Puratos, a leading ingredients innovator in the bakery, sweet goods and chocolate industry unveiled industry trends and consumer preferences at its two-day conference, Taste Tomorrow 2023, held in Austin, September 19 and 20. Using cutting-edge data science and AI to transform raw data into actionable insights, Puratos identified the latest industry and consumer trends: the “tech-inspired” revolution, “classics continued” and “fusion flavors,” “gut feeling,” and “plant forward.”
“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.”
Trends that will shape the future of bakery, patisserie and chocolate in North America include:
The “Tech-inspired” revolution: Embracing innovation and craftsmanship
North America’s food landscape is undergoing an astonishing transformation through the “tech-inspired” revolution. The region’s fastest-growing trend, captivating both consumers and professionals seeking to harmonize traditional craftmanship and cutting-edge technology is manifesting in the use of AI-powered generation and 3D printing.
“By fusing technology and culinary craftsmanship, we’re pushing creative boundaries and entering a new era of recipe personalization with tools like ChatGPT and text-to-image generators,” said Wald. “Technologies like 3D printing bring culinary visions to life, fostering unparalleled experimentation and elevating the entire industry.”
In addition to AI technologies influencing recipe generation, one in three consumers believe that AI will help them make better food choices.
“Classics Continued” and “Fusion Flavors”
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.
The Puratos’ Deli fillings are a great example of this trend. Each filling is crafted with traditional ingredients, making it easy for bakers to incorporate the authentic flavor and texture of nostalgic desserts like lemon pie or cheesecake into their baked goods.
“This distinctive duality of desiring classic comforts as well as the thrill of the unexplored presents an exciting opportunity for industry professionals to leverage the power of classics while reinventing finished goods to encourage exploration and discovery,” said Wald.
The “Gut Feeling” Trend: Demanding gut-friendly delights for everyday meals
A substantial 76% of North American consumers recognize 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 fiber on digestion.
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.
Gut health is important to a growing number of people, but taste is important too. Puratos’ 100% whole wheat organic sourdough, Sapore Lore, offers a combination of elevated taste and the benefits of a fermented sourdough.
Plant forward: Cultivating a greener indulgence
The “plant forward” movement emerges as a prominent and compelling subject of online discussions in North America, underscoring a transformative evolution in people’s dietary preferences. In this era of heightened consciousness, consumers have become acutely aware of the profound ripple effect their food choices can create on the environment. The surge of interest in plant-based options echoes this growing realization, with nearly half (44%) of individuals perceiving plant-based foods as a natural choice.
In North America, 53% of consumers recognize 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.
“Our proprietary Taste Tomorrow research program offers unparalleled insight into the ever-evolving food industry,” said Wald. “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.”