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Unpeeling our changing fruit flavour bakery preferences

Despite ongoing cost-of-living pressures, enjoying “me” moments and get-togethers with family and friends is increasingly important to consumers, and sweet bakery treats with fruit flavours will continue to play a central role.

However, with younger shoppers coming into the market, how are our flavour preferences changing, and what opportunities and challenges do they present for bakers?  Bakels unpeel insights into the trending fruit flavours that today’s bakery shoppers are looking for.

USE OF FRUIT FLAVOURS IN FOOD AND DRINK IS GROWING OVERALL

Global use of fruit flavours in packaged food and beverage new product development, or NPD, rose by a 0.9% combined average growth rate (CAGR) in the five years to quarter two 2023. Western Europe led the way, accounting for 28% of the activity, ahead of Asia with 24%, and North America and Latin America, both with 14%. The most active category with fruit flavours NPD is soft drinks (23%), followed by confectionery (16%) and bakery (10%).

FAVOURITE FRUIT FLAVOURS – HOW DO THEY MAKE YOU FEEL

The top fruit flavours in bakery launches worldwide (Global, 12 months ending Q2 2023) are strawberry, coconut, lemon, orange, red raspberry, banana, blueberry, red apple.

Bakery treats with fruit flavours can do a lot for our mood state. Tropical or exotic fruits, represented by coconut in this list, were the most widely cited option for new food and drink products, scoring top or equal top of the list of feelings researched, including when people wanted to feel cheerful, happy, or refreshed. More consumers were looking to berries, summer fruit and orchard fruit flavours for health. The research says most consumers choose citrus flavours when they want to feel comforted. Lemon drizzle cake, anyone?

We grow up with fruit flavours from childhood. Hence, just over half (54%) of consumers globally are influenced by familiar tastes when choosing a food or beverage choice, just ahead of healthy or better-for-you flavours at 48%. As we’ll see, you can apply this to your bakery range, and wow your customers, including Gen Z’s, by putting a new twist on familiar favourites.

SO. WHAT’S DRIVING THESE FLAVOUR DEVELOPMENT TRENDS?

Speaking of better-for-you flavours, from the latest research we can see a cluster of trends in flavour development. We’re talking here about fruit flavours, but you can’t ignore the growing influence on our choices of plant-based foods, specifically botanical and superfood flavours; the increasing importance of healthier flavour options; the ‘generational push’ from younger consumers; and manufacturers using flavour to offer indulgence and novelty; and use of flavours to redefine the value of their products. “Because you’re worth it.” Let’s look at each of these:

The general plant-based trend is unlocking a new narrative for consumers, by emphasising the underlying strength of botanical and superfood flavours, and the difference they can make to our wellbeing and mood state. And from there, growing demand for plant-based products is leading to increased interest in all kinds of botanicals. Herbs, spices, and even floral flavours are increasingly prevalent in product development alongside more varied fruit, vegetable, and nut tastes. Such ingredients can offer shoppers the all-important benefit of health functionality, as well as new flavour sensations.

The ‘generational push’ describes how manufacturers are targeting hybrid products and limited editions at younger consumers, while also asking them for input, for example:

  • Overlapping tastes between different products or brands can add value, especially for a younger, more experimental audience.
  • Brands are turning to consumers to suggest new flavours. This has clear appeal to the social media generation, and there’s a clear opportunity for bakers to do the same and use their ‘social’ platforms to ask shoppers what flavours they’d like to see.

To view this in perspective, older consumers are more swayed by local or regional tastes, and those that offer nostalgia, or classic flavours, though bakers can nudge them to move along, perhaps with twists or reinvention. But as we’ll see, younger consumers, particularly Gen Z’s, also like comforting and nostalgic treats too, as part of their bakery repertoire.

‘Revenge spending’ – Money is tight, and consumers are ‘splurging small’ with sweet bakery and other treats, and using flavour for novelty and indulgence. For example, in the ongoing cost of living crisis, consumers are looking for indulgent treats which don’t break the bank, like Millionaire’s Shortbread, made with our Caramel ingredients. Grocery manufacturers continue to experiment with flavour through limited editions with everything from crisps to packaged cakes, and they are a popular way to add value – adding up to another opportunity for bakers to trial new recipes with Bakels’ ingredients.

Redefining value is about seeing more manufacturers using flavours to reinforce their products’ messaging and confirm their value. The choice of flavour can reinforce our perception of a product’s overriding positioning or story, for example sustainable and organic claims. Also, upcycling flavour ingredients can serve to emphasise a product’s environmental credentials. In addition, focusing on local and seasonal flavour ingredients can highlight value in the consumer’s eyes, in terms of sustainability and quality. This is something that bakers can do too.

