The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services states that carbohydrates should make up 45-65% of one’s total daily calorie intake. This means that consumers can choose from a range of grains, including baked goods, to meet their daily calorie intake.

As a result, new bakery product launches in the U.S. have grown nearly 25% from 2005-2007, according to the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD). On the other hand, according to a Mintel survey from 2006, household weekly consumption of bread decreased by 3% from 2004-2006, and, according to Simmons Research data, the percentage of households that use snack cakes dropped 10 percentage points from 2001-2006. Therefore, although the market is offering more products, consumers are decreasing their consumption of bakery products. But, they may only be waiting for the key product that will catch their attention.

According to a 2006 survey conducted by Mintel, 46% of adult consumers frequently eat sweets, but 38% feel guilty when they eat sweets such as cookies and cookie bars. Furthermore, according to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nearly one-third of adults are obese, having a body mass index of 30 or greater. In fact, this group comprises one of the fastest-growing segments of the population.

Compounding this issue is the nature of many bakery items, which are often perceived to be indulgent or unhealthy because of their carbohydrate, sugar and fat levels. Additionally, many bakery items contain other additives. Furthermore, according to a 2007 Mintel survey, 57% of adults agreed that leading a healthy life is very important to them. Due to a health-oriented consumer market, manufacturers have continually faced the challenge of developing healthier and better-for-you bakery items with appealing flavors.

Trans Fat Claims Strong; Calorie Claims Pick Up Momentum

There has been some interesting activity in food-minus claims, driven by health-focused consumers. Food-minus claims have a presence of nearly 47% of all claims used in new bakery products in 2007, and they grew by almost 39% from 2005-2007, according to the Mintel GNPD. The activity of low-/no-/reduced- positioning claims may be seen in the “Positioning Claims for New Bakery Products,” chart.

The low-/no-/reduced-trans fat claim continues to lead as one of the most prominent claims, accounting for almost 17% of all the claims used in 2007. Driven by consumer awareness and a negative perception of trans fats, the low-/no-/reduced-trans fat claim has become a norm for bakery items. This is illustrated in Mintel’s 2007 survey data. Some 25% of adults report buying bread with the specific claim of no trans fat, and 27% of adults seek out cookies and cookie bars with trans fat-free positioning claims--a growth of 17% since 2006.

Although the low-/no-/reduced-trans fat claim is very strong and has greatly influenced the market, it is not the strongest-growing “low-in” claim. Consumers continue to seek out ways to decrease their calorie intakes, with 16% of adults reporting the use of a calorie counter as a health resource, according to a 2007 Mintel survey. This consumer focus on calorie intake has caused the claim of low-/no-/reduced-calorie to grow by 40% from 2005-2007. Manufacturers will have to balance the consumer desire for healthier bakery items, while maintaining appealing, bold and even indulgent products. One can expect to see manufacturers using more natural ingredients--such as fruits, vegetables, spices, nuts and even “superfoods”--and more natural formulations to make healthier sweet and savory bakery items.

Natural, Organic and Other “Natural” Bakery Products to Grow

As seen in many other food categories, more natural ingredients, formulations and products are gaining popularity in the bakery category. As a result, other natural claims, such as “all-natural” and “organic,” have grown in usage from 2005-2007. (See chart “Growth of Natural Claims for New Bakery Products.”)

Mintel’s recent survey reports 36% of adults buy bread with the specific claim of all-natural. Furthermore, of adults buying cookies and cookie bars, 22% seek out ones with all-natural positioning claims, a growth of almost 38% since 2006. Additionally, more people are buying organic products. In 2007, Mintel reported that 71% of respondents who have purchased organic foods look for foods with no artificial ingredients, a growth of 11% since 2006. About 70% buy products that are 100% organic, a growth of 8% since 2006.

Functional Cardiovascular and Weight Control

There is a dichotomy occurring in the baked foods market. Along with the strong growth of more natural bakery items, there has been a growth of better-for-you and functional bakery items. Manufacturers typically add calcium, fiber, and/or vitamins and minerals to make their baked products healthier and more appealing to consumers with a specific health focus. However, these claims have decreased in usage by 33%, 67% and 32%, respectively, from 2005-2007.

Replacing these product-plus claims, manufacturers are creating functional products to off-set and address the negative perceptions of baked goods. Manufacturers are including weight control capability, heart-health claims and other functional claims with their baked goods products, as seen with these three claims growing 200%, 100% and 500%, respectively, from 2005-2007.

As consumers continue to change their diets to fit a healthier lifestyle, they seek out not only ways to cut unwholesome or unhealthy elements from their diet, but to incorporate foods that actively improve their health. Manufacturers such as Hodgson Mill, with its Organic Golden Milled Flax Seed product, include flax seed and omega-3 to promote cardiovascular health and support the immune system. Kashi, with its Heart To Heart Honey Oat Waffles, uses white tea with claims to help reduce cholesterol and support healthy arteries with its six natural antioxidants. Focusing on the functional health of children, Lu, with its Lulu Bear Creamy Milk Cakes, is a good source of omega-3 ALA and claims to be good for a child's growth and development.

Expect to see manufacturers incorporating and leveraging “superfoods,” such as cranberry, blueberry, pomegranate, açaí and goji. Also expect red and blackcurrant, blackberry, mangosteen, cloudberry, bilberry and lingonberry to be baked in as pieces or flakes into bakery products. “Superfoods” such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and Brazilian nuts will also appeal. Additionally, healthy vegetables, such as garlic and tomatoes rich in lycopene, will be leveraged in bakery products.

