MUNICH — In the world of baking, one thing is for certain: It’s definitely not flat and never standing still. Rather, the 35,000-feet perspective reveals it’s constantly shifting, perpetually on the move and always reinventing itself.
At iba 2018, which runs Sept. 15-20 in Munich, expect to see three primary trends on display, noted Michael Wippler, president of the German Bakers’ Confederation, sponsor of the triennial event.
“The out-of-home, to-go arena is an important trend, which has seen a sharp increase globally in the past five years,” Mr. Wippler said. “Baked goods, snacks and coffee are increasingly being consumed on the go and no longer at home.”
Additionally, he said, the world-wide health-and-wellness movement is driving gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan baked goods not only throughout North America and Europe but also in Africa, Middle Eastern nations like Iran and throughout Asia.
The “Back to the Roots” theme — a return to regional specialties — provides an opportunity for bakeries to move away from being mere providers of bakery products to focus more on the enjoyment of baked goods, especially as a component of a sandwich or part of a meal.
“Baking is presented in a new way, and it is purposely made to look stylish,” Mr. Wippler observed. “Baking is trendy, and this is true anywhere in the world.”
For St. Pierre Bakery, Manchester, United Kingdom, the “takeaway” movement provides a huge opportunity.
“It’s one of those trends that has crossed over the Atlantic,” said Tim Boote, marketing director. “You’re seeing more people eat out and on the go — breakfast, lunch and the evening meal as well.”
St. Pierre Bakery offers a broad line of packaged European-inspired brioche, crepes, pastries and waffles that can be slacked out by in-store bakeries to keep shelves full throughout the day. Co-manufactured in bakeries in France and Belgium, products such as its brioche come in different varieties to tailor them to takeaway meals and regional consumption patterns.
“These are not traditional brioche-shaped products,” Mr. Boote said. “We developed the hot dog and burger buns for the U.K. market and sliders for the U.S.”
St. Pierre Bakery also ventures into the Middle East, where its snacks and baked goods are found in c-stores and mom-and-pop shops.
“In several Gulf States, people are becoming wealthier, and they’re looking for this food to go,” Mr. Boote said. “Nationally, their taste preferences tend to be very sweet, and that matches up well with our products.”
Throughout Latin America, challenging city structures in urbanized areas drive the need for hyper convenience.
“Because people are stuck in traffic all of the time, they’re constantly looking for ways to save time,” said Maria Carolina Gollo, innovation/global marketing, for Grupo Bimbo. “One of the ways to save time is to replace meals with snacks.”
In the U.S., she noted, the snacking trend has transformed Bimbo’s Entenmann’s sweet goods portfolio. In 1999, coffee cakes, Danish and other full-sized products accounted for nearly 60% of its volume. In 2016, Ms. Gollo said, that plummeted to 17% as handheld items such as Little Bites blossomed to 83% of the brand’s items.
The globalization of casual dining and quick-service restaurants creates another growth target for higher quality, on-the-go foods.
“The whole premiumization of the sandwich; that’s going to be massive for us at St. Pierre,” Mr. Boote noted. “The chains have done all of the advertising and hard work, and we recognize that. We’re bringing in products that are appropriate for them and retailers in the U.S. and elsewhere.”
The takeaway trend has transformed the German ethnic specialty, the pretzel, into a mainstream snack, suggested Bjorn Tiemann, managing director, sales and marketing B2B, Brezelbackerei Ditsch. The Mainz, Germany-based company serves 28 countries in food service, in-store bakeries and coffee shops.
In Japan, he said, Ditsch has been selling pretzels for 15 years, including a filled pretzel stuffed with salted butter.
“Pretzels used to be an ethnic snack,” Mr. Tiemann said. “Not anymore. We have a lot more products than traditional pretzel twists. They’re the perfect snack.”
During iba, attendees will likely run into Ditsch’s snacks. The vertically integrated business has 280 shops throughout Germany and Switzerland where its pretzel twists, sticks, buns and rolls can be found in train stations and other high-traffic areas.
In the U.S., Ditsch recently completed the acquisition of Pretzel Baron and its Cincinnati bakery. Their pretzels in America are slightly different, which prompted a lighthearted debate between Mr. Tiemann and Gary Gottenbusch, chief executive officer of Ditsch USA, during IDDBA’s show.
“Everybody in Europe thinks they have the best product in the market, but the U.S. is a little bit different,” Mr. Gottenbusch said. “There might be slight variations in flavor or texture. The pretzel might be more bitter or less sweet or more or less dense or chewy in different markets. We’re producing the true authentic European pretzel with a softer, slightly sweeter American spin.”