In the frozen and par-baked arena, bakers are discovering new ways to give Oprah Winfrey hundreds of reasons to shout out, “I love bread,” as well as rolls, buns and flatbreads — even sweet goods and more.
For the most part, “no” is not in bakers’ vocabularies. The words “reduced,” “low” or “free,” aren’t either, for that matter. If perception is reality, then the bakers who spar in this highly competitive segment of the baked goods market are using a language that speaks to their customers and ultimately communicates with consumers on multiple levels.
“Transparency, clean label and adventurous flavors are three top trends that we see across nearly all bakery categories but even more so within the breads and rolls segment,” says Andrew Brimacombe, chief commercial services officer for Los Angeles-based Aryzta. “Innovating foods to meet these trends that are important to consumers is key.”
Specifically, suppliers to the food service, in-store bakery, convenience store and multiple other channels are identifying trends as they continue to evolve and responding to those nuances that drive purchasing patterns and overall consumption of baked goods.
Take “healthy” — that often overused term.
“The consumer’s perception of ‘healthy’ has transformed from focusing on what the food is missing — reduced fat, low calorie, sugar-free, etc. — to what the food itself is — non-G.M.O., clean label, simple, wholesome ingredients, etc.,” Mr. Brimacombe says. “Consumers are embracing the slow food movement and appreciate brands that are making food the way it was meant to be made. At Aryzta, we recognize the consumer’s need for transparency and are making foods to fit the demand within our leading sweet snacks brand, Otis Spunkmeyer, as well as our premier bread brand, La Brea Bakery.”
Aryzta is not alone in jumping on the wholesome bandwagon where the lexicon on the label requires a shorter and simpler-to-pronounce list of ingredients that invoke an image of purity.
“Clean label initiatives are not going away,” says Marc Essenfeld, chief executive officer of Tribeca Oven, based in Carlstadt, N.J. “Although the landscape may be shifting in terms of consumer demands, the overarching theme is transparency and choice. Consumers want to know what is in their food and then have the choice to decide if they want to consume those ingredients or not. Tribeca Oven has always used simple and pure ingredients and is in the process of obtaining non-G.M.O. certification and reviewing the use of organic ingredients in a selection of products.”
La Brea Bakery will also be non-G.M.O. certified by the end of 2016. In May, the company rolled out a line of farm-to-table artisan bread. Made from non-G.M.O., single-origin heirloom grains, La Brea Bakery Reserve bread comes in three varieties: Fortuna Wheat Loaf, Pain de Campagne and Struan. The wheat comes from Wheat Montana Farms, a family-owned operation based in Three Forks, Mont.
Aryzta also announced that La Brea Bakery will be transitioning to use of cage-free eggs this year.
“While the majority of La Brea Bakery breads and other foods do not include eggs, those that do will use cage-free eggs as the ingredient in recipes which connects to simple ingredients and the farm-to-table and transparency trends that are so important in today’s market,” Mr. Brimacombe says.
Other baked foods trends to look for include all-day breakfast, premium toast and open-face sandwiches, and ciabatta as a snack. You can read more about these at Baking Business.