24 Mar 2023
When was the last time you saw a shop window filled with pastel-hued, sprinkled gourmet cupcakes or chocolate-dipped cake pops? We bet it’s been a while. In today’s world, food trends succeed one another at lightning speed. That's why at Puratos, we help bakers, pastry chefs and chocolatiers keep their fingers on the pulse with our Taste Tomorrow consumer research platform.
Our latest data shows that if you’re to stay ahead of the crowd, you should capitalize on the following five key trends for 2023 and beyond:
“As 54% of people spend an average of 2.5 hours online every day, this data offers a robust base for trend forecasting,” Palte continues. “We track consumer conversations and searches in nine different languages. This data allows us to see verbatims, key volume changes and emerging signals. To identify trends, we use social and search tools to retrieve and collate global content, such as intensive A.I. analytics on over 100 million social media mentions.”
That quantitative research consists of the Bakery Bites survey. “We interview more than 20,000 consumers across bakery, patisserie and chocolate markets in fifty countries,” Palte explains. “We ask consumers about their attitudes, choices and tastes, to garner a global perspective on where the food industry is today, and where it’s headed tomorrow.”
In Europe, ‘Classics Continued’ was the food trend that sparked the most discussions on social media last year. These traditional, authentic recipes were also one of the top three trends in the Middle East, South and North America, Asia, and the Caribbean. And in 2022, we also saw UNESCO adding the classic French baguette to its intangible cultural heritage list.
You can’t go wrong with a classic. People like the certainty of knowing what to expect and having their needs perfectly met, but they’re also going a step further, actively seeking out foods that elicit childhood memories or remind them of traditional family gatherings. These old-fashioned recipes are about not just taste, but bringing people together and creating a sense of home. Childhood snacks and patisserie products just like those grandma made have an irreplaceable place in the hearts of consumers, and can bring a sense of happiness that no other food can.
How can you benefit from this nostalgia? Besides opting for classic recipes, use your packaging to evoke happy memories of days gone by. Several food brands are reverting to old-school visual styles to evoke nostalgia among their audiences; one prominent example is the retro rebranding of Burger King. Copywriting is another effective way of using nostalgia to sell food.
As the results of climate change become more apparent, more consumers want to live healthily and ethically. This includes opting for a plant-based lifestyle to decrease their environmental footprint. It gives vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians a sense of pride and social consciousness, which successful plant-based brands cleverly tap into.
But as this trend evolves, consumers are starting to want more than just the moral high ground. They still demand quality and taste, enjoy discovering new brands, snacks and concepts, and aren’t willing to compromise. The pressure is on to create the best possible vegan products.
Luckily, the opportunity for growth is enormous, providing lots of room for companies to develop new and innovative plant-based offerings that meet consumer demand while staying true to their values. With the exception of Asia and the Caribbean, consumers worldwide have put plant-based eating among the most-discussed food topics of 2022.
Want a piece of the plant-based pie? The most sought-after vegan products are replications of traditional dishes, especially those tied to specific holidays and seasons. But plant-based consumers also have an aversion to processed foods, and prefer less familiar meat or dairy alternatives and ingredients. Indulgent plant-based treats are emerging too, offering opportunities in patisserie and chocolate with treats such as vegan mousse tart.
Premium, indulgent, and meat free: plant-based kare-kare bonbon and ‘lobster’ rolls tick all the boxes.
The age-old craft of fermenting sourdough is enjoying a boom. It took the internet by storm in 2020, and has maintained its relevance and growth. This is because sourdough has multiple benefits: its taste is unique and, according to some consumers, far superior to yeast-based breads. But the fermentation also makes the final product easier to digest, so it has profited from the increased consumer focus on gut health.
Online sharing of sourdough products you buy or bake yourself is also a way to display your status and superior taste. Sourdough is seen as a premium food, which has resulted in its expansion beyond the bread category and into the pastry and patisserie sector.
Sourdough is now being used for croissants, bagels, donuts and all kinds of new applications. Even mainstream foods such as pizza and hamburgers are getting a sourdough makeover. In France, for example, sourdough brioche buns have been positioned as a healthy bread pairing for hamburgers. So if you operate in North America, Europe, Oceania, or the Middle East, where sourdough is becoming very popular, try experimenting with your own new products. In Africa, sourdough was one of the top five most discussed topics last year, so the market has huge potential.
The old saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ doesn’t fly with present-day consumers. They approach their health way more seriously and thoughtfully. They know exactly what omega-3 fats are, how to keep their blood sugar levels up, and which are the healthiest ingredients to look for in a protein bar. As people increasingly understand the close connection between nutrition and health, so functional foods with specific physical and psychological health benefits are becoming more popular.
The two most important perceived health benefits of a balanced diet are those affecting the immune system and the gut. Some people take ginger daily in the hope of boosting their immunity, while many parents are keen to buy products that could protect their children from illness. In our industries, ingredients such as turmeric and citrus fruits are easy to incorporate and seen as highly beneficial to the immune system.
But gut health offers more opportunities for bakery and patisserie operators. Along with fermented products such as kombucha, kefir and kimchi, fiber is a gut-friendly food. So opt for wholewheat grain whenever possible, and don’t forget to highlight the health advantages of your products.
Last summer, we predicted that 2023 would be the year of mood food. Chocolate, for instance, is associated with higher levels of endorphins and physical health benefits. In China, it is a trending functional food product, and may be enriched with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which has an anxiety-reducing effect. Sweet treats dominate the mood food category because they combine indulgence and an enjoyable taste profile with endorphin release.
These functional foods are gaining momentum, especially in Asia and the Caribbean. They may provide other specific health benefits, such as improved brain function and an anti-inflammatory effect. Foods that are rich in micro-nutrients also provide an extra health boost. You can please your customers by incorporating multifunctional ingredients and explicitly highlighting their benefits, such as blueberries that aid digestion and improve mental health.
Food that looks good is perceived as more appetizing. It’s important to grasp the emotional aspect of visual appeal. In this age of social media, aesthetically pleasing food is everywhere.
Both consumers and brands use intricate cakes, crazy chocolate creations and beautifully baked bread as a way to promote their online profiles. Whether they’ve made it themselves or not, sharing good-looking food online comes with a sense of pride, providing an emotional boost.
Attractive food makes us happy, just like beautiful landscapes or artworks can. Just as we never tire of watching sunsets, so we’ll never stop enjoying beautiful cakes, chocolates and pastry. A handmade loaf or a cookie with sprinkles can be a form of escape from day-to-day reality.
So keep focusing on product aesthetics and opt for ingredients that play to this, such as edible gold, dried flower petals, or a simple sprinkle of seeds. But don’t go overboard with odd shapes, colors and decorations: the best-looking foods achieve the right balance between novelty and familiarity.
Wow your customers by displaying a beautiful Black Tiger Burger
Which food trends are either gaining or losing ground among consumers? Based on our Our semantic AI we've created a list of bakery, patisserie and chocolate trends that are on the move. Watch out for these.
Taste Tomorrow is the world’s largest ecosystem for consumer understanding in bakery, patisserie and chocolate. By tracking local and global consumer behaviors, attitudes and choices it provides us with valuable, in-depth insights. We are able to use these insights to track the evolution of trends and reveal new ones, helping your business to stay connected to your customers and discover new opportunities.