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Baking goes all in with innovation

In recent years we have been witnessing an increase in premiumisation of bakery offerings. This shift has been led by products that rely mainly on the vectors of health, quality of raw materials and processes, convenience and sustainability. We have also been observing a transformation in the range and sales model of distribution and hospitality. Will Covid slow down the premiumisation process? In this new context, everything indicates that one of the trends that is here to stay in the consumption of bakery products is the consumer’s need to bolster their confidence in the quality and safety of the product. This will be reflected in a greater demand for traceability and certification of raw materials, as well as recipes that respect taste and health.

01 Feb 2021

in premiumisation of the bakery offering, driven both from within the industry, with the launch of products with more added value, and from the distribution and hospitality industry, where we have been observing the transformation of their ranges in search of accelerating an upgrade in product lines and in the bread, pastry and confectionery sales model. The sector has thus been guaranteeing the growth of the value and profitability of the business, set against its gradual loss of sales in volume. This shift has been led by products that rely mainly on four vectors: health, the quality of raw materials and processes, convenience and sustainability.

This trend was also reinforced by public institutions in 2019 with the entry into force of Royal Decree 308/2019, which approved the new quality standard for bread. Here new specifications were collected on concepts such as sourdough, the limitation in the use of salt, and more stringent requirements for the formulation of the products, which were also supported by the application of a reduced VAT of 4% for new families of products that now have the consideration of common bread, such as whole grains.

We have been gradually seeing bread product lines strengthened, with longer preparation processes and rest periods that reinforce their organoleptic and nutritional characteristics, the introduction of new ingredients, mainly flour, seeds or butter, to craft a more sophisticated and healthy product, the democratisation of “clean label” products, the reduction in the use of sugars, and the normalisation of the organic range, linked to sustainability and health.

One of the most disruptive examples on which the industry is currently working is led by Europastry and the Huelva startup Healthy Food Ibérica, aiming to “break the mould of traditional fatty ingredients, promoting a healthy turning point in pastry, as well as the innovative use of olive oil in the category”. The value proposition of Healthy Food Ibérica consists in having developed “the first margarine with olive oil for application in pastries with the capacity to laminate and create puff pastries”, which will presumably be reflected in the short term in a new range of premium croissants in the bakery’s catalogue.

Will Covid slow down the premiumisation process?

“There is some concern, yes, but I think it will be temporary. I would speak more of a slowdown than a decline, because the increase in added value is a process that has been showing considerable strength for some time. We have to maintain as far as possible the plans we had for launching new items that add value to the category and that are appreciated by the consumer. We must maintain the innovation roadmap,” said Aurelio Antuña, CEO of Grupo Monbake, recently.

Meanwhile, Jordi Gallés, president of Europastry, suggested that “in the new crisis context we are going to see two realities, on the one hand, a price-sensitive consumer, who will reject initiatives that add more cost to the price of the product, but we will also have a consumer much more sensitive to initiatives such as sustainability or traceability. We will see consumption growing at these two extremes and becoming polarised.” 

In this new context, everything suggests that one of the trends that is here to stay in the consumption of bakery products is consumers’ need to bolster their confidence in the quality and safety of the product. This will be reflected in a greater demand for traceability and certification in raw materials, as well as in recipes that respect taste and health.

The healthy trend in this industry also plays its part in distribution, where specific product offerings, such as gluten-free, high-fibre or low-salt products, have become widespread. One example of this is the reopening in Madrid of a bakery coffee chain specialising in products for coeliacs, ‘0% Gluten’, which joins other similar chains, such as ‘Celicioso’.