|Consumers will continue to pay premium prices for products made with gluten-free ingredients such as almond flour.
1. Gluten-free products
The need to produce and sell gluten-free products in your bakery is almost a must for 2010. It is estimated that one in every 133 Canadians suffers from celiac disease. Consumers who are looking for gluten-free products will travel far and long – as well as pay premium prices – if you offer an interesting and tasty variety of gluten-free breads and desserts. The size of the market for gluten-free products has increased by nearly 30 per cent in the past few years, and will continue to do so at even higher rates.
However, many other trends and issues warrant your attention in 2010. Here are the rest of my healthful food predictions for the new year:
2. Sugar-free products
Like flour, sugar is also being added to many consumers’ lists of no-nos. The demand for sugar-free desserts has also increased greatly over the past few years. Many restaurant chains and cruise lines feature sugar-free desserts on their menus. While many sugar-free desserts feature stevia, Splenda and aspartame in their recipes, products can also be sweetened naturally using honey
3. Smaller portion sizes
From a merchandising perspective, smaller portion sizes help convey a healthier approach to eating baked goods like breads and desserts. In today’s market, the sight of a giant cupcake is more overwhelming than appetizing. Con-sumers are more interested in small, bite-sized offerings that can satisfy their need for something sweet without adding inches to their waistlines. With smaller portion sizes, consumers can also satisfy their need to try a variety of desserts. Offer all your cakes in half-slices, breads in demi-loaves and cupcakes in miniature.
4. Low sodium
Reducing sodium is another big trend for 2010. A large percentage of consumers with purchasing power are now in the 55-plus age demographic and are looking for healthful products that feature reduced sodium. You can back your low-sodium products with reports from health organizations about the benefits of adopting a low-sodium diet.
5. Sandwich breads
More and more consumers are opting to pack lunches to take to work, so demand for sandwich breads has increased. Pre-sliced demi-loaves of whole grain breads, or buns with ready-made slits for filling are ideal. To boost retail sales, consider selling interesting sandwich accompaniments like sliced deli meats, sliced cheese, alfalfa sprouts, baby lettuce leaves, tapenades, dips and spreads, and pickled vegetables – and be sure to display these items around your sandwich breads.
6. Cookies and breads featuring antioxidants
Superfruits such as pomelo, acai, gogi berries and guarana are now making their way into our local grocery stores. Other exotic fruits such as durian, longan, lychee, tamarind, lingonberry, elderberry, cupuacu and bilberry are also being touted as fruits with high nutrients and antioxidant contents. Create a line of superfruit cookies and breads that can be marketed as super-healthy and full of antioxidants – cookies and breads that will make you healthier and stronger! You will also be able to create interesting and eye-catching displays using a variety of these exotic fruits in your bakery along with the packaged products.
7. Macarons and whoopie pies
Macarons are making their way into North American bakeries (see page 39). These small French cookies are made with egg whites, almond powder, icing sugar and sugar, and are beautiful discs of light, fluffy pastries that can be made in a wide variety of colours and flavours. They are extremely pleasing to the palette and to the eye.
Whoopie pies are also making a comeback. These cake-like cookies are helping consumers satisfy their craving for both a slice of cake and a cookie. Traditionally, a whoopie pie is made of two chocolate cookies sandwiching a vanilla cream, but the different varieties of shapes and flavours are endless. According to trend watchers, the whoopie pie is the new cupcake.
8. Whole grains
Consumers still rank whole-grain products as the most important factor in purchasing items from a bakery. Try to incorporate grains like oats, barley, bran and sorghum in your products as much as possible. Also try creating desserts that feature whole grains. Breakfast bars, granola bars, cereal mixes and trail mixes are great items that can be packaged as retail products to boost profits as well.
By paying heed to these nine trends, you’ll ensure your bakery is well positioned to be a leader in these areas and, therefore, attract the business of customers who are becoming ever more mindful of making healthful food choices. Good luck in 2010! / BJ