What do consumers want from healthy baked goods?

Clean labels, plant-based products and nutrition-packed ingredients have been flagged up among the top health trends for the coming year.

Trust, the environment, veganism and taste underpin the healthy food trends of 2020, according to ingredients supplier Puratos. The business has made the predictions following the launch of its global Taste Tomorrow trends report, which it has claimed is the world’s largest bakery, patisserie and chocolate consumer survey.

“Brands and businesses that can demonstrate transparency and credible environmental initiatives, as well as offering high-quality products, will be those to benefit,” said Puratos UK sales director Jo Greengrass.

“With health only set to rise higher on the agenda, businesses should look to promote ‘power ingredients’, source responsibly and reformulate to maximise chances of success in the 12 months ahead and beyond.”

The key health trends identified by the business are:

Plant-based

Puratos’ Taste Tomorrow research found that 20% of people bought vegan/vegetarian food on a weekly basis and 24% expected to buy more in the future. About four in 10 consumers (38%) said they believed vegan food had a positive impact on the environment and 69% saw plant-based products as a solution to prevent or solve food shortages.

“These results highlight the strength of the trend and the importance of the environmental benefit of this lifestyle choice to the consumer,” added the company. “It is in brands’ best interests to share how they are supporting the environment and maintain a strong dialogue with an audience that can only grow.”

Clean-label

Researchers found that 86% of people said they checked labels, an increase on the previous Taste Tomorrow report in 2015. Puratos expected this to grow further in 2020, with demand for clean-label formulations increasing.

A third of consumers searched for information on artificial colourings and flavourings, while 36% checked labels for preservatives and the same number looked for details on the source of a product.

“Brands and business should highlight claims connected to these concerns on-pack, in-store and on social media and look to re-formulate where possible and appropriate,” stated Puratos.

Less and more

Healthy food was about both ‘less’ and ‘more’, according to Puratos, with 70% of consumers saying health was about removing ingredients and 61% saying it was about adding them.

Fibre was one nutrient set to grow in favour in 2020, found Puratos, which suggested businesses could tap this trend by incorporating higher-fibre ingredients into formulations and highlighting ‘source of’ or ‘high fibre’ claims on pack. 

Grains and seeds

While grains and seeds scored highly with consumers for health and taste, around half of consumers (54%) were aware these could be incorporated in bread. Puratos suggested this presented an opportunity to educate consumers on the fact these ingredients could be present in bread, and make consumers aware of their health and taste benefits

Vegetable and fruit fillings

Vegetable and fruit fillings have been tipped to grow as ‘patisserie power ingredients’ in 2020. As well as increasing the health credentials of finished goods, these offered taste benefits and were associated with naturalness, noted the firm.

Cocoa

Cocoa also looked set to become a ‘patisserie power ingredient’, according to Puratos, with nine out of 10 consumers saying they thought cocoa offered both health and flavour benefits, compared to eight out of 10 in 2015.

“The percentage of cocoa in chocolate is consumers’ fourth most important buying consideration for chocolate, ahead of even health and freshness, so bakers and manufacturers would do well to promote this.”

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