USA – A recent survey and analysis from food ingredient company Cargill dubbed “Sweet Delight – Decoding Consumer Bakery Decision” has revealed that consumers still crave for baked goods but a gap exists for healthy options.

The survey comprised 1,200 consumers who gave opinions about how they shop for cakes, pastries, and cookies and provided insight into the needs, textures, tastes, and ingredients that resonated with them.

According to the study, 54% of consumers buy baked goods to satisfy their cravings while 44% bought baked goods as a reward. What was not being met was a need for healthy options.

Consumers are still looking for sweet baked goods to indulge in but there was an unmet need for healthier baked goods, Ana Ivanovic, Cargill’s global consumer insights manager, and Jana Mauck, senior strategic marketing manager, told Food Navigator.

Ingredients influences purchases

When it came to why a consumer buys a product, the report found that 42% of consumers were most influenced by ingredients, 39% by nutritional values , and 28% by specific product claims.

Consumers want indulgent and tasty products, as well as healthier products, but there aren’t many options that help them meet all of these needs,” said Ivanovic

The report also pointed out that specific health claims such as all-natural, and 100% traceable are universally important and are among the consumer’s needs when buying baked goods coupled with healthier sweet baked clams.

However, heart and immune health concerns were minimal in bakery spaces as they are as rampant in the claims of the food and beverage industry, but he said it is a lucrative opportunity for innovation in this area.

Opportunities for innovations

Cargill identified three benefits/platforms that are ripe for innovation: fresh out of the oven, better for you, and premium indulgence – each representing a different opportunity for innovation.

As for the “better-for-you” platform, for example, Cargill found slightly more opportunities for cakes, while premium indulgences offered opportunities for cakes, pastries, and cookies, Ivanovic said.

When it comes to premium indulgence, rich, creamy, and buttery reigned supreme. Chewy and moist emerged as the most preferred for everyday treats while for healthier options, the ingredients used in the products were the most mentioned.

However, Ivanovic revealed that health-conscious consumers are often the high-income consumers who most likely shop online, and are willing to pay more.

People who are better for you want to sacrifice a bit of flavor to get that healthier profile,” Ivanovic said. “People who are willing to pay more for quality ingredients, like very, very specific ingredients that they choose.

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