FROM PIE IN THE SKY TO CAKES ON A PLATE: 5 FRUITY FLAVOUR TRENDS TO BRING TO LIFE IN YOUR BAKERY

Bakers have the power to turn global flavour trends into delicious reality! Depending on your location, some shoppers are more open to bolder and more adventurous flavours than others. Here are some flavour trends for bakers to think about, and come up with creations to delight their customers:

Classic flavours with a twist – the most popular more mainstream fruit flavours like strawberry, orange and lemon, will continue to be top choice for both consumers and product innovators, but expect to see these flavours being delivered with a twist – as while consumers may like familiarity, they can also be experimental and like to try new things.

Chili and citrus fusions – look out for popular citrus flavours combined with more exotic tastes like yuzu and dragon fruit. Added heat also fulfils the need for spice – development in chili/citrus fusions is an area to watch in food and drink, and can be translated into bakery too. Take Mexican mangonadas for instance, a favourite summertime treat for many made with mango sorbet and chamoy topped with chilli powder, which delivers a sweet, salty and spicy taste all in one!

Seasonal, or limited edition, fruit flavours with a seasonal or limited-edition positioning are performing well, and again, they allow both innovators and consumers to try something new. Look out for ‘limited time’ global influences, as local fruit flavours gain attention on a global stage, but also further activity celebrating seasonality.

Superfruits, meaning giant granadilla, white peach, hawthorn, cactus, pomelo, and dragon fruit, feature prominently among the fastest rising merging flavours, arguably as a result of demand for healthy or better-for-you flavours and continued interest in the added health benefits these flavours can bring to product formulations.

Melon – while this is currently a small flavour category, it’s the only one to be showing double digit growth. Melon makes an ideal candied fruit due its low natural sugar content, which can be used as a bakery ingredient in a range of cakes and pastries.

TURNING INSIGHTS INTO ACTION – THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR BAKERS TO MAXIMISE FRUIT FLAVOURS

There are clearly limits to how far you can take the insights from research into global food and beverage trends, and use them to predict what will work across the world.  Even so, based on these trends, Bakels suggest bakers:

  • Offer flavours to meet a variety of consumer mood needs – including tropical fruits, which make us cheerful, happy, refreshed, energised and stimulated, citrus, to comfort us, as well as berries, summer fruit and orchard fruit flavours for health.
  • Trial experimental flavours such as super fruits, botanicals and orchard fruits in sweet foods including desserts, sweet bakery and chocolate confectionery to drive impulse purchases.
  • Invite customers to suggest flavours on social media channels. This has appeal to the social media generation.
  • Offer limited edition flavours – these allow consumers to experiment, while keeping them engaged, and gives consumers perceived added value. Bakers can also drive impulse purchases through inclusion of seasonal tastes e.g. tropical fruit flavours in the summer and festive/ winter cranberries in the winter.

AND FINALLY – BE CREATIVE, BUT MAKE SURE IT STILL FEELS FAMILIAR!

Bakers being bold and trying out new things is all good. But as the generation that is more concerned with flavour than any other, bakers should target Gen Z’s – people born between 1997 and 2012 – with familiar flavours, as the research shows these most influenced their food and beverage choice (41%), followed by healthier or better-for-.you (38%), comforting flavours (33%) and traditional or nostalgic (29%) In addition, ‘brown’ flavours (chocolate and caramel etc) are a favourite option to meet many emotional needs, a trend Bakels play to with our Caramel. Ingredients. Tropical fruits, berries and summer fruits, and coffee are also popular flavours with this age group.

Bakels, are well equipped to help bakery businesses tap into various fruit flavour trends. Bakbel in Belgium specialise in the production of fruit preparations, which can help you transform a whole host of your sweet bakery products.

The Les Fruits range for example are premium quality fruit preparations, made from the best fruit, carefully chosen on the grounds of its taste, quality and specific origin. Fruit content is tailored to your requirements, but options are available up to 90% whole fruit pieces. Naturally shiny, with natural flavour and colour, the ready to use preparations can be used as a filling or toppings and is also freeze/thaw stable. Standard varieties include: Apple, Apricot, Blueberry, Dark Cherry, Fruit of the Forest, Pear, Pineapple, Raspberry, Red Cherry, Strawberry. Additional varieties or bespoke fruit % available too: Blackcurrant, Cranberry, Elderberry, Kiwi, Mango, Rhubarb, Passion, Peach, Pomegranate and more.

The Les Fruit Mocktail range is inspired by famous, familiar and beloved cocktails. Based on fruits and free from alcohol, there are an irresistible variety of flavours to choose from: Peach-Amaretto, Daiquiri Strawberry, Mojito, Spritz, Piña Colada and Cosmopolitan. The selection are Kosher, Halal and vegetarian suitable and give bakers the opportunity to capitalise on the increasing popularity of non-alcoholic drinks into their sweet bakery assortment, a market which has doubled in size globally in the five years to 2020

To see the fruit fillings range, please visit the Bakels website: www.bakels.com.au

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