A global study for Belgian ingredients manufacturer Puratos has unveiled key trends in the baking, patisserie and chocolate markets.

Carried out by InSites Consulting, the research included in-depth qualitative and quantitative surveying and was unveiled to over 100 Puratos customers at the company-hosted Taste Tomorrow London event on 28 October.

The study made four key observations: that consumers are expecting a greater range of foods in the ready-made and on-the-go sectors, that consumers fear food is becoming less healthy and more expensive, that an over-abundance of reports on which foods are and are not healthy has left consumers making decisions based on perception rather than fact, and that consumers were becoming increasingly concerned about food waste both from the perspective of environmental cost and personal expense.

Also revealed was a “baked goods triangle” which drives consumer decisions. Constructed from three elements of freshness, healthiness and taste, the report said the industry should refer to these when thinking about innovation.

Key trends

Insights Consulting carried out the qualitative part of its survey in two phases of online consultations. A series of two-hour discussion groups to examine key trends in the baking industry was followed by a number of in-depth conversations to uncover new trends. Meanwhile, the quantitative research took the form of a 20-minute survey which was completed by almost 11,000 people in 25 countries.

Julian Lewis, managing director at Puratos UK, said: “Understanding the consumer is at the heart of the Puratos business approach. Our goal today was to share our new insights into the fast-changing consumer preferences in the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors and to provide practical inspiration for innovative product development.”

After the results had been reported at Taste Tomorrow London, Paul Flatters, chief executive of the consumer behaviour analysis agency the Trajectory Partnership, gave a presentation on the factors changing consumer behaviour, citing the ‘deregulation of life’ concept as a key driver.

He said: “Part of this is driven by legislative changes - for example 24-hour drinking or Sunday shopping - but it is also driven by the rise in flexible working, changing gender roles and technology access.”

Puratos was established in Belgium in 1919 and provides ingredients for the bakery, patisserie and chocolate industries as well as global trend information such as the Taste Tomorrow study, which is updated every three years. Its products and services are available in over 100 countries, with Puratos UK based in Buckingham.