Trends in snacks and bakery products
Amongst major trends in the food industry this year, free-from, vegan and vegetarian products, organic food, low fat, low sugar and healthy foods are leading supplier development. Healthy snacking is one of the topics leading the list of challenges the industry needs to address.
Consumer concerns include problems with food intolerances and allergies or the choice of vegetarian foods over products manufactured with animal-based ingredients. Bakers, confectioners and snack producers need to respond to a variety of demands.
According to information supplied by ProSweets in Cologne in connection with the iba exhibition last autumn, nutrition trends are seen as an opportunity for the baking industry. Take allergens such as nuts, gluten, eggs or milk: Since December 2014 a list of 14 ingredients issued by the European Commission must be declared by bakers within the EU to protect consumers from health risks. An industry response, for example, has been to process different ingredients that do not contain gluten, by substituting conventional wheat flour with ingredients such as chia seed. Chia is believed to ease dough processing and can substitute wheat flour or eggs.
In various parts of the world, consumers choose vegan or vegetarian products. In fact, statistics show that more than one billion people around the globe do not consume meat. Demonstrations at iba proved that neither milk, cream, butter nor eggs are necessarily required to prepare delicious cakes and pies. Other offerings ranged from soy spreads to quinoa.
New concepts, new winners
At the recent international confectionery event, ISM Cologne, one of the winners of the New Product Showcase prizes was Katjes, whose 3D Magic Candy Factory products are all vegan, as well as gluten and lactose-free. They are exclusively made out of natural fruit and vegetable extracts and without animal gelatin. Second place went to an innovative snack product by Heimagut: Spicy wasabi-flavoured coconut crisps. The high-energy snack variation is naturally vegan, gluten-free and not fried. Finally, Taiwan's Boncha Boncha sweets made with the sugar replacer isomalt came in third.
Spotlight on Brazil
These are some of the major trends which include healthy, but also convenient and affordable products. For Haas do Brasil this translates into a number of guidelines for its local market. In Brazil cereal is a hit: new products containing whole wheat are almost staples. Nuts are popular rather than seeds, perhaps due to issues such as raw material cost and product stability.
Low fat, low sugar, low sodium i.e. weight management and heart health are widely popular, the company notes. Bakery and snack manufacturers are seeking solutions to improve calorie count, fat quality, and sodium content, with allergens such as gluten, wheat and dairy coming into focus.
On the other hand Brazil has always had a strong market for homemade goods. This relates largely to gourmet brands and is less pronounced for health benefits. 'Natural' is still a bigger trend than organic, as organic is still restricted to fresh vegetable and fruits.
Affordability is a key factor, says Haas do Brasil. This has led to the reformulation of recipes in production, for example, as well as to changes in packaging such as the popularity of large sizes like family packs. However, in Brazil and elsewhere around the world, consumers are eager to sample new products. Innovation is a key driver for industry success.
“Thin is in” - a view in the US market
Many US food manufacturers changed the condition of their bakery products to make thin, crispy delicacies. Thin products taste crispier and deliciously and thus creates a unique taste experience, states Haas of America.
China´s food trends are healthy
Nuts, seeds and cereals in snacks are popular in the Chinese market as well as vegetable and fruit based snacks. Haas Food Machinery Shanghai is convinced that low fat, low sugar and low sodium has a very important impact for successful products in the weight management and heart health market. The latest innovations were announced at the Food ingredient exhibition in the middle of March, it is all about various “natural” extracts and “probiotics!