Puratos UK reveals the nation’s perceptions of grains and seeds in bakery
New research from Puratos UK has revealed that a 50/50 loaf with invisible grains offers maximum appeal to UK consumers who currently avoid buying breads with grains and seeds.
Through a series of shopalong reviews, focus groups and online surveys, the bakery ingredients supplier Puratos UK uncovered the ideal loaf for non, occasional and frequent buyers of breads with grains and seeds.
The findings identify a route for bakers looking to grow their portfolio and fill the gap for nutritious breads that cater to non-buyers or diversify their offering to tempt consumers who already have a taste for grains and seeds.
As part of the survey, two concepts were described to entry level consumers, a 50/50 loaf with invisible grains and a 50/50 soft seeded loaf. The former was favoured, as it was perceived to be novel and more appealing to families. When it comes to the eating experience and nutrition, the ‘sweet spot’ was a balanced taste, soft texture and high in fibre, vitamins and minerals.
For occasional buyers, a lightly-seeded wholemeal loaf with a unique blend of sourdough infused grains and seeds, which boasted source of protein, high fibre and high in vitamins and minerals claims, proved most popular.
On the other side of the scale, for frequent buyers, an artisan style wholemeal six-seed loaf, packed with pumpkin, sunflower, chia, flax, millet and poppy seeds and infused with sourdough, took the number one spot. This coveted loaf contained essential vitamins and minerals and was high in protein and fibre.
Ben Ledger, marketing manager for bakery at Puratos UK, said: “Grains and seeds are a good source of fibre, which is known to offer an array of health benefits beyond digestion. Despite acceptance of this among consumers and concerted efforts from health authorities, closing the fibre gap is a prevailing issue in the UK and beyond. The decades-long perception that grains and seeds can have an unappealing taste or texture is one of the key reasons why.
“Nudge nutrition is one way to effectively overcome this hurdle. As our research highlights, bakers can find success with the untapped non-buyer market by slowly adding or ‘topping up’ existing ‘white’ products with fibrous ingredients like grains and seeds. By taking this ‘blending’ approach, consumers gradually get used to more diverse breads with higher fibre content.
“Furthermore, grains and seeds infused with sourdough add enhanced taste, unique texture and the other benefits that sourdough provides to breads, such as better digestibility and storytelling opportunities.”
According to the research, the top driver for purchasing breads which contain grains and seeds is that they are seen as healthy, cited by three quarters of respondents (74 per cent).
When it comes to benefits with the most persuasive power, good for gut health (58 per cent) and high in fibre (57 per cent) claims fared best. Consumers also said they would be more encouraged to buy breads with grains and seeds if tastier high fibre options were available (46 per cent) and more information was shared about the benefits (41 per cent).
Cost was identified as the top barrier for purchasing breads with seeds and grains, cited by 39 per cent of consumers. However, health is more of a priority than price – with almost three in four (72 per cent) respondents saying they would pay more for bread with health and wellness benefits.
Ben added: “When it comes to gaining ground in the grains and seeds bread category, manufacturers have one key leveraging tool – labelling.
“Getting the on-packaging messaging right can be essential to enhancing a product’s appeal and helping it stand out on the shelf. But the link between grains and seeds and health must be explicit to be effective. By explaining why they have been added to a product, and making clear the health benefits that it can bring and the taste and texture that can be expected, consumers can more easily digest the added value.”