challenge product developers in the next five years. One approach is to use hydrocolloids to mimic the action of gluten; hydrocolloids can bind water and act as an elastic interface, stabilising the air bubbles in bakery products. They include proteins, starches, and other polysaccharides such as xanthan gum, CMC (carboxymethylcellulose) and pectin.

The next 10 years will see no halt to consumers calling for exciting and innovative products that are clean-label, natural, as well as made with plant-based (vegan) and traditional ingredients.

Development of products with clean-label or natural additives, especially emulsifiers, is a challenge. The focus is now on proteins from plant sources, polysaccharides, phospholipids and saponins. Once

the isolation, fractionation, purification and characterisation steps have been achieved to deliver these pure ingredients, the prospects are excellent.

Paul Turner

Chairman, British Society of Baking

Fibre technology will continue to play a leading part in absorption rates of sugars in baked goods, but there is still no magic formula to replace sugar’s functionality and it will remain a big challenge in the decade to follow.

Ingredients are a big part of each British Society of Baking conference and we always have technical papers that look ahead. This year’s spring conference on 26 April will have a big focus on ingredients’ use over the next decade.

There are talks on recipe reformulation and whether lower sugar means adding more e-numbers. We’ll look at Tridordeum, a new cereal that combines wheat and barley, and can be milled for baking flour; and discuss protein fortifiers in food, because protein is a major talking point. With nutrition to the fore over the next decade, innovative uses of dairy and cheese ingredients will be considered (as the nation is encouraged to consume more calcium in their diets).

The ingredients industry is very heedful of opportunities in bakery, while listening to government demands and balancing them with consumer demands. The next decade will be challenging for the ingredients industry, and cost is always to the fore, but research is ongoing and vital.

The future of equipment

Andrew Jones

Managing director, Mono Equipment

The application of technology to improve energy efficiency, at every level, will become a standard must-have element in any new product design brief. For example, Mono is working on ground-breaking projects, exploring new and improved, high-efficiency insulation materials along with extremely effective alternative sources of heat generation.

The need for interconnectivity and communication between separate pieces of equipment is likely to become the norm along with remote access for real-time monitoring.

Richard Tearle

General manager, Rondo

Dough processing without dusting flour is high on the agenda.

At the industrial end of the equipment sector, the need for hygienically designed equipment will become more important. Easy to clean and maintain, low maintenance or even maintenance-free will be important drivers, along with sophisticated control systems, giving customers the ability to have every piece of information at their fingertips.

Obstacles such as handling gluten-free and free-from doughs on processing lines will become more important to tackle.

Ann Wells

Group marketing director, Brook Food

Artisan is here to stay and manufacturers are finding ways to help automate artisan production. In the past, capacity and volume have been key, but authenticity may have suffered where technology advanced. With the focus back on the quality of the product, this is changing.

An example would be automatic loading and unloading of traditional steam tube ovens. In a recent installa-tion we replaced four four-deck steam tube ovens with two larger six-deck ovens. The product is made in the normal way, then placed on special loading trollies, proved and the trolley positioned at the loading station. The process is then automatic until the cooling trolley full of baked bread is removed at the unloading station.

This is an example of the industrial sector changing to produce the same products, of the same quality, with less labour overall and more consistency across a more streamlined process.

Steve Merritt

Managing director, EPP

Areas of high growth will be artisan-style products, free-from, prepared meal components and snack products. Bakers will be looking for equipment that will allow them to develop these, while ensuring they have the flexibility to meet future demand.

With the fall in sterling and increasing commodity prices, bakers and food manufacturers will remain under significant pressure from retailers to keep prices low. The solution will be new equipment that cuts labour costs, provides energy savings and reduces waste levels.

In the longer term, Brexit will lead to some form of immigration control being applied in the UK. Any shortfall in the workforce is likely to fuel demand for further investment in automation with a focus on removing low-level repetitive tasks.

Terry O’Donoghue

Burford Bakery Solutions

There is a constant desire to provide the consumer with variations on the many bread and morning goods products on the market. Once it was just a question of making breads from around the world available, in volume, on supermarket shelves. Now there is a perceived need to provide more variations of those products.

This, coupled with the trend of giving products an artisan-produced appearance, gives us the challenge of continuous development in topping, water splitting and glazer technology.

There is also growing concentration on the ease of maintaining strict hygiene regimes without production processes being interrupted.