Paris is considered by many to be the home of some of the best bakers in the world. This year’s Europain 2020, held from January 11-14, brought the city together with the rest of the world to share that knowledge and illuminate today’s latest trends and baking techniques.
Europain reinvented itself for this year’s event. Held at the Port de Versailles located in the Paris city center, the location and size of the venue made it possible for attendees to not just attend the show but also experience all the city has to offer.
At the show, attendees were greeted with new bakery products, equipment, techniques and information from Europe and beyond.
Alternative grains and blends of grains were a constant across the show floor. Bread created with grains like buckwheat, spelt, einkorn, rye, and quinoa could be seen at most booths. The driving factor of these types of bread is their healthy reputation.
Another trend not new to the world of baking that could be seen abundantly at the event was organic ingredients. And one panel of industry experts asked the question: Is converting to organic products a necessity?
“No, it’s not compulsory,” answered Fabian Delamare, artisan baker from Delamare Boulangerie in Elbeuf, France. “We want to respect the purchasing power of some customers. Organic is typically 20 percent more expensive than conventional food. We see that 2 out of 10 consumers buy organic. And yet there is a demand to offer both.”
Challenges in farming and harvesting organic wheats also exists. The yields are lower, and the baking process varies greatly with organic wheat versus conventional, which can include improvers and other ingredients to help the bread.
However, the trend toward organic products continues to accelerate.
“We’ve seen the increase in demand for organic products,” Delamare said. “The younger generations are more sensitive to this, and they expect things that are good for the environment and themselves.”
Europain also tried to answer questions for bakers looking to partner with food service retailers by identifying the driving forces in the market. There were five main food service trends identified, according to the Food Service Vision survey “Successful Artisan Bakers/Pastry Chefs.” There is a major boom in sourcing local ingredients as 30 percent of bakers and pastry chefs said they buy locally.
The second trend is the focus on quality ingredients, as 88 percent said they would like to see full traceability for flours — from manufacturing to delivery. 
The third was a focus on health. More than 60 percent of successful artisan bakers sell what are considered healthy bread varieties.
Another trend highlighted the need for bakers to create a diversified offering. Many bakers are now creating prepared dishes as an answer to the growing demand for meals at all times of the day, particularly breakfast and lunch.
Fifth and finally, the survey highlighted the importance of business-to-business relationships as 65 percent of bakers at the show do business with restaurants, hotels or caterers.
These trends and more were discussed at the Europain Forum where experts delved into the topics in depth.
Europain also debuted several new attractions at this year’s event.
Co-produced by Europain and the students from Le Cordon Bleu School of Catering in Paris, Europain featured an inspiring new concept that delivered an immersive experience through a bakery concept that stands as a source of inspiration to entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow, known as Muse.
As a concept bakery, Muse made and sold bakery and snacking products throughout the show. This live demonstration was unique in terms of customer experience, products, production methods, and payment system. It combined artisan methods with new technologies, and it served as a gathering place for business meetings and relaxation. The students from Le Cordon Bleu designed Muse as an ecosystem in which nothing was wasted. This theme could be seen throughout Europain as several speakers and events highlighted the need to reduce food waste in restaurants and retail bakeries.
Combined with the 2020 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie and the 2020 Coupe Europe de Patisserie, this year’s Europain found its new identity in the heart of Paris.