Indulgent flavors shake-up breakfast offerings, flags Innova Market Insights
18 May 2021 --- Occasions are changing, and along with them, so too are flavor choices. According to Innova Market Insights, the need for indulgence is no longer limited to snacking and after-dinner treats. As a result, the market researcher sees a rise in indulgent breakfast foods and flavors.
Innova Market Insights latest report – entitled Flavors by Occasion – reveals that the likes of cakes and cookies prove popular indulgent flavors at breakfast.
The report highlights that indulgent flavors see the strongest growth in foods commonly eaten at breakfast, such as cereals, bread and dairy.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Héctor Parra, consumer and market insights team coordinator at Innova Market Insights, explains how the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted higher levels of comfort eating, putting indulgent flavors in the spotlight.
“The pandemic has definitely increased the need for joyful experiences and the need for more creativity – there is a downshift to value more intimate and simple joys. During the pandemic and lockdowns, consumers started creating their own treats with health in mind. Sweet spice combinations such as ginger and cinnamon also came to the fore,” he explains.
Spotlight on breakfast
Overall, consumers tend to eat healthier products for the first meals of the day, outlines Parra, including cereal, juices, yogurt, fruit.
“Ingredients and flavors that have actual or perceived health benefits will likely see an increase in usage across food that is commonly consumed at breakfast. For instance, nuts, particularly peanuts for their protein content or superfruits for their antioxidants, and other benefits.”
Moreover, brown flavors, cake, cookies and pie concepts are most evident in cereals, he observes. “Flavors add a degree of indulgence to breakfast foods with the cereal, bread or dairy base delivering the healthy part of the product.”
Cake, cookie and pie flavors increased by a 9 percent CAGR over 2016-2020, while brown flavors (such as chocolate, caramel and peanut butter) increased by 6 percent.
“Consumers may be reluctant to give up their comfort foods as the pandemic continues,” adds Parra.
As a result, “healthy indulgence” and flavors/ingredients with health benefits are expected to become increasingly crucial in breakfast concepts. Consumers look for treats that can satisfy their indulgent cravings without too much impact on their overall health, even providing extra nutrients, he explains.
Milk chocolate is currently the leading flavor in cereal products, including breakfast cereals and cereal and energy bars.
However, it is flavors inspired by the bakery category, which see some of the strongest growth. Cookie flavors increased by 30 percent CAGR and brownie by 26 percent over 2016-2020.
“While healthy options are very popular at breakfast, consumers want a bit of enjoyment to start the day,” explains Lu Ann Williams, global insights director at Innova Market Insights.
“Bakery inclusions, such as chocolate cookie pieces in breakfast cereals and cereal bars, meet that need.”
Indulgent flavors reign
The North American bakery category has, up until now, been the main source of inspiration for these indulgent flavors.
However, Innova Market Insights believes that in the future, inspiration could come from looking at other indulgent bakery concepts from around the world.
Western Europe is not short of its own indulgent cakes and sweet biscuits. These could just as easily be developed into new inclusions and flavors for cereal products.
By pulling out trends in bakery, companies can generate flavor and inclusion ideas that could be applied locally or look more broadly for truly global concepts.
For many consumers, ice cream and desserts are for moments of indulgence. The traditional way to boost the experience of indulgence – with innovative flavors and textures – is still a popular strategy for many brands.
Beyond pure, lavish indulgence, an intensified focus on health continues to boost product development for moments of “guilt-free indulgence.”
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, consumers have been drawn to comfort foods. They are discovering that healthier reformulations of sweet treats are a way for them to indulge.
Last month, FoodIngredientsFirst spoke to ingredient suppliers in the dessert space, who shared light on the balancing act for both indulgence and health.
Last week, Parker Products crowned lifestyle, indulgence and experience as key drivers in sweet categories.
Furthermore, chocolate remains the top snack of the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 90 percent of US consumers purchasing some form of chocolate candy within the last three months. Flavorchem, a US-based supplier of cocoa-based ingredients, recently revealed that comfort, sensory experiences and plant-based claims drive the demand in the chocolate confectionery space.
By Elizabeth Green
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