Puratos, a leading ingredients innovator in the bakery, sweet goods and chocolate industry, highlighted industry trends and consumer preferences at its two-day conference, Taste Tomorrow 2023, held in Austin, Texas on September 19-20.

“By monitoring emerging trend signals and predicting their growth trajectories, we are able to gain insight into the future of our industry,” says Jaina Wald, vice president marketing, Puratos USA. “Our goal is to remain at the forefront of innovation and ensure that our partners and clients stay ahead of the curve. By understanding consumer needs, motivations, moments and narratives, Puratos delivers a holistic understanding of the current landscape and envisions the future of food.”

Using cutting-edge data science and AI to transform raw data into actionable insights, the company has identified the latest industry and consumer trends:

The “Tech-Inspired” Revolution: Embracing Innovation and Craftsmanship

North America’s fastest-growing trend is captivating both consumers and professionals seeking to harmonize traditional craftmanship and cutting-edge technology by using AI-powered generation and 3D printing. In addition to AI technologies influencing recipe generation, one in three consumers believe that AI will help them make better food choices.

“By fusing technology and culinary craftsmanship, we’re pushing creative boundaries and entering a new era of recipe personalization with tools like ChatGPT and text-to-image generators,” Wald says. “Technologies like 3D printing bring culinary visions to life, fostering unparalleled experimentation and elevating the entire industry.”

“Classics Continued” and “Fusion Flavors”

Puratos research finds that more than half (69 percent) of North American consumers polled are looking for nostalgic, familiar culinary experiences, while another 64 percent are interested in experimenting with food presented in new ways.  

“This distinctive duality of desiring classic comforts as well as the thrill of the unexplored presents an exciting opportunity for industry professionals to leverage the power of classics while reinventing finished goods to encourage exploration and discovery,” Wald says.

The “Gut Feeling” Trend: Demanding gut-friendly delights for everyday meals

Over three-fourths (76 percent) of North American consumers polled recognize the essential role of improving gut health for overall health – from a boost in immunity to enhanced mental well-being. This increased focus on gut health has led to rising demand for bakery, sweet goods and chocolate products infused with probiotics, prebiotics and fiber.

“This striking interest in gut health among North American consumers is translating into a demand for multipurpose gut-friendly foods that offer holistic health benefits and enhanced energy,” Wald says.

Sourdough has emerged as one of the most popular goods in this category among consumers. 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 an overall enhanced nutritional content.  

Plant Forward: Cultivating a Greener Indulgence

In North America, 53 percent of consumers recognize the positive impact that pant-based choices have on the environment, while another 46 percent believe plant-based offerings both cater to their well-being and are a healthier choice than animal-based products.

“Our proprietary Taste Tomorrow research program offers unparalleled insight into the ever-evolving food industry,” Wald says. “By providing a deep understanding of consumers’ changing needs and desire, we empower businesses to stay ahead of the game and create products that truly resonate with their customers. In a world where innovation is key, Taste Tomorrow is the ultimate tool for success.”