As more restaurants and bakeries start opening up, it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends and product innovation. Now more than ever, consumers have an expectation of satisfaction, especially when it comes to sweet goods. Consumers are willing to try new things, but they also want to feel gratified with their choice of indulgence.

What is clear from industry experts is that there should be three key areas of focus within the pastry category in 2021: health, convenience, and taste. While these may all seem like simple concepts, it’s the focused attention within them that will make a difference as we move forward.

Health: Clean Label

The pastry market continues to undergo a period of healthy innovation. Health and wellness concerns have increased the importance of innovative products that are both healthy and indulgent. The fastest-growing brands are those specializing in cleaner baked goods using high-quality ingredients that meet ‘free-from’ claims. Experts all agree that the clean label trend is here to stay as consumers are continuing to demand products with fewer and more recognizable ingredients.

Convenience: Individually-Wrapped Packaging

During the COVID-19 shutdown, frozen retail and individually packaged items were in high demand, and industry experts see that trend continuing. As people reemerge from their homes, shopping trips are becoming more frequent. However, many continue to be cautious as COVID-19 cases are still on the rise. This has heightened awareness of food safety has dramatically impacted how consumers want their food packaged. Offering products that are prepackaged or individually-wrapped will become more of a necessity as we establish a ‘new normal’.

Taste: Imported Flavors

While the pandemic has decreased world travel, there is still demand for global flavors and taste experiences. In 2021, experts foresee greater acceptance and growth of tropical and exotic flavors including mango, passionfruit, and cardamom. This provides bakers and pastry chefs with the opportunity to play with formats and excite customers with the unexpected. Incorporating global flavors into existing pastry products not only allows for innovation but also product storytelling, which has now become valuable as consumers seek food transparency.