HOW CAN BAKERIES ADAPT TO CHANGING CONSUMER DEMANDS?
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the bread and baked goods sector has observed an ongoing premiumization. This is due to the trend for consumers to start ‘trading up’ on everyday goods: Since they couldn’t go out to restaurants, people began treating themselves to more restaurant-quality products at home. And the trend is persisting even now that restrictions have been lifted. One category that has been particularly impacted by this premiumization is soft bread and buns, especially premium ‘luxury buns’, as well as brioche buns and rolls. So, what forms does this trend take? And how are large-scale bakery operations meeting these demands for upscale quality while maintaining production efficiency?
UPSCALE QUICK-SERVE RESTAURANT (QSR) BUNS
In what may seem like an unexpected development, bun premiumization is becoming particularly noticeable in the QSR segment. Traditional sesame-seed and brioche buns are a QSR menu staple, but these formerly simple products are currently experiencing a renaissance. Fast-food operators such as McDonald’s and Subway are, for instance, incorporating seasonal bread varieties into limited-time menu offerings to create special burgers or sandwiches. This includes a shift toward more ‘artisan-style’ features, such as specialist grains or a ‘stone-baked’ effect. On an industrial scale, these effects can be achieved with, for example, a new kind of baking tray or by optimizing ovens to enhance the bun’s appearance. Since customers are becoming more used to such high-quality offerings, we can expect this kind of premiumization to continue across the sector.
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