Celebrate the goodness of baking

The global baked goods market is at an all-time high. Karin Meissner of specialist ingredient supplier Ingredion, looks at how the market in South Africa is evolving, and how manufacturers can develop new products to meet areas of high consumer demand.

The local bakery and cereals market is one of the fastest growing across the globe, according to Canadean’s Consumer and Market Insights report.

Mintel expects the market to grow by 4.3 per cent by 2021. Growth is partly driven by the well-established bread and rolls subcategory, which continues to thrive.

New high growth segments are emerging, including on-the-go snacking and cakes, sweet biscuits and cookies. These products account for 38 per cent of new products launched from 2012 to 2016.

South Africans have a strong culture for snacking on-the-go. Sweet baked goods (SBGs) are a frequent choice when consumers fancy a treat, are hungry or feel they deserve a reward.

Sweet biscuits and cookies, as well as cakes and pastries are the two categories that have consistently topped new product development in the region over the last twelve months. This represents a signifi cant opportunity for food manufacturers.

Eating occasions in South Africa typically determine the type of product consumed. Certain baked goods are seen as everyday items, while others are more likely to be eaten only on special occasions. Consumers buy from stores that meet their need for freshness or extended shelf life. As the South African food retail market continues to mature, it is likely that areas such as on-the-go snacking will grow in strength.

Key considerations for the South African bakery market:

  • Affordability

This is a key consideration for consumers and manufacturers. To meet demand, food producers can keep food fresher for longer and extend shelf-life. This will deliver attractively priced, on-trend products that appeal to retailers and consumers. This can be achieved by removing ingredients such as fat and sugar. By removing these ingredients, manufacturers are able to improve the affordability of their products while improving freshness. Recipe reformulations require a combination of technical expertise and ingredient knowledge to ensure the overall product quality and eating experience is maintained.

  • Sensory experience and clean labels

South African consumers want the same taste, texture and sensory experience whether a bakery product is a full or reduced fat version, contains wheat or is gluten-free. ‘By using a speciality ingredient such as Novation Indulge 3920 functional native starch manufacturers can create products which are low or reduced fat and clean label.

Featuring recognisable, storecupboard ingredients listed on a product’s label can have a positive infl uence on consumer purchasing behaviour. While the clean label trend is relatively new in South Africa, it is gradually becoming more established.

  • Health and nutrition

As we move into 2017 and beyond, any new product development within the bakery category needs to take into account the global health and nutrition trend.

There is strong interest in reduced glycaemic products. Resistant starches made from maize, capable of being highly processed and label-friendly, is a good way to achieve this claim.

With interest in health and nutrition becoming more prominent globally, the top two growing health claims in South Africa are low cholesterol, and low, reduced or fat-free.

Food producers should look at developing breads, cakes and snacks using wholegrain ingredients to support health and nutrition claims. Using products such as Sustagrain whole grain barley can boost fibre and beta glucan content of baked goods. These ingredients are known to lower blood cholesterol.

When formulating bakery products, consideration needs to be given to the properties of ingredients, which need to be functional to fortify baked goods. Products must also be easy to formulate, colourless and have a neutral taste and odour profile to maintain the positive sensory experience of eating.

The outlook for the South African bakery market is positive. There are new opportunities for manufacturers to develop new products. The key lies in differentiation within core categories such as bread and rolls, and growing segments such as cakes, sweet biscuits and cookies.