BAKERY BLOG Annie Spratt Sz6bmy4r4hc Unsplash

Post-covid bakeries are gaining a cult-like status. Independent bakeries are winning legions of new fans who are willing to queue around the block for the latest TikTok-famous, lust-worthy bread and pastry creations. These trending eats have become more akin to limited-edition streetwear drops, according to food publication Eater. So what innovation is driving this new trend (a trend that is expected to last for at least 4 years)?

Crazy about the cronut

Since the invention of US pastry chef Dominique Ansel’s famed cronut (a croissant-doughnut hybrid) in 2013, bakers have continued to stretch the limits of laminated pastry, designing creative confections that defy expectation and tradition in both shape and form. 

Competition for the most unique croissant varied is on. From TikTok-famous circulus croissants that stand on end, such as New York’s Lafayette bakery, to cube-shaped croissants from Le Deli Robuchon (London). But they have broken away from conventional shapes too, such as daisy-shaped pastries from French Bakery champion Pierre Saucès – there really is no limit to what you can do with a croissant!

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The rise of premium bread

Artisan bread is also achieving a cult-like status with consumers willing to pay a premium for handcrafted loaves and buns from independent bakeries. This is particularly true in Israel, where people are happy to spend upwards of 35 shekels (£7.70) per loaf (Haaretz, 2023). Establishments that focus on bread are pulling in the crowds. This is the case for Hagay Bread (Tel Aviv) and Teller Bakery (Jerusalem) which are exploding in popularity for their creative loaves.

Meanwhile, famed Japanese bread shokiupan (a type of semi-sweet fluffy white loaf) has become a global phenomenon. Ginza Nishikausa’s first Japanese bakery in Los Angeles, which opened in 2022, is a testament to this. It’s $18 shokupan loaves regularly sell out online within minutes! In London, Happy Sky Bakery has also seen success with its own version.

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Focusing on flavour

Bakeries are bringing flavours from all over the world and giving locals a taste of other cultures in bread and pastry form. For example, Asian flavours are entering the Western market as Asian bakeries bring specialties to western consumers. Lady Wong, a dessert shop in New York’s East Village sells its own take on kuih (a broad term for small, sweet items found across southeast Asia). Whilst London-based Filipino bakery Kapihan, which specialises in bibingkanitas (a Filipino coconut rice cake), is combining different cultures by selling it in non-traditional seasonal flavours like Black Forest, Ube & Blueberry and Spiced Queso. 

And it’s not just cultural clashes happening – unique flavour combinations are happening as bakeries are being inventive and reimagining the traditional. Such as Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok hotel’s offer, which includes options such as Chocolate Orange Mochi Taro Pork Floss and Pandan Mochi with Egg Yolk.

In 2022, New York’s Dough Doughnuts went in more novel savoury taste direction. It partnered with US brand French’s to launch limited-edition brioche doughnuts glazed with French’s bright iconic mustard and sprinkled with pretzel crumbs.

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Bread for health

While consumers primarily turn to baked goods for a moment of pleasure, health is becoming an increasingly important factor affecting purchasing decisions. Cleaner ingredient lists are becoming more of a priority for consumers – almost three-quarters of Brits who regularly check labels on bakery products look for refined sugar content, whilst 65% search for additives (FMCG Gurus, 2022). Similarly In the US, 42% of consumers say they’re influenced by clean ingredient lists, whilst 39% are swayed by nutrition scores and 28% by specific product claims (Cargill, 2023)

Bread that is packed full of vitamins and minerals is just one-way bakeries are making bread for health. US bakery brand Sara Lee’s new White Bread Made with Veggies contains the equivalent of one cup of vegetables per loaf, alongside added vitamins A, D and E. And fellow US start-up Sea & Flour’s carbon-negative bread is infused with seaweed, and fortified with vitamins A and K, iron, folate, calcium, magnesium and zinc.

It goes beyond vitamin and minerals. Spanish food-tech start-up MIM Habits has brought the world’s first-ever line of postbiotic breads to the market, with options to help with immune regulation, bowel health, stress relief and hypertension. 

Purposeful bites

As seen across multiple F&B sectors, sustainability has become increasingly important to bakery consumers too, with a third of Brits claiming to be aware of the eco-friendly credentials of the baked items they buy. This is matched by the industry’s concerted efforts to address soil health, waste and plant-based innovation. 

Bakery businesses are investing in regenerative and other sustainable farming initiatives. In the UK, sustainable farm and flour manufacturer Wildfarmed has collaborated with retailer Marks & Spencer to launch a range of bread products containing its regeneratively produced wheat flour. 

The drive for sustainable solutions doesn’t impact just farming and flour, but also ensuring other ingredients are climate friendly and animal friendly.  The plant-based sector is showing steady growth, globally expected to expand from $298m in 2023 to $491.5m in 2033 – with the UK, US, China and India emerging as key markets. (FMI, 2023).

In France, where numbers of consumers following plant-based diets remains relatively low, there has been a boom in high-end vegan patisseries. A popular example being Land & Monkey in Paris, which opened its first site just before the pandemic and have now expanded to six locations across the city.


So, what now?

Is it time for restaurant and café brands to start seriously considering their baked options? Innovative baked goods can be incorporated into the menu and elevate the food experience from the usual pain au chocolate and cinnamon swirl to more contemporary and stand out products that will compete with local bakeries.

And it’s not just restaurants and cafes, hotels have the opportunity to bolster their breakfast and snacking menu with a bakery offering – such as Brothaus, a concept we developed for Pullman Dubai Downtown Hotel.

Whether stand alone or within hotels, restaurants and cafes can use their unique food offering to put a spin on a classic baked good. Whether it’s flavour infusions or bringing culinary inspiration from other cultures to what can often be an overtly French-inspired bakery market. Is your restaurant Malaysian inspired, maybe kuih keria (an airy donut made with sweet potato) or kuih bahulu (spongey, eggy treats often in floral shapes) can be added to your menu, giving your guests a unique and truly Malaysian experience. 

If you would like to consider how your F&B offering can be enhanced to make the most of the big bakery trend, get in touch and our F&B Consultants can help you to define a new and innovative menu offering. 

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