1 out of 3 consumers globally are choosing not to buy plant-based alternatives because they are not satisfied with the taste or texture of the product, as reported by the company InnovaMarket (webinar 19th January 2022). This issue also involves baked goods, snacks and desserts, which has led many companies to develop or reformulate their products. These often contain high amounts of sugar and salt compared to conventional products to make the taste and texture of the product more appealing.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer interest in vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets has increased due to growing awareness of the environmental impact of factory farming, and the importance of a healthy, fiber-rich diet. Also contributing to the popularity of these diets has been the development of a wider variety of plant-based alternatives, which have led many curious consumers to approach these products.
However, when looking for plant-based baked goods, snacks or desserts, consumers are attracted to both taste and features such as low calories and nutritional value, so they can supplement fiber vitamins and minerals while maintaining weight and without sacrificing good taste and texture.
Uprisen opportunity in plant-based market
According to the report titled “Plant-based market insights” prepared by the nonprofit organization ProVeg International, the global value of the plant-based snacks market is expected to grow from $31.8 billion in 2018 to $73 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 8.7%. The plant-based baked goods, snacks, and desserts category is one of the most underdeveloped, but recently consumer interest in these products seems to have increased, demanding more diversity on the shelf. In addition to consumer demand, price volatility in the egg market and the growing number of people allergic to animal-based ingredients also makes baked goods, snacks and desserts a valid market segment for new plant-based product development.
In fact, over the past year, according to the company Innova Market (webinar 19th January 2022), there has been an increase higher than 103% in the launch of plant-based baked goods, snacks and desserts with claims focused on the taste of the product, allowing consumers to eat a delicious but healthy product.
Ingredients to watch in plant-based bakery, sweets and snacks
The bakery, snacks and plant-based desserts segment allows producers to test different types of ingredients, from flours to seeds, to get the right combination of taste, texture and nutritional value. According to the article drawn up by Mintel titled “Ingredients to watch in bakery, snacks and cereals” there are several ingredients that are still underutilized, but could have interesting potential to improve the taste, texture and quality of baked goods, snacks and desserts.
For example, seeds and peels can be used for a variety of purposes; from improving flavor, to texture, to enriching with fiber, protein and vitamins. Their use can improve the product both organoleptically and nutritionally, while at the same time attracting consumers looking for good, healthy and nutritious snacks.
Oat, thanks to its good nutritional profile, is also becoming popular not only in baked goods, snacks and desserts, but also in the segment of alternatives to milk, such as in vegetable drinks. In addition to its nutritional character, oat is renowned for its sustainability in environmental terms, as it is an important crop in rotation systems, helping to ensure good soil conservation practices.
Legumes are also widely used in plant-based cooking and have potential for growing in baked goods, snacks and desserts due to their versatility and excellent nutritional profile. They are widely known and accepted ingredients by consumers, and also known as a sustainable crop, but are still underutilized in gluten-free, or plant-based baked goods.
What’s next: healthy indulgence
Plant-based product brands will be able to seize the expansion of this market segment by developing new products, focusing not only on health and environmental sustainability claims, but above all on their taste, conveying the message that a baked product or a plant-based snack can be both tasty and healthy. The opportunity given by one of the trend considered by Mintel, “Enjoyment Everywhere“, will give way to producers to be creative in the development of new bakery products, snacks and sweets, which will be able to take the opportunity to experiment with flavor and format, be creative with colors and shapes that can engage consumers.
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In addition to this, brands will be able to focus on improving their existing products by enriching them with ingredients such as probiotics, that can make products more attractive as they offer health benefits. Similarly, the development of free-from, clean-label baked goods, snacks and sweets will continue to grow, not only in gluten-free, but also sugar-free products. For consumers, the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of the pandemic years along with associated weight gain the rise in “comfort food” consumption has led to greater control of daily sugar intake, preferring products with less processed sugar. Coconut palm sugar is an ingredient that is becoming relevant, as it is perceived as less processed and more natural, attracting consumers looking for alternatives to conventional sugar.