AMSTERDAM — In a world where product recalls open the news and certain ingredients are considered villainous, wholesale bakers often find themselves on the defensive against the very consumers they’re trying to serve.
|Chris Brockman, global bakery analyst for Mintel|
“There’s a real concern about the high level of processing,” said Chris Brockman, global bakery analyst, Mintel, who spoke to a group of bakery producers and suppliers at the Rademaker headquarters in Amsterdam. “There’s a high demand for better bread.”
This is not a domestic issue. Consumers worldwide are becoming more wary of the foods they eat. In Brazil, for example, one out of five infrequent bread users said packaged bread is “too processed,” according to an August 2016 report. And in the U.K., 48% of consumers agreed that supermarkets should stock more locally made artisan bread.
So, how do large-scale manufacturers get past the barrier of “factory fear”?
First, the concepts of big food and local producers are, in fact, in the eyes of the beholder. And thanks to modern technology, the idea of “global” isn’t the vast expanse it used to be, especially for bakery, which is a highly fragmented industry. For example, Grupo Bimbo, considered the world’s largest bakery producer, does not span the globe; 95% of its revenue comes from the Americas, and Grupo Bimbo accounts for just 3% of all bakery new product development in the past three years, Mr. Brockman said.
Next, it’s about breaking the stereotype and coming out from behind the curtain. Consumers are looking for authenticity, and that often starts with a story. In fact, storytelling and baking are crafts that have long gone hand-in-hand.
“Demand for authenticity is driving demand for higher quality products,” Mr. Brockman said.
Kossar’s New York City Bagels has used the same process for 80 years, and it makes sure to remind consumers of that in its marketing materials.
Additionally, consumers are evermore cognizant of what happens before the bakery, and companies are tapping into that. Fear of big food is giving way to innovation all the way back to the farm.
Boulder, Colo.-based Rudi’s Organic Bakery uses Sacramento Valley whole grain flour and Hungry Hollow whole grain flour — both grown in California by a sixth-generation farmer — in its whole wheat bread products. And Canadian bakery Silver Hills is crafting bread products made with Khorasan wheat, such as in its The Queens Khorasan, and Red Fife wheat, such as with its Big Red’s Bread.Consumers and wholesale bakers need not be diametrically opposed. Through authentic communication and the right perspective, baking companies — from local to global — can regain consumers’ trust.