Bakers will take healthy eating to the next level, according to a food industry expert who has predicted five trends that may shape the market next year.

Product development will become more focused on health, particularly gut health, said Jane Milton, who is ‘chief inspiration officer’ at the Food & Drink Innovation Network, and has 30 years’ experience in the baking industry.

Consumers will continue to be concerned about where their food comes from, she added, highlighting five core trends for the bakery sector in 2018:

Gut health

Fermented foods such as sourdough and gut health have been "bubbling along" for the past few years

“Sourdough is generally perceived to be better for your gut because the mother dough has a wild yeast rather than an actual yeast. The process of making sourdough bread means the wild yeast neutralises phytic acids in the bread, which makes it easier for you to digest.”

She added: “It also means that you get more minerals in these breads because normally phytic acids would stop your body absorbing them. This means that there are many reasons why certain breads are good for you."

Natural Sweeteners

Inulin is a fibrous carbohydrate, increasingly being used as a sugar and flour replacement, which can be added to baked products such as cakes

“I would recommend bakers go online and buy inulin in small quantities. There are many manufacturers selling inulin specifically for baking,” Milton explained. “The great thing about inulin is not only is it a natural sweetener, it has a lot of other benefits in terms of sustaining a good gut.

“I personally would use it in products more than stevia because it doesn’t just reduce the level of sugar that you would put in something. Bakers can also use it to bake granola-type bars, cookies, muffins and doughnuts, as well as in bread. I think for the baking industry it’s a great thing.”

Plant-based foods

Vegan and gluten-free products are becoming more mainstream every month, and next year will resemble meat in texture and appearance to appeal to a growing market

“On the bakery side, I think you will see more vegan products. Bakers will be conscious about not putting animal-based products into baked goods. I also think many people who are eating vegan products are not necessarily vegan, they are either trying to cut down the amount of meat they eat because they are worried about the sustainability issues and thinking it will be a healthier option.

"I think this year, there will be more gluten-free and vegan pasties and pies coming into bakeries using things like lentils and mushrooms."


The food-to-go trend will continue to grow, and more innovations will be made in products such as pies and pasties

“Food-to-go is very strong in the bakery industry. I think there will be more innovation in pies and pasties in the future. Many companies are also producing premium sausage roll products that would very much appeal to adults.”


Bakers will be using more "clever” ways to reduce waste

“Bakers need to think how they can re-purpose their products instead of throwing it away. I’ve seen bakers selling croutons for soup or as a snacking product from surplus bread. Bakers are also making bread puddings and Christmas truffles that are made from sponge cakes.

“There are initiatives such as the Real Bread Campaign on how to look after bread. The campaign’s messages and recipes should be placed on packaging on how to make things such as croutons. We need some education and to be more resourceful with what we can do with our waste products.”