Western baking businesses in need of inspiration should look to Japan, the country leading global launches of bread and sweet bakery products.
In the past 12 months, Japan has accounted for a 13 per cent share of all bread and sweet bakery products launched globally – more than double the share of the France. The vast majority of the launches in Japan are individually wrapped bakery snacks, many of which are sold through the country’s highly developed convenience retail channel.
One of the reasons behind the boom is bread is gaining ground on Japan’s tables, alongside the traditionally favoured rice. However, there are still many bakery products and flavours in Japan and the wider Asian market that have not made their way to Europe, Northern America or Australia. This presents Western markets with a huge opportunity to develop, particularly in the convenience and grab-and-go categories popular with millennials, according to TechNavio research analysts.
Steam cakes are one traditional Japanese snack is now making their way into the US market.
“You get much more natural, intense but not dominating, taste properties you can’t achieve with European baking,” said Matthijs Sillevis Smitt from Amsterdam-based steam cake producer Masdac International.
Sesame, rice, buckwheat and redbean flavours are also tipped to make their way into Western consumers’ palates – integrated into existing recipes such as ice cream or macarons, or continued in traditional Japanese sweets.
The Japanese obsession with packaging and presentation has also been identified as another area set to influence Western markets.