The daily bread of tomorrow

All catering professionals tend to discuss this question: what will consumers of the future choose in the way of nourishment? We can imagine them torn between the desire for a balanced diet, the need for practicality, the notion of gustatory enjoyment, respect for the environment, the health benefits advocated by certain products … No doubt about it, we face a real challenge!

Taste, perception of freshness, price, texture, nutritional value, conservation time, authenticity of the product and sound environmental practice are among the top 10 purchasing criteria cited by European consumers of bread products in 2010 (1). But in terms of the future… “We have been going through a process of change in terms of our inherent values over the last few years. We are sick of consumption - for the first time the consumer no longer wants to consume, an unprecedented demographical change as a result of the ageing of the population. As time accelerates in a world of immediacy, people prefer to enjoy the moment…”, says Pascale Grelot-Girard, Director of the Consumer Department at TNS SOFRES. Now more than ever, it is important to go the extra mile to seduce the fickle consumer, in search of instant gratification.

Towards a new type of consumption

One issue that will certainly influence developments in breadmaking production is convenience, both in terms of time and use. Whether soft or crusty, the quest for perfect organoleptic properties which last as long as the bread product itself will always be an area of much research. Especially as the industry is faced with the challenge of keeping up with developments in the retail and catering industries. “The retail and catering industries are starting to combine their expertise and savoir-faire to be able to offer exactly what the consumer wants", says Valérie Lobry, Sial Managing Director. Indeed, although fast food is not being replaced, there is a switch towards a wider range of “non-immediate consumption” options: the takeaway market. On the retail side, more and more takeaway products such as sandwiches and pizzas are being sold. How will the flow of bread products evolve in this context, and how can products be adapted to suit the developments in our clients’ businesses?
Bakers, as well as consumers, also have to think practically: how can we maximise profit? The search for low-cost ingredient substitutes which might even be able to protect bakers from the vagaries of volatile ingredient prices, reducing the quantities of unsold products by using “just in time” techniques… All possibilities to take into account when considering the improvements for the future.

Bread and health: hand in hand

Consumers are now more critical, more in-the-know than before, particularly thanks to social networking sites and new technologies. They are more sensitive than in the past to the impact of their food choices on their health and on the environment. Improving the nutritional value of bread products and the use of “clean label” recipes, coupled with increased pressure in terms of health policies, are trends which may well transform the face of our daily bread. As a result, there is every chance that our need for a connection with nature will become ever stronger. Overwhelmed by the bombardment of nutritional information, tomorrow’s consumer may well prefer to look for more natural products. “Manufacturers of industrial products must find a way in which to promote the intrinsic qualities of the natural products or ingredients. This is a field which still presents a surprising source of opportunities for the future”, adds Pascale Grelot-Girard. More than ever, optimising the properties of the active ingredients of wheat and other cereals will lead to the creation of new solutions.

Targeting sustainable development

Today, the food industry is first in line when discussing sustainable development. Indeed, the theme of the last symposium organised by Novozymes in June, dedicated to the European bread industry, was “Sustainable business and the moment of truth 2010” (2). The event demonstrated the extent to which enzymes and micro-organisms play a role in “producing more and better”, all whilst reducing pollution and consumption of natural resources. For example, “an industrial baker could, thanks to enzymes, reduce their bread waste by 50% and considerably reduce their carbon footprint”. The integration of sustainable development into the strategies of the industry’s businesses could have a real impact on future innovation. Social evolution, political and regulatory pressures, transformation in distribution and sustainable development methods… all of these must be considered in modern day innovation.

(1)    European Baker magazine study carried out with 102 industrial European bakers in 2010
(2)    More information available here

Contact : Cécile Chevreux –

Lesaffre's Global Performance approach

From the design of its products through to their sale, right from the start Lesaffre incorporates the skillful mastery of these absolutely essential dimensions: safety, taste, well-being, service, environmental protection… Every day, the researchers and bakery technicians in Baking Center™ work with bakers to develop products adapted to the requirements of today's and tomorrow's markets. 

Lesaffre proposes the following concrete solutions:

  • Optimised fermentation and the development of aromatic notes;
  • Yeasts suitable for sweet dough (more than 10% sugar);
  • An ultra-practical liquid yeast with its dispenser;
  • 2-in-1 yeasts that include an improver;
  • Ready-to-use sourdough starters….

As for the ingredients, the focus nowadays is on reducing the amount of salt in bread, in line with recommendations by the health bodies in many countries. To this end, Lesaffre has developed Gustal, which reduces the salt content by 30%, changing neither the products' taste nor the bread-making methods.

Our bread-making improvers are also evolving to ensure effective performance in a context where a "clean label" is becoming vital and consumers expect the bread to stay soft throughout the life of sandwich loaves or brioches.

The future also involves waste reduction. Lesaffre has developed Eco-products with a reduced environmental impact (recyclable packaging, easy selective waste sorting, carefully-chosen raw materials…).

To take this approach to its logical conclusion, Lesaffre proposes concrete assistance in the field, thanks to the technicians from its 25 Baking Centers™ .

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