Focus: Bakery products market retains a healthy momentum despite pandemic conditions

This year has seen a broad base of bakery and snacks ranges come to market despite the pandemic, with the sector as a whole continuing to show growth. Neill Barston reports

While the world continues to grapple with the ongoing effects of the present coronavirus pandemic, the food and drink sector continues apace as an essential service. Clearly, there have been many impact in terms of market prices, logistics and manufacturing chains being hit to varying degrees in different markets.

As far as the bakery segment is concerned, it had displayed a strong deal of momentum in the run-up to 2020, and despite global turbulence, there are signs of its resilience. The market – worth $478 billion last year according to the IMARC research group, is widely expected to top the $500 billion point next year, despite uncertain conditions. In terms of notable trends for the year, as Confectionery Production has noted in a number of industry segment areas, delivery of product ranges with innovative flavours and tastes, that are also demonstrably healthier for you continue to play a key role within the marketplace.

For its part in the UK, there have been a number of notable sector developments over the past few months that have been designed to drive the sector forward. Among them is a move from business accelerator Mission Ventures joining with bakery brand Warburtons to launch a scheme to help deliver new innovations. Its latest initiative, known as Batch Ventures has been designed to support the growth of SMEs and start-ups, combining equity funding together with hands-on support from successful entrepreneurs and industry professionals. The partners are looking for businesses that incorporate baking in their production process – from traditional baked goods, such as breads, crackers and biscuits to cookie dough, baking kits and baked snacks.

Irish-headquartered Kerry, the taste and nutrition company, has confirmed its Acryleast acrylamide-reducing yeast has received “organic suitable” status in the European Union, for use within biscuits and bakery ranges.

As the firm noted, the status positions the product of its kind to reduce naturally occurring chemical acrylamide, which has been scientifically prove to be a carcinogen under high cooking temperatures, within the EU or the US, allowing it to be used as an ingredient in the production of organic foods such as children’s biscuits, baked goods, crackers, as well as within bread. Acryleast, which was launched in 2019 was reportedly already considered to have “organic suitable” status in the United States as a non-GMO, clean label yeast.

As the business notes, amid coronavirus, consumers are changing their lifestyles more than ever, driven by concerns about their health, and they increasingly consider organic foods beneficial to their health. In France, for example, 49 per cent of consumers agree that organic food is healthier than non-organic. The organic market continues to see strong sales growth, with the European organic sector recording expansion of 11 per cent — from €33.5bn to €37.3bn — from 2016 to 2017. With 17 per cent of food and drink products launched in Europe carrying organic claims (Aug 2018–July 2019, Mintel Insights), this category needed a suitable and effective solution for acrylamide reduction.

Product diversity

Similarly, with demand high for clean label alternatives, the growth in traditional ‘ancient grains’ continues to rise. Spelt in particular is making a comeback, and it is favoured due to its nutritional profile, taste and wholesomeness.

In response, Kröner-Stärke has developed a wide range of versatile spelt products at its all-natural processing facility, providing the food sector with spelt gluten, starches, flours and pre-gelatinised spelt starches. With a higher vitamin content than traditional wheat, spelt makes an excellent choice for health-conscious consumers. Kröner-Stärke says its spelt ingredients are ideal for the production of premium products such as breads, pastries and baking mixes. Its Vital Spelt Gluten in particular reportedly has excellent visco-elastic properties, allowing for an increased volume and improved stabilisation of the dough.

Kröner-Stärke’s pre-gelatinised spelt starch increases dough hydration, extending the shelf life of baked goods whilst avoiding the use of E-numbers and other additives. As a producer of organic starch products in Europe, Kröner-Stärke’s entire spelt range can also be produced in an organic format.

New product development

Major groups have unveiled their plans for the Christmas season ahead, including pladis, which is tapping into key seasonal consumer trends – indulgence, togetherness and gifting – the McVitie’s 2020 Christmas selection comprises iconic festive favourites, as well as fresh innovation. Pladis says that the return of popular products alongside NPD is sure to drive excitement amongst snacking shoppers in the lead-up to Christmas.

“This year we’re taking the range one step further by giving some of our bestsellers – McVitie’s Digestives and McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes – a festive transformation, offering retailers the chance to take an even bigger bite out of the £161 million seasonal sales opportunity,” explains Jonathan Bull, head of pladis’s seasonal brands, who says that its Halloween selection is also taking on a bold design stance with five new products featuring vibrant, sugar skull-themed packaging.

Tapping into the mass appeal of seasonal events, pladis is launching three new products under two of its biggest brands – McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes and McVitie’s Digestives – as well as additional NPD under its Halloween exclusive McVitie’s Funny Bones range.

UK-based Fatherson Bakery has created a range of mini cupcakes and loaf offerings for Halloween 2020. The new range includes a pack of nine mini Trick or Treat Halloween Cupcakes, available with either chocolate, vanilla, or orange buttercream, topped with a scary Halloween character. Within the wider market, one of the most eye-catching deals has been signed between Nestlé Professional and Dawn Foods in a co-branding venture for bakery ranges including cookies and KitKat-topped muffins, in the EMENA Region (Europe, Middle East & North Africa).

According to the two businesses, the long-term agreement will see Dawn Foods will create unique recipes and a range of high-quality bakery products, made with ingredients from Nestlé. Both companies see this partnership as a good opportunity to link Nestlé’s most loved confectionery branded ingredients with the top-quality ingredients of Dawn Foods. Meanwhile, Independent biscuit maker, Border Biscuits, continues to expand its UK foothold following a landmark retail listing with supermarket giant, Morrisons.

The deal follows £1 million of private investment in the independently run firm’s Lanark manufacturing plant; enabling a run rate of up to 500 chocolate biscuit bars a minute. 182 Morrisons stores across the country will now carry the newly launched Dark Chocolate Ginger Biscuit Bars; an evolution of Border’s bestselling Dark Chocolate Ginger and the company’s first foray into the fast-growing ‘snack bar’ category. In the last 12 months, Border Biscuits has recorded sales of over £5m for its Dark Chocolate Ginger, crowning it the UK’s favourite chocolate covered ginger biscuit.

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