PARIS — Bread plays a pivotal role in the fabric of the world. This is sometimes forgotten in discussions about the future of bread and where it fits into a healthy diet.
“There are a lot of traditions around breads in many countries,” Antoine Baule, managing director for Lesaffre, told attendees of a Feb. 5 educational forum during Europain 2018 in Paris. “I think bread leads to childhood memories for many people.”
Mr. Baule pointed out that bread bakers worldwide are dealing with three main trends: snacking bread, traditional bread (thicker crusts, stronger flavors) and healthy bread.
“More and more, we see bread consumed as snacks,” he said. “Even in Asia, food spots are developing more and more. I think bakers are already developing their snacking corner.”
“Healthy but sexy” are the words Michel Suas used to describe the future of artisan bread in the United States. The founder of the San Francisco Baking Institute and co-founder of the award-winning San Francisco retailer b. patisserie (with co-owner Belinda Leong), Mr. Suas told a Europain Forum audience that healthy bread with whole grains “is moving up” and that “retail bakery is coming back to the big city and the small city” in America.
The challenge to future growth for artisan bread depends on the ability of bakers to produce whole grain and “healthy” bread that looks as “sexy” as it tastes, Mr. Suas said.
“When you look at it, it looks great,” he said. “When you taste it, it tastes great. If it doesn’t taste good, don’t do it. Those types of breads are worst to consume if not made properly.”
What strikes Lesaffre is the growing diversity of the global bread marketplace, Mr. Baule said. Some consumers seek out healthy bread. Others demand traditional bread. Still others want snacks.
“If you go to a German bakery, the selection is extraordinary,” he said. “I see more crusty breads, and that segment is very much on the rise in many countries. The croissant is also very trendy. It is following crusty breads, and that is good.”
There is a multiplicity of segments, and the challenge for bakers is to adapt to a broader range of demands globally.
Lesaffre has 38 baking centers worldwide to create breads of the future, Mr. Baule said.
“Go — try the adventure,” he exclaimed as a passionate plea to bakers. “Our baking centers are here to help.”