Grocery chains turning to exotic options to make a crust

Grocery chains will increasingly turn to exotic bread options produced in in-store bakeries to differentiate themselves from their rivals, says one Bord Bia expert.

Food and beverage analyst Orla Donohoe has told Bord Bia client companies that European markets are closely monitoring US in-store bakery trends. US retailers see their deli counters as being a core part of each store’s pitch to their customers.

In the latest edition of Bord Bia industry publication Food Alert, Ms Donohoe cites a Mintel report highlighting opportunities in high protein breads and scope for niche functional options to better cater for an aging population. Additionally, new formats such as square shaped wraps and thin sandwich rolls are helping maintain consumer interest and providing more consumer choice.

“From a foodservice perspective, bread can be a powerful menu differentiator,” she notes. “International and ethnically exotic bread variants often make their first appearance on a restaurant menu and then become available in mainstream retail.

“Many ethnic bakeries are expanding their customer base, while traditional bakeries are expanding their ethnic selections. Even quick-service restaurants have trialled bread options beyond the bun.”

In the US, in-store bakeries are adapting to these broader food trends and world/ethnic influences, notes US trade magazine Dairy Deli Bake Digest.

A recent report by Foodwatching looked at key consumer trends within the bread category, including new bread varieties, flavours and textures.

“Some new trends include breads made with whole, sprouted grain, and ancient grains, with savoury, ethnic flatbreads and pretzels also proving to be popular,” says Ms Donohoe. “Latin-American influences, breads from the East and gluten-free breads are also key trends.”

According to Mintel’s Global New Product Database, in flatbreads alone, some 36 new variants have been launched globally in the last year, with the most popular claims being micro- waveable, low transfats and high fibre. Almost two thirds of these launches were in the USA and South Africa.

Bakery and Snacks magazine also recently reported on vegetable fortified breads, which have entered the mainstream bread sector in Canada, where two of the country’s largest bakeries — Weston Bakeries and Canada Bread — have launched a country harvest and garden vegetable bread respectively.

“With health concerns presenting a barrier to bread purchases, the addition of fruit and vegetable content to bakery products is seen as a way of improving the product’s health profile,” says Ms Donohoe.


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