The 2019 Taste/Tomorrow event that took place in Chicago from May 1 to 2 provided a platform for Puratos to release its latest body of independent global research into top bakery, patisserie and chocolate trends shaping today’s marketplace. Puratos has been conducting its Taste/Tomorrow research every three years since 2013. Bakers and industry executives from across the industry attended the Chicago event—and other similar events held in cities across the world throughout the year.

For 2019, the research involved surveying nearly 17,500 consumers across 40 countries, including 1,600 in North America. The researchers also gathered insights from 80 “foodies” in eight trend-setting cities: San Francisco, São Paulo, London, Paris, Dubai, Cape Town, Shanghai and Tokyo.

The research revealed several prevailing trend areas of note:

  • Taste
  • Freshness
  • Health
  • Craft
  • Transparency
  • Ethical lifestyle
  • Ultimate convenience
  • Next level experience
  • Hyper personal

Most of these identified trends have factored into the bakery market for several years now. The nuances arise in how consumers are interacting with these trends today—and how they see them coming into play in the future. This is where the rubber hits the road in terms of business strategy takeaways.

Artisanal baked goods have progressively helped spur industry sales over the past few years, and this momentum continues—largely via the in-store bakery. For the discussion at Taste/Tomorrow, these retail forces were grouped within the “Craft” trend.

Here are several takeaways from within the “Craft” Taste/Tomorrow research findings:

  • Consumers believe a crafted product has to look like it has been made by hand and has been created by an artisan
  • Consumers find crafted products very appealing, because they highly value the work and expertise that the artisan has put into it
  • Consumers appreciate imperfect finished goods—bakery products that have a slightly different shape, size and/or look
  • Use of natural ingredients and authentic recipes are also important for products carrying a crafted, artisan designation
  • People are willing to pay more for products that are handcrafted

The value of artisan, crafted baked goods is finding traction in the marketplace. The Taste/Tomorrow research found that 86 percent of Mexican consumers will pay more for handcrafted products. That number drops somewhat to 66 percent in the U.S., dipping slightly again to 62 percent for Canada. But all are strong indicators of the market value of artisan goods across North America. Globally, an average of 77 percent of people will pay more for handcrafted, artisan bakery, patisserie and chocolate.

The research found that people believe several specific characteristics define artisan, craft products in today’s marketplace:

  • Created by hand—65 percent
  • Created by an artisan—60 percent
  • Original recipe—50 percent
  • Natural ingredients—42 percent
  • Local production—34 percent
  • Created, made or baked in the store—30 percent
  • Made without preservatives—28 percent

The research also found that consumers easily perceive an added value in crafted products, especially when the artisan in question already has a strong reputation. Globally, one out of four consumers believe that in the future food will be made in an even more-artisanal way than it is today; in North America, one out of every five consumers believe this to be true.

The market for artisan baked goods is on the rise, but the details of production and subsequent product messaging matter in order to find acceptance at retail.