Unpackaged and unprocessed
At the heart of bakery purchases around the world is a move away from the processed and packaged to the unprocessed and unpackaged. According to Euromonitor’s 2017 report on the U.S. bakery category, packaged leavened bread struggled throughout 2016 with declines in volume and sales.
“The decline of the category reflects the ongoing and growing consumer sentiment against processed foods in favor of more natural ones,” the report said.
Ms. Nielsen asserted this also was reflected in popular claims on new product launches.
“Clean label continues to be something reflected in a lot of new product introductions,” she said. “We continue to see more products coming out with no additives, no preservative claims. We’re seeing more organic claims and even more handmade, traditional, artisan and authentic labels.”
Several bread products are filling in this gap: unpackaged leavened bread as well as ethnic bread. While packaged unleavened bread declined by 1% in volume and sales, its unpackaged counterparts grew by 1% in the United States, according to Euromonitor. From a global perspective, the growth of unpackaged leavened bread finds its roots in people’s perception that less processing equals healthier and better quality, two attributes consumers are pursuing around the world.
The idea of what constitutes healthy food moves away from processing and toward ingredients.
“Consumers are increasingly selecting products with natural and short ingredient lists over artificial products, even if elements such as calorie and fat content are higher,” Euromonitor’s report said.
Less-processed, unpackaged bread also is linked in people’s minds to handmade, traditional baking. All of this in turn acts as a signal that an unprocessed, unpackaged loaf of bread is high-end. Bakerly noticed this growing demand for premium artisan bakery products and responded accordingly. Ms. Grossman said the bakery’s products are free from preservatives, artificial coloring and flavoring, and high-fructose corn syrup and also contain zero trans fat.