Now is the perfect time to reflect on the year that has been and start planning for success in the new year. What challenges lie ahead and how will you respond to emerging consumer demands? We explores key trends for 2016 in light of consumer preferences identified in Taste of Tomorrow, a survey of more than 11,000 participants in 25 countries, including Australia.
Puratos commissioned the Taste Tomorrow global market research program to examine major trends and stimulate innovation in the baked goods industry. The survey offers in-depth, actionable insights into both global and Australian consumer behaviour, attitudes, choices and trends related to bakery, pastry, patisserie and chocolate.
The results confirm the lasting impact of trends that were observed in our previous research in 2011, but mainly highlight fresh observations that are important for getting it right in terms of product development, innovation and success in 2016.
Taste Tomorrow shows consumers worldwide basing their purchase decisions on three key criteria: freshness, healthiness and taste. These elements form what we call the ‘baked goods triangle,’ which industry must always keep in mind to meet consumer needs. Delving deeper, however, there is a undercurrent of doubt.
On one hand, consumers across the globe expect more food innovation and variety, as well as on-the-go, ready-made products that meet their growing need for convenience. At the same time there is a sense of pessimism about the future healthiness and food, for which Australians rank among the highest in the world. Consumers fear food in the future will be of lower quality, less healthy, less fresh, less natural and more expensive.
This, along with the finding Australians are the least easily surprised and impressed consumers in the world, poses a unique challenge to product development and innovation for manufacturers and retailers.
Laurent Boillon, who has enjoyed long-standing success as owner of Laurent Patisseries, suggests new food proposals should bring a balanced mix of innovativeness, quality, and affordability.
“Innovation should not be at the radical end. It’s about striking a balance between old and new, between tradition and innovation,” he says.
“The éclair is a great example. It’s a known and loved product that can easily be updated with a modern, edgy decoration or novel shape.”
Laurent believes we’re essentially creatures of habit when it comes to buying bakery products, and there is no need to completely reinvent the wheel. He also stresses the importance of using high-quality, naturally sourced ingredients that deliver authentic taste and texture.
“People clearly are clearly steering away from ‘fake,’” he adds.
The Taste Tomorrow survey confirms Australian consumers are seeking products with more natural ingredients and less additives, and paying closer attention to reading food labels. Laurent anticipates Australian manufacturers and retailers will rise to the challenge with a continued focus on clean label in 2016.
“Although clean label means different things to different people, at the end of the day, consumers have made it clear they want transparent communication of ingredients,” he says.
“In 2016, clean label is all about a short, simple list of ingredients that people recognise and trust. Ingredients that are real, and not man made in a laboratory. Clean label can also provider greater reassurance in terms of local origin, non GMO and organic, as well as ‘free-from’ preservatives or artificial colours.”
What’s the Story?
Product communication emerged as a strong theme in the survey, with Australian consumers showing strong interest in the story behind the product. Laurent built his business on respecting and communicating French traditions, and he expects that talking about recipes will continue to engage consumers 2016.
“In this era of uncertainty about what is actually healthy, talking about recipes gives consumers more confidence about what they’re eating, and how much – or, more importantly, how little – processing is involved,” he says.
“Experiencing products from times past when there were no artificial additives, and authentic foods from other cultures, will be very popular in 2016.”
If you’d like to discover more insights from the Taste Tomorrow survey, please visit tastetomorrow.com.au.