Making dough

02/12/2015 - 07:50
Freshly baked products continue to attract consumers’ to eat on the go and are also a cost-effective way to enliven menus. Sheila Eggleston reports on the trends.

The UK continues to be in the grip of baking fever, fermented by TV programmes and consumer events such as cake and bake shows across the country. Bakeries too have capitalised on the boom with openings; PAUL, for example, has opened four new bakeries this year and a second restaurant, Restaurant de Paul at Tower 42 in the City of London.

Consumers’ expectations are now at an all time high and advice from suppliers such as CSM Bakery Solutions is that businesses must not be complacent, and ensure they include new trends and stay in touch with what customers want, says marketing manager Lisa Boswell, plus it’s important to meet the demands of ‘on the go’.

“Results from our study found that 45% of UK respondents purchased muffins for a mid-morning snack,” says Boswell. “When asked what their most recent purchase of a muffin was, almost half (49%) had purchased a chocolate muffin (chocolate chip or double chocolate) followed closely by 46% purchasing blueberry. Lemon was the third most popular choice for UK consumers. However we are seeing new flavours becoming popular such as caramel.

“Businesses can mimic what is happening in bakeries and this includes hybrids such as chocolate brownie cheesecake, which is a chocolate brownie layered with mascarpone cheese.”

Using McDougalls flour based mixes saves caterers time as they can create freshly baked goods simply and quickly, says Sarah Gray, channel marketing manager at Premier Foods. “Although some caterers look to bake-off products to cope with the time constraints faced by many, it is more cost-effective to prepare baked goods from scratch or by using flour based mixes,” she comments.

Products with fruit were perceived as more nutritional, and items such as flapjacks containing natural oats and whole grains were seen as healthier snacks, therefore, caterers using its flapjack mix can add their own fruit preferences, she adds.

Jacqui Passmore, marketing manager UK & Ireland at Dawn Foods, believes products with perceived healthier ingredients are popular snacks for coffee shops. For example, its wholegrain mix can be filled with fruit, seeds and nuts to create a ‘better for you’ treat.

Dawn’s frozen batter and dough range also creates freshly baked goods with a homemade look and taste without having to skill up, she adds, and these include vanilla, orange and cranberry, and mincemeat cookie dough, plus a skinny vanilla variant for the calorie-conscious.

Passmore says that American-style cookies are easy to eat on the go, and that its cookie pucks – ready to use discs of cookie dough – come in cranberry and Belgian white chocolate and triple Belgian chocolate chunk flavours. Healthier options include oat and raisin cookie pucks available in 55g, 80g and 107g formats.

When it comes to muffins, cookies, doughnuts and cakes, Country Choice says the UK market is worth just under £1.2bn with sales driven by small cakes and cake bars. “The on-trend flavours are fruit, carrot, chocolate and lemon,” comments marketing manager Emma Hunt. “There is increased interest in products containing nuts and seeds as these are seen to be healthier, but we are not aware of them having any negative impact on the overall market as these products are very much small, indulgent everyday treats.

The latest Bread Barometer survey from Lantmännen Unibake UK’s (LUUK) shows 20% of respondents said they eat more meals and snacks on the go than they did two to three years ago, while market research shows that 50% of consumers eat baked goods at least once a week.

Marketing manager Rachel Shoosmith’s advice to operators is to bake little and often as 76% of respondents say freshly baked products are important, and 73% say they are tempted to buy when they smell fresh baking in the outlet. Point of sale material also helps promote quality and communicates usage ideas such as ‘great with coffee’, ‘a breakfast treat’, ‘this week’s special’ or ‘freshly baked’.

With 23% of bakery goods buyers saying that miniature baked goods are more appealing, LUUK flags up its Danish pastry and fruit lattice mini selections to cater for small treats.

Pan’Artisan says that a recent Global Industry Analysts report states that “the global baked goods industry is expected to exceed $310bn in 2015” highlighting a rapid recovery following the economic recession and a strong growth record over recent years. This is supported by a positive MarketLine report, which highlights artisanal bread and rolls accounting for almost 52% of the overall market in value.

Pan’Artisan’s response has been to launch artisanal sourdough dough balls. It says they are fantastic carriers when paired with robust flavours such as pastrami, pickles and Swiss cheese, and is growing in popularity as a premium pizza base.

The advantages of frozen is supported by Speciality Breads managing director, Peter Millen. “When bakeries are closed at the weekend and can’t deliver, frozen bread is the perfect solution as it can be easily stored and only needs defrosting an hour before required,” he explains.

He says its individual products such as focaccia rolls, glazed brioche buns and ciabatta slippers have been favourites this year and he expects this to continue, especially with the Craft Guild of Chefs’ endorsement of its ciabatta and brioche products.

“After launching a trio of demi-baguettes earlier in the summer, we have exciting NPD to come in the next 12 months. This kicks off in September and October with the introduction of sub loaves and cottage rolls.”

Trendwise, he says, casual dining chains, food festivals and street food have been driving the market, which has had a positive effect on the quality of burgers and hotdogs. “Sales of our brioche burger buns and hot dog finger rolls have increased by more than 40% in the last two years and showing no sign of slowing down,” says Millen. “With sliders now becoming popular lunch snacks, I don’t think the US food craze will go away soon.”

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