A global consumer study conducted by international bakery and chocolate firm, Puratos, found that Asian consumers demand the highest quality products and expect transparency throughout production.
The research was conducted to identify key consumer trends in the bakery industry and create an online innovation platform – Taste Tomorrow – for its clients. The report scanned 14 countries - China, Japan, India, the US, Brazil, Mexico, France, the UK, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Russia, Spain and Italy.
It found that globally consumers are increasingly demanding and critical of manufacturers, expecting impeccable quality and transparency throughout production.
Pascale Jantcheff, group marketing services director at Puratos, said however that there was a clear difference between consumer demands in emerging and developed markets.
“Rather than regions, countries or cultures, it is the stage of the market that defines how consumers see the future,” Jantcheff told FoodNavigator-Asia.
The Puratos research noted that in mature Western markets there is scepticism about the future of food whereas in Asia, consumers “adopt a more positive attitude.”
“Emerging markets in a growth phase – China, India, Russia, Brazil, Turkey and Mexico – are optimistic and forward-thinking whereas mature markets that are economically under pressure have doubts and are more sceptical – Germany, the UK, France and Japan,” Jantcheff said.
Findings suggest Asian consumers think food will become healthier in the future, she explained, while Western consumers believe food will become more artificial. “Overall, Asian consumers are the ones expecting the most changes in food in the future,” she said.
“Asia is more quality demanding than other continents… Most consumers would like to have transparency from A to Z,” she added.
“They expect changes mainly in health, the quality of food, sustainability and taste,” she said, and these expectations will be supported by the level of openness to creativity and innovation that Asian consumers show – enabling manufacturers to adapt products.
She noted that in particular, for Chinese consumers, health is what matters the most. “At the same time, they envision a future where freshness and natural qualities of food will increase in importance too,” she added.
Success in sweetening consumers
Jantcheff said the goal of the research was to enhance knowledge on “important macro-economic and consumer trends” impacting the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors and “to provide inspiration for innovative product development.”
She detailed that innovation in Asia’s bakery sector should consider tradition, as it gives “a solid base for future innovation.”
“Depending on the food culture, tradition and heritage of a country or region, food items will be adapted to local needs, integrated in country-specific recipes or assimilated without change,” the report said.
The firm is releasing its research findings as an online innovation platform to customers and industry voices through a series of events. The first was in Guangzhou China and the next big event will be in the US in October.