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Healthy indulgence drives snacking trends in 2023

Bakery products are popular among consumers for snacking, with 63% of global consumers turning to biscuits and cookies as their preferred type of snack. This is due to biscuits and cookies often being associated with more real, authentic and nutritional ingredients, which in some cases, can contribute to an overall healthy diet.

By Kate Kehoe, Marketing Executive at FMCG Gurus

As consumer attention is increasingly being drawn to ingredient claims when choosing between snack products, bakery brands should position their products around being free from dietary evils and instead position products as functional and nutritious snacks.

Healthy indulgence and offering purity

When shopping for bakery products and snacks, consumers are paying more attention to product ingredient lists. For example, FMCG Gurus consumer insights highlight that 64% of global consumers check nutritional labeling at least some of the time when choosing a snack. The ingredients of products are significantly influencing consumer perceptions around the value, quality and healthiness of bakery products.

By paying closer attention to the ingredient lists of products, consumers are seeking out reassurance that the products they are consuming are packed with natural and authentic ingredients. FMCG Gurus’ findings reveal that 65% of global consumers who check nutritional labeling some of the time particularly look for sugar content. This highlights that consumers are swaying away from certain artificial ingredients, chemicals and sugar content in products, and instead want products and specific ingredients associated with naturalness and nutritional value.

To aid consumer interest in bakery products, companies must have streamlined ingredient lists on their packaging to infer that products are natural and nutritional. In addition, free-from claims have been proven to boost consumer interest. For instance, FMCG Gurus consumer insights illustrate that the most appealing free-from claims are non-GMO (67%) and natural (66%). Due to this, it is essential that bakery brands make their nutritional labeling clear and simple for consumers so that consumers can easily make decisions on the nutritional profile of bakery products.

Functional ingredients and claims

Consumers have adopted a more proactive approach to their health and wellness in recent years. As a result, they are choosing products that have active ingredients, as well as health benefit claims. For example, some of the most popular health claims and functional ingredients include digestive health and fiber-rich foods, with 49% of global consumers turning to these kinds of products, FMCG Gurus research shows. Consumers recognize the link between their digestive health and their overall health, so if bakery brands promote products that aid digestive and overall holistic health, these will be of high appeal.

Sustainability and wellness

Consumer concern around the environment and sustainability has continued to grow over the years. Some consumer concerns are positioned around the direct impact this is having on health and a concern that brands are not doing enough to protect the planet.

This demonstrates that bakery brands must place sustainability at the core of their business and employ sustainable strategies to restore consumer trust. In doing so, brands must be transparent and proactive in tackling environmental issues in their industry by communicating their sustainable initiatives to consumers. Some examples of these initiatives can include smarter production techniques, as well as addressing the issues of climate change and waste management. FMCG Gurus market research has shown that 61% of global consumers find upcycled ingredients appealing. This demonstrates that while food waste has become a major concern amongst consumers, bakery brands should aim to be more resourceful in their production and disposal of food waste.

Emotional wellness and affordable indulgence

Many consumers have begun to put their emotional wellness at the forefront of their lives. This can range from their sleep hygiene to learning how to deal better with stress and anxiety. Due to this, consumers are also becoming more aware of the link between emotional wellness and their long-term health. FMCG Gurus findings show that 69% of global consumers are interested in food, drink and supplement products that will help to improve their sleeping patterns. As a result, this offers bakery brands the opportunity to present ingredients such as botanicals and CBD which are associated with relaxation. With the introduction of these ingredients, brands should reassure consumers about the safety and efficacy of them.

Amid today’s uncertain times during the cost of living crisis, many consumers are looking for ways to make themselves happier. Often, consumers turn to products that will provide them with an affordable indulgence and boost; 40% of global consumers sought out products that remind them of past, simpler times. The bakery industry has the opportunity to promote products under this branch of affordable indulgence and promote premium products as offering moments of comfort and escapism for consumers.

This article is based on ‘FMCG Gurus: Health & Wellness in the Bakery Market in 2023’.

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