Puratos: The 3 Hottest Bakery and Patisserie Trends for 2024

Puratos’ Taste Tomorrow Report, launched this month, forecasts the most important trends that will shape the bakery and patisserie industry. The results are based on a global consumer survey among 20,000 people in 50 countries, as well as cutting-edge AI-powered online data science, according to Puratos.

The 3 hottest trends shaping the 2024 bakery industry are:

  1. PLANT FORWARD

From plant-based to plant-unique

The steady seismic shift in consumer preference from animal-based to plant-based foods is reshaping the bakery industry. While many breads are already fully vegan, some baked goods rely heavily on eggs, butter and dairy products. According to our research, 56% of consumers worldwide are interested in plant-based options of (sweet) bakery products. So the call for plant-based bakery innovations is massive, especially in the Middle East and Africa (74%), South America (70%) and many countries in the Asian Pacific region (68%).

Companies such as Soy Concha Bakery have already jumped at the opportunity. They’ve developed plant-based versions of pan dulce, the traditional Mexican sweet buns. But as the plant-based trend evolves and matures, we see consumers now wanting more than just vegan versions of the classics. 

52% of consumers already think plant-based alternatives taste as good as animal-based food products, so now the forerunners and trendsetters are looking for distinctly plant-based recipes that connect the unique properties of plants. We see a change from plant-based to plant-unique. Vegan dishes are now incorporating plant-based ingredients for their own sensorial or taste characteristics, not as a substitution or imitation.

  1. SOURDOUGH & GUT FEELING 

Happy gut, happy life

It’s not the most sexy topic to discuss, but consumers couldn’t care less. Gut health is a trending topic and people are obsessing over having a proper digestion and a healthy gut. This is excellent news for the bakery industry, because 85% of consumers now say that fibers have a positive effect on digestion and whole grain bread is one of the most popular and well-known sources of fiber.

With this growing awareness of gut health worldwide, consumers become more knowledgeable about the exact workings of the gut and which ingredients they should opt for. 7 in 10 consumers now agree as well that biotics (probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics) are trusted ingredients to improve digestion. Globally, this is a 7% increase compared to 2021, with the biggest shift coming from Europe (54% in 2021 vs 65% now).

Consumers also trust that improving gut health has a positive effect on mental well-being, a belief held by a whopping 79% of consumers. This translates into the search for multipurpose gut-friendly foods. Think of digestion-friendly snacks that also improve your mood, such as the cookies from Toto Foods. Their birthday cookie with vegan white chocolate chips and colorful sprinkles is promoted as “a party in your mouth (and your whole body)”, because it improves gut health, but also helps to stabilize your mood and improves performance and focus.

This increased interest in gut health goes hand in hand with the sourdough hype. It’s no longer just the beautiful artisanal looks that draw consumers towards sourdough baked goods. Sourdough fermented bread stands out for its superior digestibility, a result of its extended fermentation process. This slow fermentation unlocks an array of advantages: increased release of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, contributing to enhanced nutritional content.

62% of consumers perceive sourdough products as healthy at this moment, a mind-blowing increase compared to 2021, when just 52% of people held that belief.

  1. NATURAL & ORGANIC

The great appeal of clean eating

For which baked goods’ benefits are consumers willing to pay extra right now? Freshness is the undisputed #1, but the second one may surprise you: it’s naturalness and a ‘clean’ ingredient list. Clean, easily understandable product labels are evidently in high demand. Not only do consumers prefer bakery products that are minimally processed and free from artificial additives, but 28% of consumers are willing to pay more for them.

In fact, 71% of consumers globally would buy more at bakeries where everything is baked with natural ingredients. In 2021, that was just true for 66% of consumers worldwide. Especially North American consumers have strongly shifted their attitude towards these all-natural bakeries, with an increase from 54% to 66%.

Bread made with natural ingredients is perceived as more healthy. So people are now closely studying the products they buy, hoping to eat as clean as possible. 3 out of 4 people in our survey recently looked at the packaging information of bakery products. There, their eyes instantly bolt toward the ingredient list. 

So if you’re tapping into this trend, be sure to communicate this very clearly on your product packaging. Besides using labels such as ‘non-GMO’, ‘no artificial additives’ and ‘no artificial sweeteners’, you can also clearly communicate your ingredient list on the front of your product if you dare. A move which is already popular among energy bar companies such as RXBAR, who’ve filled up the entire front of their protein bar with nothing but the ingredient list, which they end with a very tongue-in-cheek ‘No B.S.’. 

The 3 hottest trends shaping the 2024 patisserie industry are:

  1. TECH INSPIRED & EXPERIENCE DELIGHT

Harmonizing traditional craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology

Backed by the pioneering Taste Tomorrow research, the ‘Tech Inspired’ movement is the driving force shaping the patisserie landscape in 2024. It has firmly established itself as the industry’s fastest-growing global trend. At its core is the integration of cutting-edge technology like AI, driven by consumers’ increasing appetite for unique and memorable dining experiences—a trend we’ve coined as ‘Experience Delight’. This transformation is especially evident as consumers embrace online shopping convenience, prompting brick-and-mortar patisserie stores to elevate their offerings for exceptional, unforgettable experiences.

