By Pallavi Salgaoncar
The wholesale baking industry sector consists of production of bakery products like cakes, cookies & breads on a large scale generally with the addition of preservatives.
Baked goods in the food service sector are those served in restaurants and cafeterias, and they are generally sourced from a wholesale bakery and rarely made in house.
Another segment in the baking industry is called the White labelling. In this segment, goods produced by another bakery is rebranded by supermarkets & grocery stores as their own brand.
The basic trends in Bakery is innovation related to Health, Taste and Convenience.
Actually, Health trend is one of the essential drivers of innovation in the bakery industry. In the last few years, people especially in urban areas are finding alternatives to Maida or refined flours. The preference has increased for cakes, cookies & breads made of whole wheat and other alternate healthy flours like Nachni (Ragi), bran, oats, nut based flours etc. Consumers are opting out sugar and have started using sugar substitutes like jaggery, honey, dates etc. Earlier only people with diabetes used sugar-free products like artificial sweeteners. But now there is a sizeable proportion of health and diet conscious people who are cutting out sugar and bad fats from their diet completely. People have also started reading labels & scrutinising the fat, sugar & salt content, and also the use of preservatives. A lot of health conscious people are moving away from preservatives, additives and artificial colours in food and prefer freshly baked items. Also there is an increasing demand for gluten free & vegan products now, a trend which is mirrored from the west. During a trip to Los Angeles California, 2 years back, I saw a separate vegan section at the breakfast buffet. I realised how much the vegan concept is prevalent in the west and the hitherto unheard concept is now picking up in the top metros of India too. People are specifically asking for gluten free and previously unheard of vegan cakes & cookies. In essence, many bakeries have started overhauling their recipes to keep the health factor intact. They have started using healthier substitute of refined oil with coconut or olive oil, replace a proportion of oil with yogurt, use soy milk, skimmed or low fat milk instead of full fat milk, replace eggs with egg whites and reducing the quantity of fat and sugar generally in baked items.
A new trend in the market that has been itnessed nowadays is of the granola bar, protein bars etc. which are made of dried fruits along with seeds and super foods like chia seeds, flax seeds, husk etc. Another way to cut down on calories is the smaller size of servings offered for sale. Petit desserts or mini pastries, tiny cakes or tartlets are now sold across all counters and also in starred hotel buffets. With the healthy food revolution going on, breads in the
savoury menus are made of multigrain like millets, jowar, and bajra; and also in pizzas, sandwiches, muffins and wraps. Consumers ask for healthy products that also taste good. There is a desire to have add-ons of fresh vegetables in savoury dishes, and inclusion of fruits in desserts. The new keywords in bakery now are Organic, Healthy and Gluten Free.
To achieve the right Taste or flavour, there are three clear routes for products – novelty or something new and different, new desi desserts with a twist, and indulgent and premium. Generally school kids form the majority in this group, as taste becomes the primary factor over others. Chocolate remains a hot favourite and a best seller in this segment. Tasty can be healthy too, so chefs need to innovate and curate products carefully and handpick their ingredients wisely. Indo-western desserts are also hugely popular like Rasgulla and Rasmalai cakes, Gulab Jamun, Cupcakes etc.
Convenience largely varies with changes in the social habits, increased working hours for women and changing household income structures. Working women have no time to cook or prepare time-consuming dishes, and prefer to shop at their closest bakeries or supermarkets. Here also with increasing awareness, consumers are reading labels before making their buy decision.
This year, many new and interesting trends have been seen, like 3D wedding cakes and made-to-order designer cakes, which are customised as per the customer’s preferences. The internet has made new ideas and trends accessible from across the globe. The smartphone and savvy customers know exactly what they want to celebrate their special day. Also worth noticing is the recent splurge in demand for eggless cakes across all markets throughout the year.
Gifting is also a market with huge potential where once people preferred to gift only chocolates, they now scout for innovative sweet options like macrons, designer cupcakes, cake-pops, cakesicles, dessert jars, fusion desserts and customised cookies. Festival like Diwali, Chaturthi, Christmas, Easter and special day gifting during friendship day, mother’s day, father’s etc. – day have huge demand in the market.
ADVANTAGES OF PROMOTION ON SOCIAL MEDIA
People nowadays spend most of their time on social media whether be it Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, twitter, YouTube, Tik-Tok etc. Therefore, it is important to have a robust social media strategy for your bakery promotion, however big or small it may be. At least in India, when it comes to food, people rely heavily on word of mouth and recommendations from their friends. So a good or bad post will really make it or break it. Social media platforms allow uses hashtags which helps in tagging food places and spreading the word wider on the internet. It is also important that your bakery is pinned on google maps to increase location awareness and visibility. Pictures speak a thousand words, so appealing food photography is a crucial factor in attracting customers. Also regular updates on social media and engaging with the audience helps you connect to your customers.
Bakery is a field where you need to constantly innovate and reinvent your products to stay relevant in the business. Hence it is essential to keep with the trends and continue making new baked products for increased traction.
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