Manufacturers may bring out a range of products in smaller packs, which are targeted towards specific consumers with specialized formulations, such as crustless white bread with omega-3 fatty acids for children, bread fortified with folic acid for women and a thick, sliced bread rich in protein for men. Also, for example, a more “adult” cookie bar that utilizes functional health properties, such as green tea or coffee flavors, might be successful.

Some of the previously mentioned “superfoods” have had strong flavor growth (see chart “Growth of ‘Superfood’ Flavors for Bakery Products”).

Bakery Items with Fruit Ingredients

Through Mintel’s survey in 2007 asking adults about their interest in trying breads with various ingredients added, bread with raisins appears to be the most popular bread among the types surveyed, undoubtedly because it is most readily available on the market. Bread with strawberries shows a promise of success, as half the respondents are likely to try it. Other bread types--bread with pears, chocolate, figs and cranberries--also appear to promise a high acceptance rate, as over 30% of respondents report that they would like to try these options. Again, for a market with extremely high penetration, these are very encouraging results. According to Mintel GNPD, bakery items with the raisin flavor grew by 1,050% from 2005-2007.

Following the trends of consumer desire for more natural and healthier products which have lower calories, sugar and other unwholesome elements, one can expect to see manufacturers utilizing more natural ingredients and flavors. Traditional and exotic fruits, vegetables and spices may appear in more natural forms, such as being baked into the items.

Indulging Through Portion Control

Convenience and microwaveability continue to influence this category, as consumers seek warm bakery items to eat during their increasingly busy days. The two claims grew 46% and 140%, respectively, from 2005-2007. However, consumers want to be able to indulge in these baked items in an acceptable portion that is still satisfying.

Packs with 100 calories or less have become very popular products in the category, with a number of companies launching pre-packaged and sometimes reformulated 100 or less calorie packs of some of their popular brands. Hershey’s Kisses Mini Cookies now offer 100 Calorie Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies, which contain only 100 calories per bag. Entenmann's launched Little Bites 100 Calories Packs Brownie Squares, which are said to be great-tasting, little indulgences that fit into a balanced eating plan.

Many products are being seen in smaller portions, such as General Mills’ Betty Crocker Warm Delights Minis Molten Chocolate Cake Mix, with its serving size of a 35g bowl and a reduced-calorie count of 150 calories. It is a prime example of redesigned products influenced by the trend of portionability, as it is a smaller portion than its predecessor--a larger Betty Crocker Warm Delights with a serving size of 3.10oz and 360 calories.

Also expected will be more manufacturers developing individually packaged and/or reformulated 100 calories or less snacks packs. This may even be done with indulgent bakery items, such as brownies, that can serve as snacks, or less-guilty indulgences of some very popular, bakery-brand items as well as private labels. There will be products specially made to be 100 calories or less, such as Procter & Gamble Pringles Stix, which are essentially crisps/chips made from rice instead of potatoes, and were said to be naturally lower in fat. Each pack contains only 90 calories. The products tap into the health and wellness trends that influence the purchasing behavior of many health-conscious, portion-desiring consumers.

Sustainability in Packaging and Products

Sustainability has had a very strong influence on the market, affecting many food and beverage categories (see chart “Growth of Ethical and Environmental Claims”).

Bakery products with an environmentally friendly package grew, with many products promoting how the packaging uses recycled material or is recyclable. There has also been notable growth of products promoting the environmentally friendly production of the product. Examples of this are grains grown through sustainable farming or using environmentally friendly energy such as wind power. Heaven Scent Eco Planet organic cookies are an “ultra-green” product that boasts environmentally friendly production. They contribute 1% of sales to the natural environment, off-set their usage of fossil fuel with the help of wind power and use organic farming--which contributes to the environment, as no pesticides or fertilizers are used. This helps to create pure, wholesome food and helps keep the soil and water around farms cleaner.

Manufacturers can be expected to premiere more environmentally friendly products, focusing both on packaging made with recyclable or recycled material and other, more environmentally friendly packaging--such as biodegradable. Other manufacturers may focus on the product’s production, off-setting the environmental impact and carbon footprint of the product.

For the future, expect to see many changes in the bakery category, with a main focus on more natural, health-focused and environmentally friendly products on the horizon.
The information in this article was derived from the Mintel Global New Products Database,, 312-932-0400.

Going Global

IN bakery goods, flavors may range from sweet to savory and include everything in between. As seen in The Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), some manufacturers choose to flavor their products with natural ingredients, illustrating the emerging all-natural flavoring trend. In France, United Biscuits released Raspberry Pulp Biscuits under the BN Mini Brand, which are said to be a good source of energy. In Taiwan, Howei Food released Mulberry Stuffing Biscuits under the Kainien Brand. They are filled with real mulberry and cherry fruit pulps. This product claims to be healthy and to provide energy to the body. In the Czech Republic, Bionebio released Organic Cookies With Molasses under the Bio Nebio Melasky brand. These whole-wheat cookies are sweetened with raw cane sugar and molasses instead of other, traditional sweeteners, such as processed sugar or corn syrup.

There were also interesting savory flavors using meats, cheeses and wines from around the world. In Canada, Simply Indulgent Gourmet released Port Wine Biscuits under the Simply Indulgent Gourmet brand. They are made with real port wine and cheese. In Brazil, Bagley released Parma ham & cheese flavored salted biscuits under the Aymore Minuto brand; these feature an exclusive flavor layer with grated cheese. Another example of this can be found in Canada. Artisan Biscuits released Spicy Moroccan Seed & Nut Crackers under the Mondovino brand, made with extra virgin olive oil.

As flavor exploration and diversification continue, manufacturers may focus on different sources for flavor development inspiration such as ethnic, traditional, exotic and new flavors.