Top Bakery Trends To Look Forward To In 2021
The baking industry has embraced plant-based concepts, sustainable production, and health-centered innovation this year, and we expect to see more of that in the new year. As we move on from the tumultuous rollercoaster that is 2020 and look forward to a much-needed fresh start, let’s wrap it all up with a sneak peek at the bakery trends of 2021.
1. Nutrients and flavor baked into every bite
There’s no denying the growing health awareness among consumers. As people commit to a healthier lifestyle, they continue to look for ways to enjoy pastries in a healthy way. The coronavirus pandemic came as a stark reminder and solidifier of the importance of wellness-promoting habits. While people are not about to take sweet treats off their diets, the industry continues to push the envelope in guilt-free confectionery. So it comes as no surprise that bakery trends for 2021 will further move in the direction of a bakery menu with more organic ingredients and less sugar, dairy, and additives. We are also seeing more baked goods lovers develop an appetite for vegan cakes and pastries.
Despite the greater commitment to better ingredients, consumers still value authenticity. They want to keep as many of the real ingredients as possible in the name of flavor. Indeed, adding nutritional value can sometimes mean coming to terms with the slightly altered taste, but there are ways to pack nutrients into pastries while delivering 100 percent sweet tooth satisfaction and zero guilt. More and more healthy recipes are emerging, applying smart nutritional tweaks and making creative use of added protein, fiber, fruits, or whole grains. You will be surprised how ingredients thought to belong nowhere near a cookie or cake can transform a dessert.
When cutting down sugar, many are making the switch to more natural sources of sweetness like honey. Vanilla will also be incorporated in more recipes as a healthier alternative to sugar and will serve well in improving the taste of allergen-free or plant-based baked goods that can develop non-traditional flavors from healthy ingredients. Throw in some flax seeds, dried fruits, or even shredded carrots or zucchini. Grass-fed butter is preferred to margarine tubs, which could be loaded with processed oils and harmful trans fats.
There are continued efforts being made to successfully replace the unhealthy components of baked favorites with healthier ingredients without losing the flavor. The gluten-free market has seen quite a major improvement in this department so we are bound to see a new breed of delightfully moist, fluffy, and richly textured gluten-free offerings in the next year.
Plant-based baking solutions have also advanced as a result with more bakers switching to more sustainable substitutes for butter, eggs, and even the highly processed white flour. There are more healthier flour alternatives than ever before made from fruits and vegetables like bananas, kale, beets, mango, cassava, and sweet potato. You’ve got a lot to work with when replacing eggs including ground flaxseed that has comparable bonding effects, banana for adding sweetness and moisture, tofu for a dose of creaminess, and aquafaba to provide the protein and starches found in egg whites. Butter can be substituted with vegan butter or plant butter, but you can swap it with coconut oil, coconut butter, olive oil, nut butter, banana, and avocado without missing a beat.
Customers also prefer high-quality bread with no artificial ingredients, which is why bakery trends are favoring flatbread and pita bread as opposed to traditional white bread for sandwiches. Whole grain bread has also been drastically improved, and can now fully go toe to toe with white bread in a battle of taste.
We should also be seeing immune-boosting ingredients such as citrus, ginger and turmeric find their way into more products. Turmeric can give your baked products a rich golden yellow color. Ginger adds some kick to your banana cake recipe. Citrus is perfect to add a layer of flavor to breads, muffins, and other pastry favorites. By next year, we might also see omega-3 and 6-fatty acids baked into more classics as well as probiotics that make the food more enjoyable for those with digestive issues.
2. Offer new experiences or bring back nostalgic ones
Creating new experiences for customers will never get old, and bakery trends continue to manifest that. Consumers are constantly in search of a fresh and unique way to enjoy their bakery favorites or discover a brand new form of pastry altogether. Bakery trends encourage small but meaningful changes to well established recipes to elevate the dish while still retaining that feeling and taste of familiarity. Don’t be afraid to experiment and curate a multi-sensory explosion of flavors, textures, and shapes.
Many people are developing a more pronounced palate for unusual flavor pairings. Take full advantage of this new sense of adventure and curiosity by combining savory and sweet ingredients, incorporating ethnic-inspired flavors into classic favorites, or creating a modern spin to citrus flavors.
