Consumer Trends: Cronuts vs. Carrots

(Pecan Deluxe) — Bakery and confectionery news pages have been dominated in recent weeks by the launch of ever more indulgent cakes and patisserie creations that their inventors insist are the ‘next big thing.' However, experts tell us that consumers want healthier, more wholesome snacks with cleaned-up labels and all-natural ingredients. So who is right?

Graham Kingston, commercial director of inclusions and toppings specialist Pecan Deluxe Candy (Europe), believes reality lies somewhere in the middle. He explained: “Of course consumers quizzed on their snack preferences will insist that they’re looking for healthier options, for themselves and their families — and they no doubt purchase healthy snacks on a regular basis. But humans are curious by nature and, given the chance to try something new which is well-packaged and effectively marketed, good intentions will, temporarily at least, fly out of the window.

“The majority of health-conscious adults know that they shouldn’t be indulging frequently in fat and sugar-laden treats and will ration their intake — if anything this makes for a more enjoyable treat and something to look forward to. There’s definitely a place for inventive and innovative luxurious cakes, but as a treat rather than with morning coffee on a daily basis.”

In any case it’s not always that easy to indulge daily: customers wait as long as five hours outside the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City to purchase a limited number of ‘cronuts’, the doughnut-croissant hybrid that has since been trademarked by Ansel. There’s even a black-market trade in these sweet treats and imitations (the ‘dosant’, anyone?) are popping up across the globe, from South America to the Far East, Europe to Asia.

Since the launch of the cronut in the USA earlier this year, developments have inevitably followed. The ‘crookie’ is a variant with Oreos baked inside a croissant and — even more calorie-laden — enter the ‘Do-Cro Burger’, created in Canada, which features a beefburger and cheese within two halves of a cronut. But do these waistline-busting temptations really have a future in the patisserie sector as a whole?

Graham Kingston believes they do. He added: “Research — and common sense — has shown that in straitened economic times we are even more likely to turn to snack cakes as comfort food, and I welcome the innovators who are leading the patisserie sector to new, previously unexplored heights of creativity. We shouldn’t discount these inventive treats as a fad – even if they don’t make mainstream manufacturing they will still form the basis of new and unusual creations and encourage innovation in more popular ranges of snacks.

“The global bakery industry is predicted to be worth more than $410billion by 2015*. In Europe craft bakeries still dominate the market, and across the world there is massive potential for manufacturers, bakeries and patisseries to gain a competitive edge by creating innovative and inspirational new tastes and textures. Bakeries and patisseries across the world must acknowledge consumer cravings for something different and incorporate new and exciting variants into their regular product ranges — that’s what will give them a competitive edge, and share of that massive market potential.”

Pecan Deluxe has an impressive track record in supplying household name food manufacturers and food service outlets across the world with innovative ingredients to make an otherwise ordinary product into an extraordinary experience for the consumer. There is no other ingredient supplier offering the huge range of bake-stable inclusions, fillings and toppings available from Pecan Deluxe, in an unbeatable choice of product sizes with rapid turnaround and high volume capability.

* ’Bakery Products: a Global Strategic Business Report’ by Global Industry Analysts

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