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Insights from emerging markets

Our international team shares their knowledge of the latest bake-off trends

Bake-off breads and pastries are still rising stars in Western Europe, where consumers perceive them as fresher and more appealing than the wrapped, longer life products on store shelves. But what’s the situation in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, the Middle East and South Africa?

At DuPont, our local sales and application teams are a valuable source of market information. So, we asked four members of our international network to share their insights on the bakery trends in their area.

Gulf Arab States: Keeping an eye on the hotel sector
Traditional fresh Arabian breads continue to dominate the Gulf markets, giving low awareness of bake-off products among the general population, who buy freshly-made bread daily. Nevertheless, there are pockets of interest for the bake-off category, says our regional sales manager Flemming Krabbenhøft, and, although the category is still small, growth is fast.

One driver of growth is the Western population, which is particularly large in Dubai, and wealthier Arab consumers who are both influenced by Western trends and willing to pay a little more. Another is the convenience sector, including petrol stations and supermarkets with ovens on the premises.

Bakers interested in expanding sales should also keep an eye on the hotel industry, where frozen bake-off pastries are increasingly visible at the breakfast buffet. In preparation for the World Expo in 2020, Dubai has set itself the goal of increasing the number of hotel rooms in the emirate – a goal that also promises to double the amount of bake-off products served.

Poland: Bake-off up against an artisanal market
Around 50% of the bread bought by Polish consumers is made by artisan bakers, says Rajmund Adam Rutkowski, our sales manager in Poland. Although industrial bakeries are in growth, the preference for artisanal products holds strong.

The market has changed considerably since the end of communism. The transition from a highly fragmented to a more consolidated market; consumer demand for more low-price products; and the decline in annual per capita bread consumption from 80kg at the turn of the millennium to 50kg in 2013 have all made an impact.

Bake-off bread and pastry are gaining a strong foothold in hotels, catering, petrol stations and fast food outlets. Sales opportunities in the growing fast food chains are particularly good.

In discount supermarkets such as Lidl and Biedronka, consumers have a choice between bake-off, artisanal and industrial wrapped bread. Bread made from frozen dough must be labelled as such, so consumers know what they are buying. Usually there isn’t any doubt, though, as compared to artisanal bread, the quality of bake-off is noticeably lower.

South Africa: Big potential for the bake-off croissant
Much has changed on the South African bakery market since its deregulation two decades ago, says Alister Sutton, our principal bakery application specialist in Cape Town. Responding to today’s trends for fibre addition and use of ancient grains, many new products have expanded the old standard assortment of white, brown and wholewheat bread.

Despite recent developments, the bake-off category has yet to get off the ground. Although many supermarkets now sell warm, freshly-made bread, they are baking from scratch rather than buying in frozen bake-off varieties. Sales of frozen dough to supermarkets and petrol stations are limited.

In this bake-off desert, one exception stands out – the freezer to oven croissant.  The high popularity of the pastry is reflected in the many variants on sale, many of them with fillings.

More difficult to produce than bread, the croissant has been readily accepted in a bake-off format. So, the freezer to oven croissant has existed on the South African market for some time. With regard to their quality, some challenges remain to be solved, which is why the bake-off croissant category still offers plenty of potential for growth.

Ukraine: Opportunities to solve the logistics challenge
The Ukrainian bake-off market is only a few years old and still very small, says Anatoliy Drozdov, our group sales manager in Ukraine. Even the biggest bake-off producer only manufactures around 20 metric tonnes a day – a tiny amount in such a large country.

However, in 2013, the bake-off market grew 7%, encouraging bakers to lay plans for expanding their capacity. These plans are now temporarily on hold due to the current unstable political situation.

All bake-off products sold in Ukraine are frozen, focusing mainly on sales of ciabatta, croissants, hotdog buns and non-fermented puff pastry pies to hotels, restaurants, petrol stations and catering businesses.

The logistics of distributing fresh bread throughout such a large country pose one of the biggest opportunities for industrial bakers. By delivering frozen products that can be baked and sold fresh as required, bakers can significantly reduce the amount of unsold bread that is returned – typically up to 10% of their production. For this reason, supermarket sales of bake-off bread are tipped to become a big success.

Interested in learning more?
There’s a DuPont Nutrition & Health representative on many of the world’s markets. For more insights from the field, you’re welcome to get in touch.