Consumers are becoming more attentive to the ingredients used in products than ever before, wanting reassurance that ingredients are real and authentic, natural and nutritious, and free from ingredients detrimental to themselves and the wider environment. Consumers are being more attentive to nutritional labelling, wanting reassurance over natural formulation, notes FMCG Gurus. This is a trend that has intensified as a result of COVID-19, as more emphasis is also placed on country of origin and supply chains, as food safety becomes a greater issue. As such, bakery brands will need to reassure consumers that products are local, natural and linked to this, sustainable.
FMCG Gurus research conducted in 2021 found that 74% of global consumers say it is important that food and drink is 100% natural. Meanwhile, 70% said in the same year that they have become more attentive to natural claims as a result of COVID-19. At the same time, consumers are also increasing their intake of bakery products. For instance, research conducted in 2021 found that 39% of consumers said that they had purchased more bread in the last month, whilst 38% said this for biscuits and cakes and pastries. Consumers will be turning to products such as bread as it is a staple part of the diet, meaning that they will not reduce consumption even if they are look to reduce spend on groceries in a recessionary environment.
Meanwhile, the appeal of biscuits and cakes & pastries will relate to consumers continuing to turn to products for escapism purposes to deal with everyday pressures. Irrespective of the reason, it will be important that bakery products are deemed to be natural. This is because consumers want products that are conveniently nutritious, guilt-free and good for the planet, meaning that they want to avoid additives and synthetic ingredients.
In addition to this, consumers will also want more transparency over the formulation of bakery products than ever before. Indeed, research conducted in 2021 shows that 55% of consumers are becoming more attentive to the country of origin of products as a result of COVID-19. Furthermore, 43% would also like to know more about the safe handling of food products along the supply chain. Food safety is becoming a greater concern for consumers, as they become more conscious about hygiene issues and the potential spread of virus. Additionally, in times of uncertainty, consumers tend to adopt ethnocentric attitudes, having favorable perceptions of home-made brands and being less trusting of foreign brands. This is why 58% of consumers now say that they are being more attentive to locality claims. Consumers want reassurance that products are local, associating such claims with naturalness and sustainability and also believing such products to be safer, healthier, and better quality.
As the impact of COVID-19 continues to linger, these attitude and behavioural traits will remain consistent amongst consumers – especially as many anticipate additional waves of the virus in their country. This means it will be of high importance that bakery brands offer maximum reassurance around natural formulation, whilst also offering maximum transparency over how products have been distributed along the supply chain. If brands can do this, consumers will continue to turn to bakery products either because they are deemed a staple part of the diet or as a guilt-free treat.
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Editor, International Bakery
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