Attendees at the Taste Tomorrow event hosted by Puratos at the Drake Hotel in Chicago heard yesterday about the 10 mega-trends identified for the bakery, patisserie, and chocolate sectors revealed by a survey involving 6,400 consumers in 14 countries and performed by Insites Consulting.
Hakim Zemni, Insites’ managing director, told attendees that the first trend considered the question of consumer optimism or pessimism about the food industry - Food apocalypse or food utopia. The response to this survey question was different in different countries, with a general split between optimism in emerging countries like India, China and Mexico, and pessimism in established markets like the US and Canada, he said.
Consumers pay a great deal of attention to product labels, but there are subtle differences in what they look for, depending on whether they are optimistic or pessimistic about the food they eat. In Asia, consumers look for ‘health’ cues on labels, whereas European and North American consumers look for the absence of ‘artificial’ cues, he said.
Nutritional value and naturalness are key success factors for this trend. For bakery, portraying an image of being natural means closing the gap between supply, manufacturing and selling. Consumers increasingly want to purchase products that feel like they were baked 30 minutes ago, he said.
“The perception of health has changed,” he said. “Two-thirds of consumers in America think healthy foods taste good.”
Sustainability claims on labels, however, do not make much difference to consumer perceptions, he added. “Sustainability is not a game-changer. It may help, but packaging that lists a product’s carbon footprint is not a massive factor.”
Quality vs price
The second mega-trend was consumer perception of quality and price. For example, the survey data indicated that 55% of Mexican consumers buy on quality, and only 25% on price. However, in the US and Canada, 41% buy on quality and an almost equal amount factor in price (38%).
On tradition and innovation, Zemni said that consumers do not see this as an apparent conflict.
“Thirty-eight percent of Americans prepare food based on traditional recipes,” he said, “but the same percentage also likes to try something completely new.”
“Consumers want the best of both worlds.”
An example of this is the rise of Parisian macaroons in the US - a very traditional French product, but changed to suit American tastes. This has led to extra-large macaroons with tastes like peanut butter and jelly, he said.
The big 10
The ten mega-trends identified were listed as:
- Food apocalypse vs food utopia
- Quality perception
- The baking of… - manufacturers should express their passion for their products
- Food, sweet food – Food is increasingly a form of self-expression
- City brands – This has unused potential. For example, in Tokyo it is easier to sell a ‘NY bagel’ than to sell a ‘bagel’
- Tradition vs innovation
- Meal mobility – The balance between the pleasure of eating and the ease of convenience
- Small pleasures, big health – The smaller the product, the more likely people want it to be pleasurable. The larger the portion, the more healthy it needs to be.
- Authentic bakery feel – Creating that authentic bakery feel for consumers.
- Bakery superstars & Super bakeries – Small players should promote their star products. They should also seek to grow their portfolios.
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