Sweet treats never go out of style, but what people are choosing to buy from their local bakeries evolve in response to global changes and local ideas. Here are three baking trends to watch this year.
The last few years have seen a renewed interest in traditional treats such as Victoria sponge or flapjacks, with people seeing them as comforting in a world that is a little more troubling. Now, however, people are looking to update these classics with new twists, integrating new ingredients or concepts. These “newstalgic” treats should always be recognisable so that they are still considered a comforting warm hug from a customer’s childhood but updated for today’s world. Some products from this food trend that are starting to find popularity already include matcha cookies, honeycomb tiffin, or coffee-inspired cupcakes, with many of the twists local to a region or area, incorporating local flavours and ingredients.
Whether it’s for health, moral, or sustainability reasons, vegan and plant-based diets continue to grow in popularity. The biggest shifts here are with the growth of vegetarian restaurants and the reduction of meat in a variety of dishes, but in bakeries this means a move away from eggs. Those following a more flexitarian or “vegan-ish” diet may still eat eggs, but dairy is certainly on the wane and the growth in the number of people that are following a stricter vegan diet means that bakeries are increasingly starting to try out alternatives to eggs, butter, and milk.
The public have become used to the flavour of butter and eggs in their baked goods, but to replace them is less straight forward as any alternative will also introduce new flavours. Luckily, many of these flavours will enhance the treat, but bakeries often need to go through a fair amount of trial and error to find the right combination, which is why production kitchen spaces are perfect for bakery businesses as they test out new product ideas. Some of the most popular egg alternatives include ground flaxseed and water; mashed ripe banana; unsweetened apple sauce; plain soy yoghurt; vinegar and baking soda.
Provenance and buying local
Customers want to know where their food comes from and what they are eating. Transparency continues to be a major food trend, with consumers increasingly choosing to buy from local producers where they can trace the source of the food on their plate. For bakeries, this means choosing local suppliers wherever possible, whether that is locally milled flour, eggs from local hens, butter from a nearby dairy farm, and chocolate and spices from farms with strong worker and environmental standards. Bakeries cannot compete with supermarkets on the price of the good they produce, but they can lean into the local trend by making an effort to reduce their environmental impact by sourcing local wherever possible and in return the local community will support them with their custom.