Cookies, brownies, bagels, pies, tortes, cupcakes, crusty bread, doughnuts, tortillas… There’s no end to the delicious tastes and textures of baked goods throughout the culinary world. But with so many options already out there, what room is there for innovation? Surely one must ask oneself, has everything already been thought of and done?
Not so! Baking, as an industry, is constantly evolving. New tastes, new combinations, new shapes and sizes, new customer demands, and new technology are just some of the ways that the bakery of today is so different to the one of yesterday, and will be different to tomorrow.
It’s World Baking Day this month, so we thought we’d take a look at innovation, and its importance, in the bakery industry.
Bakeries have been around for thousands of years. In fact, the first bakers’ guild was established in 168 BC in Rome. Imagine the innovation they had to look forward to, from honey-comb blancmange, which was developed in the Middle Ages, to the reduced sugar treats (and other health-conscious trends) of the 21st century.
SO, WHY IS INNOVATION IMPORTANT IN THE BAKERY INDUSTRY?
For starters, innovation in bakery is no different to innovation in any other industry.
Business is competitive. So, you need to offer better classic and more unique products than your competitors. If you do, you succeed. If you don’t, the world moves on, forgets about you, and you close your doors. You must constantly look for new ways to innovate because you can’t solve modern baking challenges with old solutions.
Innovation and creativity, both essential in the bakery industry, are often used synonymously. Yet, they are different, but complementary. Creativity fosters unique ideas. Innovation makes those ideas useful. Together, they are unbeatable.
Innovation can be divided into two types: sustaining and disruptive. Sustaining innovation enhances a bakery’s processes (for instance, by using the latest technologies) to stay atop of the market and retain the existing customer base.
You have to go further than this though. In today’s market, you have to be disruptive too. This often is the playground of smaller, more nimble bakeries, where they create a new market, for instance, individualised healthy snacks.
Now, the most successful companies embrace both forms of innovation. They maintain their existing position in the market whist still fostering a workplace that rewards fresh ideas and creativity
Let’s take a look at how the theory of innovation applies to the baking industry of today.
HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES OF WHERE IT WORKED:
REDUCED SUGAR TRENDS
People are increasingly aware of the importance of a health-conscious diet. One of the ways they choose to do this is to reduce their sugar intake. Bakeries everywhere have answered this demand, and tapped into this growing global health and wellness trend.
LONGER SHELF LIFE AND FROZEN BAKERY PRODUCTS
Thanks to the COVID pandemic, customers have been less keen to venture into public spaces. Now, to a large degree that’s back to normal, yet people are still stocking up on supplies that are easily accessible at home.
Consumption has moved to placing more emphasis on vegan ingredients. People have become more aware of the impact traditional ingredients place on the planet, and realise that plant-based foods can be equally as tasty. For the bakery industry, this means not using eggs, butter, and cream, and instead seeing an increase in plant-based cakes, biscuits, pastries, and fillings such as chocolate.
Another trend that supports the massive health awareness movement is healthier bread and cake options that include high fibre, high protein, and high fruit content.
HYBRID BAKED PRODUCTS
If you’re in the baking world, you’ve heard of the cronut, that delicious treat that blends the buttery flakiness of the croissant with the decadent taste of a donut. But don’t stop there. Imagine your own hybrids. Ever wondered what would happen if a croissant and a pretzel ran away and had a baby? Well, meet the Cretzel! Other mixed baked babies include the Macaringue (macaroon and meringue) and the croffle (croissant and waffle).
So, you need to stay ahead of these trends, whilst still providing the classics that never go out of style. Ask yourself, what will we be writing about on World Baking Day 2030?
You can bet anything it will include sustainable and efficient food innovations.
And don’t be shy about shouting this to the world. Ingredients and production methods are under ever-increasing scrutiny. Clean label credentials are an essential.
People are getting busier every day, regardless of what the designers of AI would have us believe. That means more demand for baked goods that can be frozen, or consumed on the go, yet at the same time, maintaining the fresh taste of just out the oven.
Health. Health. Health. This is here to stay. Now while there will always be an insatiable desire for that triple layered and drizzled chocolate chip cookie, people will be after increasingly healthier options. Focus on satisfying that demand.
Another phenomenon to embrace is that of individual portions, whatever the type of baked good, from cheesecake to melktert. Today’s Gen Z’ers are after less wastage, and more convenience, yet they still demand the same quality of the full-sized cousins.
And don’t forget visual appeal. Customers today want treats that look as good as they taste. One of the best ways to achieve this balance is through the use of colour. Think bright icing, white chocolate, and yogurt toppings. Many new product ideas and innovations become revolutions and some products remain a revolution longer than others. So, what bakery product will become a revolution tomorrow?
The right price is also key. People are more aware of the amount of money they have, and the perceived value of a baked product. And they’re prepared to pay more for this. For instance, freshly-made artisanal baked goods using local ingredients have high appeal and give an upmarket feel, and therefore justify a premium price.
So, at the end of the day, innovation in the bakery industry is like innovation in any sector. You need to innovate to survive, and, even better, to thrive. So put your creative apron on, and think outside the box, or wrapper, or bag.
It’s South Bakel’s job to keep up to date with the industry so that we can share our knowledge and expertise with our customers. So, whether you’re looking for a healthier bread concentrate or ingredients to meet the demand for low-sugar options, we can help. Please get in touch with us to find out how we can help your bakery attract and retain new customers with new innovative ideas.
South Bakels will help your bakery stay ahead by offering you the newest and freshest ingredients, recipes, and insights.
Your bakery, your customers, your business, and your profits will thank you for it!