Technology Meets Tradition

28 Oct 2014

The bakery and confectionery sector is going through some interesting times. Many of the products in the sector are particularly indulgent, and the good news in this regard is that consumers now seem to be – in general – better off and are looking to purchase more luxury products. Yet this rise also goes hand […]

Technology Meets Tradition

The bakery and confectionery sector is going through some interesting times. Many of the products in the sector are particularly indulgent, and the good news in this regard is that consumers now seem to be – in general – better off and are looking to purchase more luxury products. Yet this rise also goes hand in hand with increased interest in healthier and more natural products – leading to many manufacturers looking to change their recipes.

Certainly, the bakery market shows no sign of slowing its growth – despite challenges from wet weather and an increase in grain prices over the last few years, it remains buoyant. Changes in consumer lifestyle can, though, be seen from the fact that, at the same time, the free-from sector is marching on, grabbing an increasingly large slice of the market thanks to increasing demand for these products as a lifestyle choice.

It’s no surprise that many in the industry therefore see a breakthrough in food technology over the next few years that will enable bakeries to meet the burgeoning demand for high quality products made from naturally gluten-free, non-GM ingredients. Ingredient specialists have risen to the challenge, developing naturally gluten-free, non-GM starches, flours, proteins and fibres based on a range of crops – and maximising advanced R&D techniques to deliver benefits for both manufacturers and consumers.

The changes in consumer tastes have seen a host of new products joining the familiar staples on retailers’ shelves. Tortilla, for example, was once considered purely a Hispanic speciality product, but is now firmly entrenched in an increasingly diverse diet. Indeed, tortilla sales in the USA now outnumber those of more established products such as bagels, croissants and muffins.

These recent additions to the market are hugely welcome, but part of the attraction of many bakery products comes from their traditional methods – following recipes and production processes that have been passed on through generations. However, some of these aren’t quite as sustainable as they used to be due to changes in regulations and a supply chain that has speeded up quite substantially. The challenge, therefore, is to incorporate new methods that include the same quality as before but with increased convenience and safety.

The new technology has allowed for bakery and confectionery products with a handmade appearance to be produced far faster than has ever been the case, with improvements in traceability, security and efficiency, and incorporating new, healthier ingredients. As far as consumers are concerned, however, the products maintain the same taste as before – creating a perfect mix of innovation and tradition.

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