With the pandemic dampening our travel plans, it is up to bakers to bring the world to the customer’s doorstep. As such, we will continue to see more baked products and desserts inspired from international flavors. Salted caramel, for one, lends itself to a world of potential for such exciting experimentation. More popular than ever is miso caramel, which adds a new dimension to the everyday recipe without being too foreign. Chocolate can also be a great canvas for unique decadent creations; it can be spiced up with seasoning like cayenne or elevated with vegetable frosting that you otherwise won't find in normal chocolate-oriented recipes.
Another surefire way to your customer’s stomach—nostalgia! Cakes and cookies are first and foremost a treat and a comfort food to many, and we all know how much of that we needed this year. People turn to sweets and baked goods to reward themselves, enjoy special occasions, celebrate with loved ones, or cap off a nice meal. And the bakery trends for next year continue to see this play out as consumers also pay attention to their mental and emotional wellbeing. Tap into the familiarity of the season or invoke a happy memory with thoughtful use of nostalgic sweets and ice cream in common baked goods.
Sometimes, people just want to take a break from stress and “escape” to simpler or better days, and a decadent slice of cake or delicious cookies just like how mom used to make them could just be the perfect outlet for that. The past year has found us longing for the “good old days” aka the life before pandemic where everything seemed a little easier. And it is a godsend to get even just a slice of that beautiful sense of comfort from a delightfully baked pie or cookie.
3. Baking in a sustainable way
Consumers are making more environmentally responsible food choices. What that means for bakery trends is sustainable packaging and production. Zero-waste kitchens have been on the rise and the continued commitment to the safety of the planet is expediting this transition. It can be as simple as giving leftovers like banana peels and coffee grounds a second life and adopting a more efficient and effective inventory management to overhauling your production space by making the jump to fuel cell energy, which the established commercial bakery brand Pepperidge Farm has found success in.
Customers will continue to seek out and support brands that make active efforts to cut down their food waste and carbon footprint, and they look to you to be transparent every step of the way. As you “clean up” your menu, also take the time to communicate your efforts. One of the most visible ways you can do it is with your packaging. Do away with plastic as much as possible and opt for something that is more eco-friendly. Thankfully, recent packaging innovations are making it possible to package baked goods in a way that will keep the environment safe and the products safe and fresh without compromising presentation and aesthetics.
People are paying more attention to the ingredients in the products and where they came from. Bakery trends promise great success to brands that use locally sourced organic products from sustainable farms. More and more consumers, millennials in particular, have no problem paying premium for a green product. When prices of both green and conventional baked products are comparable, customers tend to gravitate to the more sustainable made or packed option.
The importance of visual appeal
Customers will always look for that “extra goodness” and that sense of indulgence when enjoying their favorite baked offerings. There’s no better way to reel people in than how tasty your baked goods look. Nothing gets the mouth watering than beautiful chocolate drippings or gooey fillings. Not to mention, the “instagrammable” quality helps you promote the products and entice more customers to place an order.
Multiple colors, vibrant decorations, and fun patterns will continue to be perceived as premium due to the visual appeal and remarkable presentation. The sky’s the limit here and many bakers are definitely reaching for the stars with crazy and tasty ideas like neon cakes and glitter toppings. On the other side of the spectrum, bakery trends are also showing greater love for pastries with elegant black hues. Baked products that have that charred quality to them unlocks unbelievable levels of complexity and texture through the added acidity, tang, and sweetness that customers just can’t get enough of.
Texture and embellishment will continue to reign supreme. Create a layer of complex texture and an assortment of flavors that work to create a spectacle. You can achieve this with a clever arrangement of premium ingredients may it be chocolate glaze, whipped cream, or ganache coating. Recent bakery trends also show more love for handcrafted or artisanal cake. Many customers appreciate the unique charm of rustic or handmade cakes with minimalist design, paint-like strokes, and imperfect frosting.
Convenient, zero-mess baked treats
Trends in the baking industry also point to single-serve to-go options like parfait cups and microwaveable cakes. The past year was big on low-prep baked products, and so will the next year. As life becomes hectic by the day, simple, no-hassle recipes provide a way to enjoy delicious pastry without being bogged down by lengthy complicated steps or a long list of ingredients. Bakery trends of next year should move further into “the less mess and the fewer dirty dishes, the better” territory.