The rise of veganism and the growing popularity of plant-based and clean-tasting foods are giving consumers more lifestyle choices, but there is increasing evidence that many are unwilling to give up on their indulgent treats, according to inclusion specialist Pecan Deluxe Candy (Europe) Ltd.
Although the public wants the food industry to make food healthier – the drive for free-from and plant-based foods are testament to that – people still have a sweet tooth for traditionally indulgent items like baked goods, premium desserts and biscuits that shouldn’t be ignored, says the food tailor, which has seen demand grow from manufacturers for more innovative flavour inclusions.
An unwillingness to compromise on sugar levels in some foods is borne out by the latest Public Health England (PHE) sugar reduction progress report between 2015 and 2018, which found that there has been limited progress cutting sugar content for biscuits and ice cream, while the average per 100g has actually increased in puddings and sweet confectionery.
However, the growing choice of guilt-free sweet snacks and desserts is changing the landscape for health-conscious and price sensitive consumers, with significant success in reducing sugar content in branded yogurts, fromage frais and breakfast cereals, but the implication could be drawn that there will still be a market for traditionally sweet foodstuffs.
Baked goods, as an impulse buy, take home or artisanal, and even as a snack, are growing in popularity in the UK, with 33% snacking on bakery products in place of a main meal, according to a survey conducted by FMCG Gurus. The research also indicated that the top three sweet flavours are vanilla, chocolate and caramel, with ring donuts being crowned the most popular sweet baked product.
Graham Kingston, Pecan Deluxe EMEA managing director, believes offering a diverse range of options for all foods – the company can supply plant-based inclusions which may be suitable for vegan-friendly applications – is no bad thing.
He said: “Adventurous consumers may want to break the habit of gorging on unhealthy snacks but they also seem reluctant to give up their indulgent treats and this is helping to drive demand for bakery and other sweet snacks as well as luxury desserts. We are introducing innovative inclusions all the time across multiple applications to cater for trending flavour combinations.”
Whether satisfying new snacking habits or moments of indulgence, more variations are being added to the menu mix to cater for consumer tastes in both local and globalised dishes, wanting exotic flavours from afar but also the taste of home in restaurants and quick service chains (QSRs).
Pecan Deluxe is at the forefront of innovation and can create bespoke flavours and products for customers. The R&D department anticipates market trends and develops new ingredients to suit, frequently working alongside manufacturers to develop inventive products tailormade to meet their requirements and consumer demand, the company announced.