Pre-packaged bakery products are a staple part of consumer diets across the globe, with a large number purchasing products such as bread, cakes, and biscuits on a weekly basis. This is not surprising given that the option remains a staple ingredient for informal and casual eating occasions in the morning and the afternoon. Standard bread products remain a more popular option than better-for-you alternatives within the category. However, there is a rise in consumers looking to address their health, who will look to adopt better-for-you options across all product categories, so what will this mean for the pre-packaged bakery market.

Consumers are looking to address their health and well-being more than ever before, with a number of consumers now adopting a back-to-basics approach to nutrition. But what impact is this having on the bakery market? FMCG Gurus consumer insights show that across bakery products, indulgence is still the main motivation even in product categories that are deemed better-for-you. The reality is that in many instances, consumers will want products that offer taste and nutrition at the same time in a guilt-free manner.

The extent to which consumers prioritise indulgence over health in many product categories shows that there is scope for brands to push the boundaries of premium through promoting experimental and hedonistic flavors and the use of high-quality ingredients which help position products as a genuine experience. 

When it comes to flavors and sensory appeal, consumers tend to prefer traditional flavors within the category. FMCG Gurus research shows almost seven in ten consumers state that chocolate, raspberry, and vanilla as their most popular flavors. As well as the hedonistic element, these flavors will appeal to consumers because they are associated with trust and comfort. This is crucial in a time of uncertainty when consumers are prone to turning to products for moments of escapism from daily stresses.

Although a sensory appeal is key when choosing a bakery product, consumers are still looking to nutritional labeling in order to eliminate and monitor their intake of certain ingredients. On average across bakery products, 35% of global consumers state that they regularly check nutritional labeling. When asked what information they are checking for, the top priority for consumers is sugar.

Sugar is well established as the number one dietary evil in the eyes of the consumer because of the link between excessive intake and rising levels of obesity and diabetes. Moreover, the war on sugar is something that will intensify in theory over the next couple of years, especially as many people feel that they have gained weight as a result of reduced levels of activity and increased levels of comfort eating.

Consumers are not only looking to avoid and moderate their intake of ingredients but would also like to include more functional ingredients in their diets. This is a trend that has also intensified as a result of COVID-19, with consumers seeking out active ingredient claims on products in order to minimise vulnerability to disease and illness. This has created an opportunity for fortification within the bakery market.

FMCG Gurus insights highlight that 53% of global consumers would find high protein claims appealing in the bakery market. Protein is an ingredient that continues to have something of a health halo attached to it because of its association with a variety of wellbeing benefits, meaning many consumers are adopting the ethos of the more protein in their diet, the better.

Whilst consumers prioritise indulgence when seeking out pre-packaged bakery products, that means the importance of nutritional value cannot be dismissed. One way for bakery brands to respond to this is by positioning products as guilt-free and conveniently nutritious. This is something that can be achieved through promoting active ingredients on products, such as high fibre and high protein content. This will appeal at a time when consumers are embracing the concept of positive nutrition and are looking to maximise their intake of functional ingredients.

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Editor: Kiran Grewal