KANSAS CITY — When it comes to innovation, bakers need to get real. That was a theme at the recent Puratos Taste Tomorrow conference near Austin, Texas. Speaker Alex Guarnaschelli, Food Network star and Iron Chef, encouraged bakers to embrace the classics and avoid innovating for the sake of innovation, noting that people love their steak and fries, and the world doesn’t need more oat milk iterations.

“Delicious still matters” was her mantra to the audience. The get real message was highlighted also in a Taste Tomorrow survey that’s an ongoing representative sample of more than 20,000 consumers from 50 countries. The survey showed 69% of North American consumers prefer to have a familiar element when trying new types of food.

Rollo McIntyre, global head of innovation at Ipsos UK, pointed out that familiarity allows consumers to experiment with new food products without moving too far out of their comfort zone. Perhaps that’s why the fusion of products and flavors has become so popular among new product developers and why it is so successful in today’s market.

In fact, many of the innovative products like a cinnamon bun-inspired cake that was created by Puratos bakers and pastry chefs for the event demonstrated how the familiar can be transformed into something new that receives a broad acceptance by consumers.

The survey also indicated that 59% want to be informed about where their food comes from and how it’s made. Moreover, 58% perceive local ingredients as healthier. Such information further enrobes an aura of authenticity that can turn today’s new products into tomorrow’s classics.