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Indulgence and functional ingredients are among the consumer trends driving the pre-packaged bakery market worldwide, according to FMCG Gurus consumer insight.

The Pre-Packaged Bakery Trends in 2022 – Global Report was based on surveys conducted in 40 countries with a respondent size of 1000 per country and examined consumer attitudes and behaviours driving consumption habits in the market.

It found pre-packaged bakery to be a staple purchase for consumers internationally, with the majority buying bread, cakes and biscuits on a weekly basis.

The research identified a rise in the number of consumers considering their health and wellbeing with many adopting a ‘back-to-basics’ approach to nutrition and seeking out active ingredient claims on products to help ward off illness and disease.

More than half (53%) of global consumers said they would find high protein claims appealing in the bakery market and over a third (35%) claimed they regularly check nutritional labelling on products.

“Protein is an ingredient that continues to have something of a health halo attached to it because of its association with a variety of wellbeing benefits, meaning many consumers are adopting the ethos of the more protein in their diet, the better,” Will Cowling, marketing manager for the insights provider, said.

However, the report also revealed that indulgence remained the main motivation for consumers “even in product categories that are deemed better for you”.

Cowling said this would enable brands to push the boundaries of premium through the “promotion of experimental and hedonistic flavours, as well as the use of high-quality ingredients”.

“When it comes to flavours and sensory appeal, consumers tend to prefer traditional flavours within the category,” he added. “Almost seven in 10 consumers state that chocolate, raspberry, and vanilla as their most popular flavours… [these] will appeal to consumers because they are associated with trust and comfort. This is crucial in a time of uncertainty when consumers are prone to turning to products for moments of escapism from daily stresses.”

Although consumers prioritised indulgence, they regularly checked nutritional labelling with sugar flagged as a top concern.

“That means the importance of nutritional value cannot be dismissed,” Cowling suggested. “One way for bakery brands to respond to this is by positioning products as guilt-free and conveniently nutritious.

“This is something that can be achieved through promoting active ingredients on products, such as high fibre and high protein content. This will appeal at a time when consumers are embracing the concept of positive nutrition and are looking to maximise their intake of functional ingredients.”