With a global volume CAGR of more than 3% during 2008-13, pastries were by far the best performer within baked goods. Although more than three quarters of global volume growth in pastries came from Asia Pacific, sales remained fairly strong in Latin America and North America, the second and third biggest markets globally. The performance of the category can be explained by two phenomena: the rise of specialized bakery chains and flavor innovation. Both of these trends have paved the way for the recent development of hybrid pastries, which caught the industry’s attention when the cronut was created in the US last year. Now the hybrid pastry trend is rapidly en route to being the next big thing in baked goods.


The march of Asian bakeries

Asia Pacific boasts the highest pastry sales globally and accounts for the majority of global growth within pastries. Driven by China, both the size and growth of pastries is attributable to the popularity of Western-style bakeries, which are rapidly increasing their regional presence. Bakery chains such as BreadTalk and 85? Café are mushrooming across several Asian cities as well as smaller towns. In China, 85? Café recorded a staggering 79% value CAGR during 2008-13 while BreadTalk managed to triple its value sales during the same period. This comes on the back of the competitive prices that these bakery chains offer. With artisanal products costing 25% less than their packaged counterparts, they attract not only the affluent consumers but also the emerging middle classes as well as the growing number of tourists and expats. Another big selling point of the bakeries is their continuous innovation and experimentation with ingredients and pastry flavors.

Moving toward a hybrid world

Hybrid pastries are taking off fast, and it all started with the cronut last year. Initially launched in the US, the croissant and donut combination has become a popular snack in South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, the UK and even France within less than a year. This has been followed by the townie, a blend of tartlet and brownie, as well as the brookie, a brownie crossed with a cookie. Now the pastry world hosts several fusions, ranging from muffle and crookie to the Starbuck’s duffin. The latest addition is wonut, the waffle-donut combination invented in April by an independent Chicago cafe , which sold 600 pieces in one store within two days of its launch. Hybrid pastries work well because they offer something new and exciting to today’s novelty-seeking consumers who are reluctant to completely give up on the familiar. These pastries also benefit from the rise of artisanal products, which reminds one of home-baked food, personal enough to make consumers feel at home and convenient enough to make the visit to a far-off bakery worthwhile.

Hybrid pastries might have started as an American culinary experiment, but they are spreading fast across other (more conservative) parts of the world. Some will undoubtedly regard them as an insult to gastronomy, if not the English language. Others will balk at the high fat and sugar content the products boast. But in a world where not everybody prefers to dine on diabetic chocolate or reduced fat chips every day, hybrid pastries offer a moment of mixed —and perhaps personalized — pleasure for all of us who, on occasion, want just a little more than a donut.

For further insight, please contact Pinar Hosafci, Food Analyst at Euromonitor International, at pinar.hosafci@euromonitor.com.