Notably, a significant 42% of consumers worldwide now advocate for more automated stores, a substantial increase from 2018’s reported 35%. This statistic underlines the surging demand for tech-inspired and memorable shopping experiences, extending this demand to the patisserie sector.

‘Tech Inspired’ trend is about fulfilling consumers’ desires for novelty and memorability through technology. With modern consumers being irresistibly drawn to tech-inspired solutions that elevate their culinary adventures, patissiers should consider the potential of ChatGPT— a groundbreaking AI tool. ChatGPT can assist patissiers in crafting groundbreaking recipes that redefine flavor and desserts that astound taste buds. Additionally, ChatGPT excels in optimizing ingredient usage, reducing waste while offering personalized recommendations for consumers seeking extraordinary culinary experiences within the realm of ‘Experience Delight’.

Brick-and-mortar stores can tap into this consumer interest by offering enticing products that ignite indulgence within an unforgettable environment. Give your customers an experience that simply can’t be replicated online. Think of the glass-walled kitchen in the ornate, baroque tearoom at Demel in Vienna. Guests can watch the pastry chefs in action while enjoying an iconic piece of sachertorte underneath the crystal chandeliers. This offers entertainment and even makes the cake taste better, because guests can observe how it was prepared. 

  1. CLASSICS CONTINUED

Stay close to the familiar when innovating

One of the pastries that went viral on TikTok this year was the cube croissant by the London bakery Le Deli Robuchon. This laminated pastry has a perfectly geometric shape and comes in a variety of flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, and matcha with raspberry. TikTokkers loved to queue up for this snack and show themselves off biting into this trendy new snack and sharing their review with the world.

With this innovation, pastry chef Ait Elamouam knows exactly how to hit the right spot. While consumers like to try new foods, they aren’t keen on venturing too far into unknown territories. They are looking for innovations with a familiar aspect, such as the trusted croissant in a new and surprising form, that is exciting to eat, but offers a well-known flavor and texture. It seems that consumers are sticking to the classics they know and trust ever more, since 73% of consumers state they like to have a familiar element when trying new types of food. In 2021, that was just 67% of people worldwide. With a score of 79%, consumers in South America, the Middle East and Africa are especially wary of everything too new and different.

Please consumers by offering products that bring feelings of warmth and comfort. Traditional hot cross buns, croissants or tres leches cakes offer sweet and creamy flavors loved by all, and invoke happy memories of family gatherings. If you want to experiment, try out food with different textures and in new formats. Now more than ever, texture is a valued component that can offer newness or familiarity to a baked product. So add a surprising caramel center to your well-known pastries or simply focus on making your cake dough extra fluffy.

Be sure to pay special attention to looks as well, because the term eye-candy has never been more fitting than today. Five years ago, 54% of consumers agreed that Food that looks good, tastes good. Now, that number has gone up to 64%. We are drawn towards perfectly golden brown, shiny and airy Danish pastries because a beautiful laminated dough creation is a sign of skill and craftsmanship, just like a sourdough bread with a nice big ear or a satin shine, flawless bonbon. Appearance is an indicator of quality and an artisanal and handmade aesthetic is valued higher than simply visual perfection.

  1. LOCAL AUTHENTICITY 

A treat from nearby is better than a treat from far away

It used to be the case that things from afar benefited from an aura of exclusivity and singularity, but the table has turned. Consumers now prefer to buy local food or food that is produced locally. 39% of people buys food that is locally produced or made with local ingredients at least weekly. It’s now local pastry and bread that is valued for its authenticity. They gain authenticity from their special recipes and profit from a higher value and quality perception. 

Two out of three consumers want to know where their food comes from, so transparency is key if you want to profit from the local trend. Be sure to share how you make your food, what ingredients are used and where they come from.

The call for transparency is highest in the Middle East and Africa. 81% of consumers wants to be informed on those product specs. There, well-known pastry chefs such as Sahar Parham Al Awadhi draw influence from local recipes and seek out the best local ingredients for their creations. The former Head Pastry Chef at the Burj Al Arab – one of the world’s most luxurious hotels in Dubai – loves to work with products such as rosewater or cardamom for her signature creations such as the re-invention of the classic Egyptian umm Ali as a white chocolate sphere with rose mousse, pistachio sponge and toffee. She prefers to use locally sourced ingredients to work more sustainably and to support agriculture in the UAE.

Sustainability is an important driver among consumers too to opt for locally produced foods. 70% think that is better for the environment. Another 65% believe that it is healthier to eat local products as well. So opting for local production and/or ingredients makes your products attractive on many levels and to many different consumers.

 

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