Puratos Taste Tomorrow reveals major North American confectionery and snacks trends

Global ingredients business Puratos shone a light on some of the latest confectionery and snacks consumer trends and preferences at its annual Taste Tomorrow event, which took place in Austin, Texas, US, writes Neill Barston.

As the company noted, it utilised AI and wider data science in its presentations for projecting some of the core developments for the industry, which focused on topic areas including ‘tech-inspired,’ classics continued, fusion flavours and ‘plant forward’ tapping into the ever-growing vegan market.

According to the company, the North American food landscape is undergoing what it asserted was an “astonishing transformation through the enhanced used of technology, representing the fastest growing trend in the market. Consequently, both the industry and consumers are now seeking to balance the use of advanced automated solutions such as 3D printing available to the industry, against traditional craftsmanship that has played a major part in the confectionery, snacks and bakery world down the generations.

“By monitoring emerging trend signals and predicting their growth trajectories, we are able to gain insight into the future of our industry,” said 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.”

Significantly, Puratos research found that more than half (69%) of the North American consumers polled are looking for nostalgic, familiar culinary experiences. Another 64% of respondents are interested in experimenting with food presented in new ways. In response, the company has developed its Deli fillings, crafted with  traditional ingredients, making it easy for bakers to incorporate the authentic flavour and texture of nostalgic desserts like lemon pie or cheesecake into their baked goods.

In terms of health considerations, a total of  76% of North American consumers recognise the essential role of improving gut health for overall health – from a boost in immunity to enhanced mental well-being. In fact, 66% express interest in food products designed to enhance and enrich gut health.

“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,” said Wald.

This increased focus on gut health has prompted a surge in demand for bakery, sweet goods, and chocolate products infused with probiotics, prebiotics, and fiber. Eighty-four percent of North American consumers acknowledge the positive effect of fibre on digestion.

Notably, as the company added, sourdough emerges as an unwavering symbol of this trend, holding its position 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
Another key area of sustained innovation has been in terms of the plant-based revolution that is continuing to impact on all segments of the market. As Purtos observed, in North America, 53% of consumers recognide the positive impact that pant-based choices have on the environment. Another 46% believe plant-based offerings both cater to their well-being and are a healthier choice than animal-based products.

As this trend of conscious consumption continues to evolve, consumers are setting high standards for the quality and taste of plant-based products. The success of plant-based is evidenced by the booming sales of Puratos’ Sunset Glaze, a plant-based egg wash alternative that adds a premium, golden shine to buns, brioche and other baked goods. Plant-based milk chocolate has also been popular among Puratos customers, as evidenced by sales of the Belcolade Selection M Plant-based Cacao-Trace.

Wald concluded: “Our proprietary Taste Tomorrow research program offers unparalleled insight into the ever-evolving food industry. 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.”

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