Consumers in the Market for New Bakery Flavors

beautiful cake with ingredients

To reinvigorate pastry and baked good sales, brands can innovate with new fine bakery flavors


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KerryDigest Fast Facts
  • Taste continues to be the number one driver behind all food and beverage purchases.
  • Mainstream flavors are declining in both new product launches and retail volume.
  • This leaves room for flavor innovation as a means of attracting sweet bakery consumers.
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Although categories such as barbecue and ice cream have seen their flavor offerings greatly expand in recent years, the flavors offered in retail fine bakery products remain mostly unchanged. This has North American consumers seeking out taste innovation in products including croissants, scones and cakes. As the renewed focus on comfort food brings increased interest to the entire bakery category, we analyzed the latest taste preference predictions to bring fine bakery brands fresh ideas on new and popular flavors.

The Case for New Fine Bakery Flavors
Across categories, taste continues to be the number one driver behind food and beverage purchases, surpassing price, healthfulness, convenience and sustainability, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation “2019 Food and Health Survey.” In the bakery category, 72% of consumers who eat prepared sweet goods would like to see greater flavor variety; 45% of U.S. sweet goods consumers would be interested in desserts featuring flavors from international cuisines, according to Mintel’s “Sweet Bakery & Desserts” report from 2018.

These figures echo a sentiment recently shared by Michel Aubanel, Kerry Global Flavor Ingredients Development Manager, which suggested homebound consumers especially are turning to flavours for a sense of novelty and new experience.

With the rising consumer interest in flavor variety, interest in indulgence and nostalgia have also come to the forefront. Consumers still crave mainstream flavors, but with an added twist or in an unexpected flavor combination.

Consumers still crave mainstream flavors, but with an added twist or in an unexpected flavor combination.blueberry breakfast bread

Trending Bakery Flavors
To find taste options outside of the ordinary, our bakers and flavorists sought inspiration from the Kerry 2020 U.S. Taste Charts, which map out the “Mainstream,” “Key,” “Up & Coming” and “Emerging” tastes for the year. Below are some of the flavor options we’ve identified for consideration among sweet and fine bakery brands:

  • Mainstream Flavors: The following 10 flavors have had sustained popularity over the past five years: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, cinnamon, blueberry, honey, butters (such as peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter), raspberry, caramel and fudge.

  • Key Flavors: The following 15 flavors have experienced sizeable growth over the last five years, but are not yet mainstream: almond, apple, cherry, coconut, lemon, banana, dark chocolate, mint, maple, orange, mango, hazelnut, cookies & cream, salted caramel and desserts (such as brownie, churro and cookie dough).

  • Up & Coming Flavors: The following 20 flavors have been the fastest growing sweet flavors over the past three years: coffee, pecan, brown sugar, chili pepper, alcohol (such as Irish cream and bourbon), dulce de leche, blood orange, horchata, matcha, hibiscus, Hatch pepper, lychee, guava, rhubarb, plum, cayenne pepper, tamarind, pear, cajeta and cotton candy.

  • Emerging Flavors: The following 20 flavors saw record growth last year, and may in time make their way up the charts toward mainstream acceptance: Graham cracker, mocha coffee, breakfast cereal, latte, gooseberry, cider, elderberry, cold brew coffee, Vietnamese coffee, black peppercorn, chipotle pepper, cardamom, brown butter, chai spice, yuzu, Meyer lemon, date, smoke, juniper and rose.

making lemon magdalenasFlavor experimentation can help your team create an optimal taste profile and product.

Making Products with New Fine Bakery Flavors
Creating winning fine bakery products requires more than just selecting a new flavor for an existing application. Experimentation, including working with a flavorist, can help your team create an optimal taste profile and product. As you innovate, consider the below ways to incorporate fresh flavors in the fine bakery category.

  1. Mixing Traditional and Trendy
    Pairing traditional or mainstream flavors with up and coming or emerging flavors helps make products more approachable for consumers. For example, combining mango with raspberry or strawberry could bring new appeal to a struggling pastry product while adding blood orange frosting to a strawberry cupcake could inspire consumer intrigue.

  2. Adding an Exciting Taste
    Non-traditional fine bakery flavors such as savory and spicy provide a novel and unique taste experience. For example, a jalapeno cheddar scone can be made more exciting by kicking the flavor up a notch with the up and coming flavors of chili pepper or Hatch pepper.

  3. Incorporating Unexpected Flavors
    Taking flavor influence from other product categories such as coffee or alcohol is another way to create fine bakery products consumers crave. For example, adding crafted coffee flavors to cakes and muffins, such as a cold brew coffee muffin, would deliver a unique flavor experience.
  4. Fine bakery products with new flavors can grab the attention of consumers. To learn more about Kerry’s authentic, market-leading taste products, or to get help delivering memorable, inspired taste experiences, contact us.



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