Bakers Journal

Four key trends for 2022

February 23, 2022
By Elaine O’Doherty

This year’s baking trends focus on better ingredients, better diets and a better planet |

Consumers are not only demanding nostalgic foods but also infusing craftsmanship and artisanal approaches into their diets to redefine “comfort.” PHOTO: © fkruger / adobe stock

Welcome 2022! As we transition away from 2021 and the challenging year it has been, we can reflect on the resilience of the food industry and consumers. Defined by disruption, our industry has continued to grow and evolve. 

One thing is clear: several notable ingredient trends emerged and will continue to shape our work in 2022.  

Food as ‘Medicine’

Last year, consumers desired control and ownership of their health, which manifested in greater demand for foods with perceived immune-boosting attributes. This can largely be attributed to the pandemic. While this sentiment has not changed, it has indeed evolved. Consumer interest in and concern about gut health, high fibre, protein, immunity boosters and anti-inflammatory ingredients are spearheading what’s next in dietary preferences. 

Examples of ingredients that have been used in foods that focus on this trend include quinoa, pulses, rye, barley, and blends suitable for specialty lifestyle diets, such as keto and gluten-free. They can help provide additional fibre, protein and some perceived health benefits that their traditional counterparts do not. 


Well & Good

While “Food as Medicine” and “Well & Good” certainly have overlap, “Well & Good” is fuelled by a subset of consumers who subscribe to wellness-focused lifestyles. These consumers find satisfaction through consistent, health-conscious eating choices. Clean-label solutions, plant-based protein, gluten-free options and healthy swaps form the foundation of this trend.

When it comes to specific ingredients, ancient and heirloom grains are critical. Their versatility allows them to naturally fit across a variety of applications and dishes, while also boasting plant-forward and clean-label attributes. Organic, whole grains, pulses and specialty blends that support diets like gluten-free, paleo and more are also popular. For example, Ardent Mills’ Simply Milled organic flour has the benefit of being organic, while also aligning with specific dietary needs and microtrends of consumers. 

The ‘Well & Good’ trend is firmly grounded in a plant-forward future. To further meet the demands of the modern consumer, Ardent Mills recently acquired substantially all business assets of Firebird Artisan Mills, a leading gluten-free, specialty grain and pulse milling company. The acquisition will provide a wider portfolio of gluten-free flours, mixes, blends and specialty grain products.

Modern Craft

In times of uncertainty, consumers gravitate to both familiarity and comfort. Consumers are not only demanding nostalgic foods but also infusing craftsmanship and artisanal approaches into their diets to redefine “comfort.”

Ingredients like Ardent Mills’ Primo Mulino Neapolitan Style Pizza Flour enables users to make an authentic-style Neapolitan pizza – with a crispy and chewy crust. This flour also provides versatility and can be used for focaccia, ciabatta, flatbreads, calzones and more. 

Sustainable Solutions

Personal and planetary health is evolving. Consumers want to both eat well and do good – seeking products that nourish their bodies and also actively contribute to a better food system for all.

The perfect crossover is ingredients that push toward better well-being and “well-doing” spanning everything from plant-forward initiatives to regenerative agriculture. Quinoa, chickpeas and many ancient and heirloom grains and pulses may help satisfy this demand for consumers within the category. 

To bolster this category further, Ardent Mills has done a number of things. First off, we’ve recently acquired the business assets of Hinrich’s Trading Company, the North American leader in chickpea sourcing, cleaning and packaging. The acquisition boosts Ardent Mills’ existing specialty ingredient capabilities and helps customers meet growing consumer demand for pulse and plant-based ingredients. Second, we’ve aligned our sustainability practices with the Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the United Nations as outlined in our recent CSR Report. Third, Ardent Mills also recently announced the advancement of our regenerative agriculture program. The program aims to strengthen the soil ecosystem and help producers improve their farms’ productivity and profitability. 

These four trends, and the ingredients that support them, have become staples of the modern consumer diet and will continue to impact food and consumption trends into 2022 and beyond.  It will be interesting to see how microtrends unfold within these categories!

Elaine O’Doherty is Marketing Lead (Canada), Ardent Mills.

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