BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — In bakery product development, it’s a known fact that taste is king. But it doesn’t end there. Developing sweet goods is a multi-faceted concept.

In a live webinar co-hosted by Puratos and Mecatherm, the teams outlined the latest trends in patisserie and the key considerations for formulating and baking sweet goods that check all the boxes for discerning consumers.

In its Taste Tomorrow 2021 research report, Puratos conducted an online survey that spanned 44 countries and targeted “foodie” trendsetters in seven major cities around the world through qualitative interviews. The report uncovered five major trends to watch.


Taste: Around the world, taste reigns supreme as the top driver for choice on products such as cakes, followed by freshness and price.

“The pandemic triggered nostalgia for many people,” said Virginie Dumonceau, product manager, patisserie, for Puratos. “That caused a return to more traditional recipes.”

Because of this preference, Dumonceau suggested that product developers should focus less on “revolution” and more on innovation. One way to do that, she suggested, is by thinking about texture as a primary element of taste. It’s a way to create new and exciting twists on familiar and comforting products.

“Texture is the new taste,” she said.

Additionally, the report revealed that appearance also has a huge impact on a consumer’s perception of taste. In the survey, 59% of respondents agreed that food that looks good is also tasty.

Freshness and Craftsmanship: The impression of freshness can greatly impact how a consumer perceives a packaged baked good’s quality.

Packaging plays a huge role in this perception, especially since the beginning of the pandemic. In the report, just 41% of respondents said they though unpacked food handled by a shop owner is safe. Today, a packaged product promises freshness, quality and safety.

And the home baking trend of 2020 led consumers to become more experienced with food, leading them to better recognize craftmanship, especially with patisserie products.

“Craftmanship has become a key differentiating factor for industrial baked goods to attract consumers,” Dumonceau said.

“Craftmanship has become a key differentiating factor for industrial baked goods to attract consumers,” Dumonceau said.


Health: “Our journey with healthier eating continues, and our research highlights the strategies consumers are following,” Dumonceau said.

When it comes to healthy choices, consumers fall into one of two groups: Those who control portions without compromise on taste, and those who prefer healthier options that don’t compromise on consumption or occasion.

The report noted that more than half of the respondents said they were seeking more fiber, more grains, and products that contained a lot of fruits and nuts but less fat and sugar.

Additionally, food needs to deliver beyond nutrition, namely mental wellbeing. This assertion bodes well for sweet goods producers as these types of products are often seen as an emotional coping mechanism inside a well-balanced diet and active lifestyle.

In fact, the report stated that 61% of respondents claimed they would appreciate cakes and fine patisserie that’s adapted to their personal nutritional needs. In Europe, products with a good Nutriscore are going to fare well in this area.

Transparency | Ethical Lifestyle: Modern consumers are highly in touch with where their food comes from and how it’s made. They are making food choices carefully and intentionally.

According to Puratos research, 90% of consumers read packaging information, including the ingredient label, nutritional value, and product and ingredient origin. And more than 30% are on the lookout for ingredients they need to avoid.

With increased education, more consumers are choosing plant-based diets, oftentimes for ethical reasons. And “cautious consumerism” is prompting shoppers to support companies that are helping to preserve the environment and support local farmers and community.


Ultimate Convenience | Next-Level Experience: The online shopping and home delivery trend greatly accelerated, especially for food, since the pandemic began in early 2020.

That said, many consumers are still reluctant to order cakes and other delicate sweet goods online because of the potential impact to freshness and quality.

For the majority of shoppers, brick-and-mortar preferences remain. Puratos reported that 77% of respondents said they would not like to see the end of brick-and-mortar. Technology such as automation and artificial intelligence are available to enhance the in-person shopping experience.

So, how are these trends impacting patisserie product development?

In looking at the survey results, Puratos determined that texture plays a role in almost every mega trend identified. In fact, “texture is the new taste” was the inspiration for the company’s Cake Texture Collection, including eight different texture types that were inspired from around the world.

“Texture intensifies the sensory experience, and it makes a cake more surprising,” said Hayley Rottiers, R&D manager, patisserie for Puratos.

The collection types include moist, pound, tres leches, cream, angel food, castella, chiffon and sponge.

In developing the collection, Puratos focused on the language of texture to identify the best qualities for each of these types. Nine qualities were grouped into three categories, including visual, tactile and mouthfeel.

Achieving these qualities does not only involve product development and ingredient list. Creating a sweet baked good with the right texture depends on how it’s baked, as well.

With thousands of sweet goods available on the market — and with seasonal preferences driving consumer demand — flexibility on a baking line is just as important as precision, according to Marie Laisne, product manager, ovens, for Mecatherm.

“The first challenge to be met with a production line is to combine a high level of precision to achieve the desired product quality for a wide product range and very high flexibility to switch from one product to another frequently while controlling operating costs,” Laisne said.

The next challenge is with sanitary design. Patisserie products, especially cakes, are high-moisture products and therefore susceptible to microbiological contaminants, making the oven a critical point as the kill step in the process.

“It’s very important that the production line ensures heat control as well as the process steps after the bake,” Laisne said. “These are the most critical steps in relation to water activity that occurs in these types of products.”

The line must also be flexible enough to consider a variety of adaptations for the finished product, ranging from semi-finished to finished fresh to frozen.

Mecatherm offers the MECAPATISSERIE line, a full processing line for patisserie production, beginning with mixing and dosing all the way through baking, cooling, freezing and customized slicing and assembling.

When considering the importance of texture, it’s vital to maintain the proper baking profile in the oven to meet the requirements for each specific texture type. Heat source and distribution are critical factors in the process.

Puratos and Mecatherm have teamed up to help customers not only ideate the right cake type but also choose the right equipment to bring the cake concept to fruition.