The Prevailing Trends

The Indian bakery market is estimated to be worth Rs. 16,500 crore and it is growing at a healthy rate of 7.5 percent per annum. Products like bread, biscuit and cake are the mainstays of the Indian bakery industry; one of the biggest sectors in the country’s processed food industry.

Breads and biscuits account for over 82 percent of the total bakery products produced in India. Bakers in the country do face challenges in the form of rising raw material costs, production costs, lengthy govt. regulations, and competition due to price sensitivity. But the Indian bakery industry continues to grow impressively and steadily despite the challenges. Some of the emerging trends in the Indian bakery industry seen over years are given below.


Equipped to Grow 

Over the last two decades, the disposable incomes of the people in India have shown significant increases and this in turn has helped in diversification of bakery products in the country. The increased exposure of the western eating habits in urban India during the recent years has also contributed to this trend.

There has also been an increasing demand for healthy as well as premium bakery products in India during the recent years, which has made it necessary for innovation and upgradation of technology for bakers in the country.

 Bakeries in the country, especially in the organised bakery sector of the country, are adapting new technologies and are upgrading their equipments. The Indian bakery industry is increasingly implementing systems which facilitate good manufacturing and hygienic conditions cum practices.

Apart from offering general equipments like rack ovens, cookie machines, etc., the bakery equipment manufacturers in the country are seen coming up with advanced technologies like complete range of donut making machines, pizza rollers, sheeters and even photo printing machines to print images directly on cream cakes for customisation.

Furthermore, the industry is also increasingly using fuel-efficient equipments like the infrared burners that emit less pollution.


Retailing of Food Products Online

The latest trend that has caught up in the realm of Indian bakery industry is the e-retailing of bakery products. The world is becoming smaller and more accessible due to the various technological advancements. Consumers are now willing to purchase food items online along with other essentials. The convenience of receiving their weekly food supply with just a click of a button has caught the attention of many an Indian consumer in urban areas and has resulted in soaring online food purchases. This is being reflected in purchase of bakery products too in India.

The idea of online bakery stores is evolving in India, especially in metros and big cities, mainly due to convenience. The increasing demand for bakery products has given confidence to the bakery companies and patisseries in the country to start selling their products online.

With the emergence of dedicated delivery partners, logistics have become much more efficient, facilitating faster transfers. Offline as well as online stores prefer to partner with logistics agencies rather than using traditional dispatch services to ensure the products’ freshness, especially with regards to perishable goods.


Healthy Infusions

Indian consumers, by and large, have now become more health-conscious.  The present day consumer looks for health and nutrition apart from taste and convenience. Growing incidences of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, cancer, cardio vascular disease, obesity, etc. have prompted the consumers to switch to a more healthy diet. Moreover, they are now realising that nutritious options come at a higher price. This has prompted a plethora of healthy bakery products across the Indian bakery industry. 

These days, the Indian bakery industry is using a lot of specialty additives in the recipes and some of them are emulsifiers, stabilisers, leavening agents, enzymes, preservatives, antioxidants, and new innovative flavours.  These additives enhance the performance of the products in terms of texture, taste and shelf life.

Apart from these regularly added ingredients, the Indian bakery industry is also increasingly developing recipes for the health conscious consumers. Some of the additives that give health benefits and are added for fortification are minerals and vitamins, omega-3, phytonutrients, fibre, sugar substitutes/sweeteners, etc.

Flour is one of the major ingredients in any bakery formulation, but we are now seeing a switch from maida to whole wheat flour, multi-grain or fortified flours, which are rich in micronutrients. There are companies manufacturing fortified biscuits to tackle micronutrient deficiencies which are prevalent in the country today. Indian consumers are also demanding gluten-free bakery products.

Vegetable fat or vanaspati/ bakery shortening is another major ingredient used in the recipe and its main functions are to prevent aggregation of flour gluten, to impart lubricity, tenderness, to enhance air entrapment while dough mixing, to enable formation of flakiness and crust.

Trans free vegetable fats and fortified fats are now fast replacing the regular fats which contain the unhealthy trans fats. Vegetable fats are now available in the market which are low trans or zero trans, low in saturates and are fortified with vitamins, minerals, and specialty ingredients like phytosterols, natural anti-oxidants, etc. Moreover, it is now mandatory in India to declare the content of trans fats and saturated fats on the labels of packaged food along with other nutritional information.


New Flavours and Products

Indian consumers, especially the youth among them, are more open to experimenting with different kind of flavours these days. Bakers in India too, are now not afraid to mix and match various flavours like sweet and savoury, or salty and sugary. This is also owing to considerable western influence on urban India’s tastes.

Some examples of uncommon products that have seen their entry into the Indian bakery market are green tea cakes, sea salt cookies, doughnut burgers, tiramisu, edible charcoal, macaroons, etc. Even though people are exposed to these new products, many people still prefer the traditional Indian snacks like khari, nankhatai biscuits, etc. They are also now prepared with trans-fat free bakery shortenings, because it not only makes the products healthier but also crispier, crunchier and adds volume to them.


Packaging Gains Importance

Bakery products have a short shelf life and thus packaging plays a key role in not only maintaining the freshness of the bakery products, but also in avoiding any microbiological contamination in them, thereby preventing their mechanical damage. Hence it is very essential for companies to put in a lot of thought into the designing the packaging of the bakery products. Packaging of bakery products should be tamper-proof and preserve the nutritional value, in addition to facilitating in the marketing of the product.

A perfect example of packaging would be one which, along with fulfilling all the functionalities, is also attractive and creative enough to attract consumers.

Bakeries today give equal importance to the packaging of the products as to the production of the same. Innovative packaging of bakery products is another happening trend pervading through the Indian bakery industry.


In Conclusion

Succinctly, today there is a significant section of consumers in the Indian bakery industry who are ever demanding and hence the baker in India, especially a baker working in big cities of urban India, has to be abreast and well-informed on the latest technologies, products and services pertaining to the bakery industry, to meet the changing needs of the consumers.

At a seller level, with the help of these emerging trends and technologies, higher profits can be achieved. On the other hand, on a customer level, consumers, as a result of these emerging trends, are not only expected to get improved products but also to get a wide variety of options to choose from.

The author is the Vice-President Sales and Marketing, AAK Kamani Pvt. Ltd.                                                             n

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